Military Review

Hallstatt and La Ten: on the verge between bronze and iron. (Part of 1)

Before we talk about how the bronze age in Europe was replaced by the iron one, it is necessary to “transfer” to the territory of ... Ancient Assyria, the kingdom, which is considered to be the first empire in the world. Naturally, she was surrounded by certain states and in one of them, the state of Urartu, was introduced to us in Soviet times in the fifth grade of secondary school, with the oldest state on the territory of the USSR. Now this territory is not included in Russia, but by itself история Urartu from this has not changed at all. To the east of it was the Hatti area and that’s where the Russian historian S.A. Nefedov people and learned for the first time to receive and process scatter iron. From them, this technology was first borrowed by the urarts. During the reign of King Urartu Argishti I (around 780), the Urartu army received iron swords, iron helmets and armors made of iron plates or scales, sewn onto clothing, and, overtaking the neighboring powers in this regard, Assyria itself was threatened. Naturally, the Assyrians tried to adopt the novelty, and adopted it. After all, something that, and everything that concerns weapons, people adopt each other instantly.

Hallstatt and La Ten: on the verge between bronze and iron. (Part of 1)

The end of the Bronze Age was marked by the appearance of bronze daggers of amazing beauty and perfection. It should be noted that its handle is cast in one piece with the blade, but by virtue of tradition it repeats the design of daggers and swords with wooden handles that were attached to the blade on rivets. From the collection of Georges Hasse. At the moment in Antwerp in the repositories of the museum "Het Vleeshuis".

In the graves on the island of Crete also found two fragments of the scoured iron, dating from the XIX century. BC. And at the end of the II millennium BC some iron objects are found in Europe. We emphasize - separate, as well as individual iron objects that were found in the tomb of Tutankhamen. As for the large-scale production of iron and its processing — that is, the iron industry itself — for the first time became widespread in Greece and on the islands of the Aegean Sea. When it was? Around 1000 BC, as confirmed by archaeological finds. Then the iron-making industry in Southern Italy was brought by Greek colonists around 800 BC.

"Curved Swords" 1600 - 1350's. BC. from Sweden clearly had a ritual purpose. (State Historical Museum, Stockholm)

Well, in the temperate zone of Europe, in the Eastern Alps and surrounding areas, it appeared around 700 BC. Moreover, iron in the economy of European tribes for a long time played a rather limited role. And even in 500 year BC. er iron things were still rare here. There were also areas where copper ores were abundant, which restrained the spread of iron. For example, in the same Egypt, the competition between bronze and iron continued until the VI century BC. Oe., and the nomadic peoples of Kazakhstan and Central Asia, who also used their rich copper ore deposits, began to use iron only in the middle of the 1st millennium BC. er

Neal Burridge (about which we have already told in the materials about the Trojan War) also specializes in Hallstatt swords and makes them to order.

Well, now, having become acquainted with the ways iron got into Europe, let's see how it spread here. Let's start with chronology: two periods of its distribution can be distinguished in Western Europe: Hallstatt (900 - 500 BC) and Latina (500 BC - the beginning of our era).

Hallstatt sword from Mindelheim. Late Bronze Age. 82,5 length, see. Weight 1000 d. £ 300 for a finished blade, £ 400 for trim and with a handle.

Well, the archaeological finds of the Iron Age in Europe can already be associated with the European nations mentioned in written monuments: in the north - the Germans, in the east - the Slavs and Illyrians, in the southeast - the Thracians, the peoples of the Apenninsky Peninsula in the south, and finally Celts - in Western and Central Europe.

The sword "tongue carp" - a blade with a shank at the handle.

Sword "tongue carp" from France. The original is one of the few complete bronze European swords in a scabbard. Length xnumx see

Typical "antenna sword" from Whitham, Britain.

Let's start with the Hallstatt culture, named after the burial ground, excavated near the city. Hallstatt is a city in southwestern Austria. Digging in the area began in 1846 - 1864. and before the beginning of the 20th century, about two thousand burials were opened here. And this is not surprising: after all, the time when the departed was buried here, takes a whole epoch: something around 350 years (750 - 400 years BC). However, this is not surprising. Well, people lived here for several centuries and lived, especially since there were also deposits of rock salt and, apparently, to extract salt and sell it was their business. Surprisingly, about 45% of all graves are burials with cremation, that is, they belong to the era of “burial urns fields”.

The handle of the iron sword of the Hallstatt culture of ivory with topping of amber. Austria. Around 650 - 500 BC. Military Historical Museum of Vienna.

But in the rest of the graves they find elongated corpses (usually with the head turned to the west, that is, “at sunset”). At the same time, both those rites and other rites were performed during the burial of both sexes, and not, let's say, as such - for men only, burning or only for women. The only thing in which the difference was noticed was the wealth of the grave goods. Deaths in this plan are richer and there are more men in them. Another difference: the inventory of corpses does not contain weapons. The deceased was burned not at the place of burial (remnants of fireplaces were not found!), But somewhere else (“in the local crematorium”!).

Under this hill was the famous Hochdorf Tomb. And what was found inside?

Well, the charred bone remains were either piled on the ground, or on stones, or piled up in a clay container or a bronze vessel. Then all this was buried at a depth of 1 - 1,5 m. There are graves surrounded by a circle of stones and covered with stones from above. Together with the dead that lie in these strange Hallstatt graves, found a lot of bronze and iron weapons, as well as bronze utensils and jewelry.

Hochdorf Tomb, Germany. Around 530 BC. Considered as "the Celtic tomb of Tutankhamen." It was discovered in 1977 year near Hochdorf in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. A man 40 was buried in it, 187 was a man of height, who was placed on a bronze sofa. The clothes are richly decorated with gold, on the hands of gold bracelets. Near the sofa was placed a large cauldron with figures of lions around the edges. There was a four-wheeled cart with a set of bronze dishes in the tomb - enough to serve nine people. (Historical Museum of Bern).

As for the latent culture, it became known to science in the second half of the nineteenth century. and was named after the Swiss village of La Ten on the lake Neuchâtel. In 1872, the archaeologist G. Hildebrand called the “Latens of the Age” and designated the “Second Iron Age”, following the “First Iron Age” —that is, the “Hallstatt Era”. At the same time, the second Iron Age in Europe was clearly more perfect than the first, since in the Late time, tools and weapons from bronze ceased to meet!

A cart with dishes.

Where did the representatives of Hallstatt culture live? In wooden log houses and semi earths. The usual type of settlement is a village that had the correct layout of streets, not too heavily fortified. Known and piling settlements, that is, people of this culture were much fiction. Salt mines of Hallstatt, copper mines, where they mined copper ore, iron-smelting workshops and forges were discovered.

Replica dagger from Hochdorf tomb.

Characteristic objects of the Hallstatt culture are bronze and iron swords with a handle, the top of which could have the shape of a bell or represent the similarity of the “antenna” of two volutes bent towards each other, daggers in metal sheaths, axes, iron and bronze spearheads.

Two "muscular" cuirass and a helmet with two combs (the first third of the VI century BC.) Found in Styria, Austria. The artifacts are located in the Archaeological Museum at Eggenberg Castle, Graz.

The protective equipment of the Hallstatts included bronze conical and hemispherical helmets, which had wide flat fields and crests on the dome, armors, both from separate bronze plates and "muscular cuirass". In the burials one can find bronze ware, original brooches, stucco ceramics and necklaces made of opaque glass. The art of the Hallstatt tribes is clearly a luxury; After all, in the burials they find a lot of jewelry made of bronze, gold, glass, bones, brooches with figures of animals, belt buckles with embossed patterns and patterns, and the dishes they also had was very beautiful: yellow or red, with polychrome, carved or stamped geometric ornament.

Map. Areas of Hallstatt and Latino cultures. The red color shows the territory of the maximum distribution of Celtic culture.

As for who these people were, then ... it is believed that the Hallstattans are the Proto-Celtas and, finally, the Latent culture is “the Celts in their pure form.” At the same time, there is no abyss between the Hallstatt and Laten cultures: the abundance of artifacts allows us to trace the development and modification of the same forms of tools, jewelry and weapons in both cultures.

The author is grateful to Neil Barridge ( for the information and photos provided.

The editorial board of Voenniy Obozreniye urgently needs a proofreader. Requirements: impeccable knowledge of the Russian language, diligence, discipline. Contact: [email protected]

Dear reader, to leave comments on the publication, you must to register.

I have an account? Sign in

  1. Lk17619
    Lk17619 27 November 2015 07: 14 New
    Thanks for the interesting information, I love the history of ancient times.
  2. parusnik
    parusnik 27 November 2015 08: 15 New
    Thanks to the author .. continue to publish similar articles ..
    1. kalibr
      27 November 2015 15: 54 New
      Wait, it turns out the selection of materials is only slightly inferior in volume to the Trojan War!
  3. Reptiloid
    Reptiloid 27 November 2015 08: 40 New
    Thank you for another article, Vyacheslav! Indeed, it is unrealistic to fight with swords in photo 2 (above), but it’s easy to make a bloody ritual! So these protokelts were like that! But, at that time, all peoples performed similar rituals in their the bulk have not become kinder! The Golstatts thus glorified Their Gods!
  4. sherp2015
    sherp2015 27 November 2015 09: 13 New
    Very interesting article! ++
  5. Bashibuzuk
    Bashibuzuk 27 November 2015 11: 51 New
    I’m probably completely dense.
    Here we look at Hallstatt "muscular" cuirasses, first third of the 6th century BC.
    Quite so worked out and professional.
    A sight for sore eyes.
    And now we remember painfully - and what was happening at that time on the territory of the Apennine Peninsula?
    And what happened was that the illiterate Latinian shepherds, who had the sixth (well, by number) king Servius Tullius, who was replaced by Tarquinius (by the way, all Etruscans) were just going to kidnap the Sabine women, in other words, the Samnites "whistle" girls. By that time, the quirits themselves were left without women, which is strange and evokes kakbe.
    THOSE. Samnites - the same shepherds, dense and illiterate, only living in the mountains.
    And the Hallstatt people living in the future of Germany already have full-sized, worked out armor. Helmets are fully functional.
    And after such material, alive, I am urged to believe in "the brilliant Ancient Rome". With impeccably armed and organized legions.
    And what did the Hallstatt people do at this time?
    They probably already mastered Mars, were approaching Sirius.
    And what did they share with the savages from the Apennines?
    Of course, I write all this with a mockery.
    But how else can all these parallels be regarded?
    Thank you, Vyacheslav, for the excellent materials.
    1. kalibr
      27 November 2015 12: 42 New
      And no one writes about the brilliant Ancient Rome of THIS TIME. Remus and Romulus were the leaders of the outlook and the shepherds - a kind of ancient Robin Hoods. And then, some senator, it seems that Quintus Fabius Maxim was already planting cabbage in the Republic when he was invited to be dictators ... And skill ... My friends girls saw in India how a man worked with gold in a hut, a hammer and a gas burner, and he himself looked like a poor gypsy. So beautiful armor did not interfere with simplicity and did not always mean such wealth. But essentially you are absolutely right, this should be emphasized, while art - the same painting, created a completely different picture.
      1. Bashibuzuk
        Bashibuzuk 27 November 2015 13: 19 New
        Here, and I mean that.
        If in the 6th century BC in Austria, in Styria, in Germany (well. using the current names) have already been worked out "anatomical" armor, which is usually attributed to late Rome,
        one asks - where did all these masters go?
        After all, mastery (I almost said - you won’t drink it) - also implies the presence of a seriously developed infrastructure. Needs, after all, for such products.
        So - a very substantial degree of statehood.
        And then, Caesar's legions appear, to smash the stupid, uncouth Germans? Which, 700 years before, had already made exactly the very same armor in which the Romans are now cutting.
        Something here does not fit with one another.
        Well, the Germans could not suddenly run wild, they could not.
        I believe that the Germans, in well-made armor, came to Rome - they built the Colosseum, hospitals, water pipes and baths, the Capitol and everything else.
        They got the papacy.
        And "..small, insignificant people ..." - called them aggressors. Excommunicated, so that Barbarossa then begged for forgiveness on his knees.
        They drove the "aggressors" back - and let's scribble scribbles about "the brilliant past of Rome."
        And the rest - and bought it.
        Here I am willing to believe in such an option.
        Moreover, as long as it was unclear whether Barbaross would beg forgiveness or not, if you look and defeat the Pope - in the Trieste region, the expeditionary corps of Bati Khan staggered over the Yugoslav mountains. Help render.
        Yes, it didn’t grow together.
        In short, as Italians were skits and goats, so they remained. Even now. And Germany as it went ahead, and so it goes. Even now.
        India and Indians are generally another layer of civilization, orthogonal to European.
        They can be in the huts vimana do. They can.
        1. kalibr
          27 November 2015 15: 51 New
          Well, you saw the burial from the Khokhdor tomb? Sofa made of bronze !!!! I think that says it all. In Rome, such sofas in relation to the era of Romulus and Remus were not found!
        2. skeptic31
          skeptic31 27 November 2015 16: 53 New
          Do not confuse those “Germans” and “Celts” with modern Germans and Celts. Modern (Goths) appeared in Europe only during the great migration of peoples in our centuries, and have nothing to do with them. One thing is clear that we still know very little about the ancient history of Europe that this is a continuous movement of peoples. Wave after wave came more "wild", which crowded out more "civilized", while gradually adopting their achievements and culture.
          And further. At present, the study of history is very politicized, as, among other things, is everything else, which greatly complicates its knowledge. For example, in Germany and Italy in the storerooms of museums are hundreds of artifacts that did not see the white light, because for one reason or another they do not correspond to the views of their historians and politicians (yes, politicians!) On their own history.
          1. Bashibuzuk
            Bashibuzuk 27 November 2015 18: 18 New
            I do not confuse those Germans, that people with the current Germans.
            Of course, there are differences.
            Such use is just for brevity and not cluttering up sentences.
            Although, in general, my opinion is that there were migrations of peoples and conquests, of course.
            However, the ethnic group as a whole remained in place.
            ETNOS, as a culture, and not as a nation, nationality, nationality.
            Latins-Romans-Italians-Italians-and one ethnic group.
            Celts-Gauls-Alemans-Saxons-Germans - lived in life in the same places.
            Cimmerians-Sarmatians-Pechenegs-Polovtsy - again remain in the same place.
            Maybe confused, but so I see.
        3. kashtak
          kashtak 27 November 2015 20: 10 New
          one amendment, IMHO such or similar armor and weapons were made long before Rome. especially in later Rome, I'm talking about ancient, Aegean culture. Crete, Athens. not the fact that the armor is not Greek or from Asia Minor. Workmanship and functionality are surprising. and Rome really was brilliant. and great, without irony, but several centuries later.
          1. Bashibuzuk
            Bashibuzuk 27 November 2015 21: 33 New
            Sergei, yes, Alexander the Great has "anatomical" armor on the fresco, right.
            So - the technology that ancient Greece-Hellas that ancient Austria allowed to manufacture products one technological culture!
            What automatically brings us to the unexplored (at least for my degree of awareness) jungle of history, like archaeological history.
            But this is - "... Rome was really brilliant. And great, without irony ..." - well, I can't listen to this "... without irony ...".
            How does all this pseudo-Roman literature differ from the writings of the current ukrainian academics?
            Nothing. From the word - absolutely.
            Germany at the beginning of the second millennium was called the Holy Roman Empire of the German nation.
            Why is it sacred? And why - the German nation?
            And not the Roman nation, the Italian nation, the Lombard nation, the Franks, say?
            Poggio Bracciolini, and his followers - the whole story of ancient Rome. Unholy.
            What, incidentally, do Arab sources say about Rome?
            And with whom, specifically, did the Parthians fight — whether not with Byzantium — Romany?
            1. kashtak
              kashtak 27 November 2015 22: 31 New
              Maybe you're right, but what about archeology. Temples, viaducts and roads that really lead to Rome are found throughout the Roman Empire. The Holy Roman Empire is just an attempt to restore what has already broken up into parts. And Byzantium is only one of these parts. Romany / from the word
              Rome / was too big to stay united.
            2. Aljavad
              Aljavad 3 December 2015 01: 14 New
              Bashibuzuk SU November 27, 2015 21:33 ↑
              Sergei, yes, Alexander the Great has "anatomical" armor on the fresco, right.

              Macedonian - 4th century BC. And cuirasses - 6th century BC!

              200 years earlier.
        4. The comment was deleted.
        5. Chiropractor
          Chiropractor 28 November 2015 14: 16 New
          By the way, enlighten - what did the crests solder onto the helmet that is in the photo?

          a gas burner still needs to be invented, and gold is a soft metal ....
          1. Stilet
            Stilet 29 November 2015 01: 28 New
            Riveted helmet. Consists of 4 parts. The lower part (with "fields") was flared in the form of a funnel, along the edges of the funnel not end-to-end, 2 segments were attached and a cast part with ridges was attached to them from above. Between the combs, like a groove, another comb of dyed horsehair was inserted. It was attached with cords with loops in the front and back on small projections. They are not visible in the photo. This type of helmet was widespread enough across the Adriatic and in Italy, while Rome was still a village.
    2. Aljavad
      Aljavad 3 December 2015 01: 10 New
      And what did the Hallstatt people do at this time?
      They probably already mastered Mars, were approaching Sirius.
      And what did they share with the savages from the Apennines?

      And the Hallstatt people at that time (as well as much later) drank beer, listened to the bards who praised the heroes, fought with each other. And they did not think at all to build a Great Empire. Anyway, their own state.

      Their society stood on the principles of OTHERS, soft Roman, or Hellenic. Other values, other goals.

      They were not savages. But writing down their literature (tales, legends, toasts) was considered humiliating, although they were fluent in the Greek alphabet for business correspondence in OWN language.

      So there are no Celtic chronicles left. And we do not know what the Hallstatt people were doing at that time.
  6. Reptiloid
    Reptiloid 27 November 2015 18: 31 New
    Quote: skeptic31
    Do not confuse those “Germans” and “Celts” with modern Germans and Celts. Modern (Goths) appeared in Europe only during the great migration of peoples in our centuries, and have nothing to do with them.
    And further. At present, the study of history is very politicized, as, among other things, is everything else, which greatly complicates its knowledge. .

    Unfortunately, I always do this. I’ll try to take note of what you wrote. Maybe because I want to quickly learn, read, listen, see, remember. It turns out that I need some kind of review
    to do. your own.
    1. kalibr
      28 November 2015 07: 45 New
      Arrange yourself a "deep dive method" Very effective! Make a selection of books on the topic, any and read them all day, one after another two weeks. Then a week of rest and now you look at them, refresh your memory. Now you are making a questionnaire: what I know, what I don’t know. Then you read only those books that answer the questions of which you do not know. It's two more weeks. Then rest and ... you know everything in sufficient volume in just 2 months. Tested in practice many times!
  7. Reptiloid
    Reptiloid 27 November 2015 19: 47 New
    So I think: "Don't be confused." But it happens anyway. Today the film will be "Wii" 3D. Somehow I identify these villagers with the present.
  8. Stilet
    Stilet 29 November 2015 01: 42 New
    In general, "antenna" swords were widespread among all Italic peoples (Samnites, Latins, Oscans, Equans, Volskians, etc.) as well as in the Adriatic. And they wore them not on the belt, but on the chest, with a complex system of belts and flat rings. At least the Oski and the Ekwa. Remember the previous articles with a photo of bronze armor in the form of a cape and a helmet with a high crest. If my memory serves me, then they belong to the Villanov culture. repeat
  9. voyaka uh
    voyaka uh 29 November 2015 11: 56 New
    Did I understand correctly that the "proto-Celts" were slowly advancing
    from the Danube to Britain?
    Or just borrowed the iron culture in this direction?
    1. kalibr
      29 November 2015 22: 30 New
      Yes, moving to the West! Until we got to Ireland!
    2. Logos
      Logos 8 December 2015 23: 33 New
      Rather moved, this is evidenced by the map of the distribution of Celtic dialects in Western Europe. As a result, few people living in remote mountainous areas, such as Vascons (Basques), for example, were able to avoid Celticization.
  10. Aljavad
    Aljavad 3 December 2015 00: 43 New
    The history of Urartu itself has not changed at all from this. To the east of it was the Hatti region

    Not to the east. WEST!