Hallstatt period (800–450 BC)

Technical progress

Ironworking began around 2000 BC, initially in the Middle East and then 1,000 years later in Central Europe.
Iron is softer than bronze and replaced it in many fields, in particular in the production of weapons and work implements. This was due to the widespread presence of iron ore, which eliminated the need for imports.


Early Hallstatt period

The new technology was also accompanied by a cultural change.
Burial mounds, also known as “barrows”, reappeared above cremation burials, for instance.

Bodies were interred in wooden structures.
Stones and a mound of earth surrounded the chambers.
A circle of stones, timber posts or ditches at the base of the barrow separated the sacred realm from ordinary ground.
Such a funerary monument was evidence of a man’s social standing that remained clearly visible long after his death.
By contrast, women and children were usually laid to rest in smaller barrows, or merely in a flat grave.


Late Hallstatt period

Even larger barrows appeared in the late Hallstatt period, and women were also buried in lavishly furnished graves befitting “princesses”, such as the Vix Grave in France.
The summit of the mounds might be topped with a pillar or a figure, and burials became normal practice once again.

The late Hallstatt period is also the first era in which opulently furnished graves can be linked with fortified settlements on mountain ridges, which served as “princely seats”.

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