Early La Tène period (450–250 BC)

New wealth

The opulently furnished graves of the upper class in particular provide evidence of an economic boom in the early La Tène period.
It was probably prompted by the production of iron, as the cluster of princely graves in the Saar-Moselle region appears to be connected to the presence of iron ore deposits.

An entirely new artistic style found expression in mythical creatures, frozen faces captured in masks, and patterns in the shape of swirls and palm leaves, known as palmettes.
These motifs adorned weapons, jewellery, vessels and other artefacts.
Imported luxury goods provide evidence of contact with the Mediterranean region.

While princes were interred in individual burial mounds – also known as “barrows” – ordinary people buried their dead in communal barrow cemeteries.


An example from the Merzig-Wadern district

The early La Tène barrow cemetery in the Harscheid section of Losheim am See was used for a period of roughly 200 years.
Men, women and children were laid to rest in 22 to 23 barrows here, mostly in simple graves without any layers of stone.
Almost all the bodies were buried as opposed to being cremated.

In the graves, only fibula brooches, belt fragments and, less frequently, arm-rings have been preserved from the men’s dress.
The men’s grave goods also included spears and, less often, swords, which were interred with warriors.

Each of the women’s graves contained two fibula brooches, which would have held their robes together at shoulder level.
The women also wore neck-rings known as torcs and arm-rings decorated with knots.

Clay vessels placed in the graves stored food and drink to support the deceased on their journey into the afterlife.

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