Origins of the Celts
Submitted by John Parle
Copyright 1996-1997 Michael Wangbickler. All rights reserved. These pages are meant for education purposes only, and are not intended for commercial use. Any attempt to use these pages otherwise, will not be the responsibility of the author.
Two new groups of people emerge in Central Europe during the late Neolithic (New Stone Age) period, one certainly immigrant. Each group may be distinguished archaeologically by characteristic artifacts found in their respective burial sites. One was a Bell Beaker or drinking vessel. We now refer to this group as the Beaker folk. There is still some doubt as to the origins of the Beaker folk, some say Iberia, and some say Central Europe itself. Never-the-less it is believed that they emerge as an independent cultural group around 3000 B.C.E..
The second group is characterized by a perforated battle-axe of stone. Similarly, we now refer to this group as the Battle-Axe folk. Evidence points towards origins in the steppe-lands of southern Russia, between the Caucasus and the Carpathian mountains. The Battle-Axe folk may be attributed with the initial spread of the Indo-European group of languages. (see diagram) The Indo-European group of languages encompasses most of those current in present-day Europe. In Central Europe the Beaker folk and Battle-Axe folk fused to become one European people. Shortly thereafter began the Bronze Age in Europe. It is unclear whether the arrival of the two groups influenced the arrival of the Bronze Age or not. Many think that contact with the Mediterranean and beyond may have influenced this.
From this period onwards the line of continuity which leads directly to the historic Celts may be traced from the archaeological evidence. This is identified by the successive Únêtice, Tumulus and Urnfield cultures of the Central European Bronze Age. The Únêtice culture appears to have emerged from the fusion of Battle-Axe and Beaker peoples and their immediate descendants. The Únêtice culture became the pre-eminent culture in Central Europe by the middle of the second millennium B.C.E.. Because of rich mineral deposits and control of trade routes between the south-east (early Mediterranean cultures) and the more distant parts of Europe, the Únêtice people prospered.
The Tumulus culture which followed the Únêtice, and from which they descended, dominated Central Europe during much of the second part of the second millenium B.C.E.. As the name implies, the Tumulus culture is distinguished by the practice of burying the dead beneath burial mounds. During this period trade contacts with the south-east remained intact and were probably expanded. The Tumulus culture flourished without any disruption of local peoples by large-scale immigration. This was to end, however, toward the close of the second millennium B.C.E., when there is evidence of wide-spread disruption which affected the "higher civilizations" to the south-east and curbed trade.
With the emergence of the Urnfield culture of Central Europe, there appear a people whom some scholars regard as being 'proto-Celtic', in that they may have spoken an early form of Celtic. As the name suggests, the people of the Urnfield culture cremated their dead and placed the remains in urns which were buried in flat cemeteries without any covering mound. The period of the Urnfield culture, like that of the Tumulus culture, was one of expansion, particularly during the first millennium B.C.E. It is during the period of the Urnfield culture that the Bronze Age was at its peek in Central Europe. They produced weapons, tools, eating and cooking vessels, etc. all out of Bronze. From the Urnfield Culture, the Celts emerge as an agricultural people.
Whereas the Urnfield people may justifiably be considered to have been proto-Celtic, their descendants in Central Europe, the people of the Hallstatt culture, were certainly fully Celtic. The Hallstatt culture and its successor, that of La Tène, together represent the iron-using prehistoric peoples of much of Europe. These are the Keltoi, the Galli and Galatae of classical writers. The two cultures are named after sites at which were found archaeological artifacts now considered to be representative of a particular stage of each culture. Hallstatt is a village in Central Austria at which was found an important cemetery; La Tène is near the north-eastern end of Lake Neuchâtel, in western Switzerland. In rough terms the Hallstatt culture existed from approximately 1200 to 500 B.C.E., with some overlap of the Urnfield culture. The La Tène culture in the parts of Europe which would soon become part of the Roman Empire ended with the arrival of the Romans. Beyond the Empire, such as Ireland and Northern Britain (modern day Scotland) the La Tène culture flourished until about 200 C.E..
Suggested Pdf Resources
- Mythologising Identity and History: A Look at the Celtic Past of Galicia
- Jan 2, 2006 Galicia's supposed Celtic history, I will briefly examine the role of translation .
- A case for Tartessian as a Celtic Language
- origins of the Celtic languages should be sought in the maritime networks of the Atlantic Zone, which reached their peak of intensity in the Late Bronze.
- CELTIC RELIGION The Ancient Celts The Celts originated, as far as
- More tenuous, but no less valid is comparison with Brahminism, which derives from the same Aryan origin as the Celtic civilisation in the most distant times.
- Secret Traditions in the Modern Tarot: Folklore and the Occult
- He rejected the Celts as the ultimate source for tarot meaning, but insisted that true Christianity (i.e.
- People called Keltoi
- (second) the ancient Celtic languages, and. • (third) the Hallstatt and La Tène archaeological cultures.
Suggested News Resources
- Celtic Games and Highland Festival invade heritage center
- Through the America West Heritage Center we want to focus on some of the back stories of the Celtic peoples as they influenced this part of the world.
- Overdone: Southern football fanaticism, Harvey Updyke, Paul Finebaum and the
- The origin of a Southern obsession with football goes back to the Celtic roots of everything southern.
- Back to the slums of old Dublin - and not a whiff of Celtic mist
- Its origins as a book were all too obvious; there was a sense of it being filmed chapter by chapter, which gave it an uneven pace. The dialogue in places was poor and there was an unnecessary and intrusive soundtrack.
- Found dead at 42 in hotel room huh ? I wonder what could have caused that ?
- Indeed, American Indians, Australian Aboriginals, “true” Indians, Chinese, Mongols, J.
- It's time to give dancing the boot
- We squiffy, sleet-hewn Celts, on the other hand, tended to windmill our arms about and do a lot of jumping. They got all the gals. But it's a lie that dancing teaches graceful movement.
Suggested Web Resources
- Celts - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- The Celts were a diverse group of tribal societies in Iron Age and Roman-era Europe who spoke Celtic languages.
- The Celts: Part 1
- And why did they fall from such a pinnacle into the scattered obscurity of today's " Celtic fringe"?
- Origin of the Celts - Caucasian, not European
- Presents the stance that Guydhelic people were part of a migration out of the Sahara thirty thousand years ago. Includes related links.
- CELTIC HISTORY; BRIEFLY...
- Throughout history, the Celtic tradition and belief has not remained static, but has continuously developed and progressed in keeping with the times.
- Phoenicia, Phoenician Origin of the Celts?
- Phoenician Origin of the Celts? Phoenician Encyclopedia. Donate Now, PLEASE TAKE the Phoenician Trivia Competition Poll.
Related searchesirish art the irish impressionists
death and dying
phi mu alpha sinfonia
the queen of the damned bibliography
bahullhs family possible rebuttals
ancient roman enemies and allies