Iron Age Chronology Iron Working Life in the Iron Age Iron Age European Sites For reference see: http://orbita.starmedia.com/~brathair/English/culthallstatt.htm
Chronology • The Early Iron Age in central Europe, dating from c.800 b.c. to c.500 b.c., is known as the Hallstatt period. • Celtic migrations, beginning in the 5th cent. b.c., spread the use of iron into W Europe and to the British Isles. • The Late Iron Age in Europe, which is dated from this period, is called La Tène.
Iron Age • Iron Age, marks the period of development of Technology, when the working of iron came into general use, replacing bronze as the basic material for implements and weapons. • It is the last stage of the archaelogical sequence known as the three-age system (Stone Age, Bronze Age, & Iron Age).
Development of Iron • Furnaces were developed that could reach the high melting temperature of that metal. Iron technology had spread throughout the classical world by about 500 BC. • Early steels were discovered by adding small amounts of carbon to iron as it was hammered over a charcoal fire. • Mining became well developed and included the use of pumps to keep mines from flooding.
Bronze vs. Iron • Bronze could be melted and poured into moulds, whereas iron could not because the process made it too brittle to use as weapons or tools. • Iron had to be heated slowly and hammered into shape, then sunk into cold water to prevent it weakening. • This process reached originated in Asia Minor around 1400BC and was brought to Scotland around 700BC by the Celts.
Uses of Iron • Metalware was used for pots and dishes, sometimes with unforeseen disastrous results such as lead poisoning. • Technology also advanced weaponry with the development of catapults, better swords, and body armor. • Also ornamental items, such as jewelry, hair pins, etc.
Armament scabbard sword hilt
Horsemanship Bridle fittings
Ornaments, Jewelry Safety pins
Life in the Iron Age • Different settlements • Hillforts • Single farming units • Within the hillfort proper, families would have lived in roundhouses. • A roundhouse is a teepee-like structure covered by a daub (a mixture of soil, straw, animal manure and soil). • Inside the roundhouse, a fire would burn constantly. The fire would be the source of light and heat for the structure, as well as the means to cook the food. • The making of iron objects would have formed a central part of the settlement's existence. • The majority of entrances to roundhouses face to the east.
Iron Age Round House Above is a reconstruction from archaeological excavations in Northumbria. Inland round houses in low-lying areas used wood for the low walls, but in this picture, as with the site at Waddon, local stone has been used.
Life in the Iron Age (con’d) • Archaeologists discovered the head of a worker bee dating back to the Iron Ages and postulate that apiculture may have been practiced. • Charcoal has been made for over 4,000 years in Britain. • Some forts were protected by a "chevaux-de-frise": a group of upright stones in front of the hillfort meant to make access by man or horse arduous. • Local rivers were used to transport goods in boats built to hold up to 5.5 tons of material • Meat and fish were preserved by using salt extracted from seawater by a lengthy process. • The first Iron Age settlement to be excavated was at Standlake in Oxfordshire. • Archaeologists estimate the population of Britain during the Iron Age to be approximately one million.
Iron Age A - Hallstat culture • This is the first Celtic migration, supplanting (rather than absorbing?) the previous natives and bringing the technology of iron. • They also used bronze, making them multi-metal technologists and being able to suit a wider range of materials to the task. • There was a military aristocracy in place and similar archaeological evidence exists on both sides of the Irish Sea.
Hallstatt, Austria • Located in a seemingly inhospitable area, high in the Salzkammergut in Austria, Hallstatt was a thriving salt-mining and trading center in antiquity. • The wealth in the Hallstatt- and La Tène-period tombs attests to the success of the enterprise. • The finds from this site became eponymous for the period.
Site • Cemetary • View of Lake and Mines in background
Hallstatt Finds • Among the enormous number of finds from the salt mines and the cemetery at Hallstatt are wood and textile objects preserved in salt, pottery, bronze vessels, jewelry, wagons and weapons. • The sword scabbard is atypical in that it is incised with a figural scene. The interpretation of the figures is not entirely clear.
Hochdorf, Germany • The Hallstatt tribes were rural societies, which were organized into isolated farmsteads and hamlets subjected to ‘central places’, controlled by fortified settlements. • Many authors consider that these settlements would be regional centres (controlling an area of 50 km around them), which would be, at the same time, forts, where people from the countryside would find protection in case of war, and also the place where the chief, the aristocracy and craftsmen would live. • Thus, the fortified settlements would be understood asproto-urban centres, which would concentrate: the craft production, food storage and redistribution of resources, trade exchanges and the political power in these societies.
Hochdorf, Germany http://home.bawue.de/~wmwerner/hochdorf/hgl1.html
Construction of grave Grave Chamber Enclosing the grave chamber
The barrow, ready for burial The barrow, after closing chamber Finishing Barrow
Horchdorf Finds Gold bowl Drinking Horn Gold shoe ornaments Knife Gold fibulae Belt cover Neck ring Birch bark hat
The Hochdorf wagon takes up nearly half the space in the burial chamber. • It was made of wood and almost completely covered with iron bands and fittings, some functional, most decorative or, at most, reinforcing. • The wagon clearly did not transport the deceased into the tomb because the body is approx. sixteen cm longer than the wagon box. • Since the chamber is cut ca. two m into the ground and lined with wood, the wagon had to be transported over the sides and placed inside the wood-clad chamber after the textiles that covered the floor had been put in place. • That this was done in pieces is demonstrated by the fact that neither the horse fittings, the pole, nor the wheels were attached to the wagon box in positions suitable for driving. The Wagon
The Couch The "chieftain" was laid out on the couch, with his head toward the south, on thick layers of plant material and animal furs.The entire couch, as restored.Length: 2.75 m. http://www.iath.virginia.edu/~umw8f/Barbarians/Sites/Hochdorf/Hd_couch.html
The Cauldron Cast Bronze lion Height: 80 cm (without lions).Diameter: Ca. 104 cm. Capacity: 500 liters.Bronze
The Chieftan: What do we know about him? Reconstruction of tomb before closing
What do we know about him? • 40 years old when he died. • No cause of death determined. • Over 6 feet tall, above average for the day. • Body embalmed before burial. • Grass growing in chamber-at least four weeks between death and complete chamber. • No hair on body (preservation treatments?)
Iron Age B - La Tène • Celt influx to Britain, a more warlike race. • There was a major silting of lowland river bottoms; was this a result of an increase in mining/streaming (as was to happen in the Middle Ages and Tudor times) or as a result of deforestation and/or the spread of blanket bog with the ending of the closed forest?
La Tene, Switzerland • La Tene refers to the spot outside of Lake Neuchatel that, in 1858, receded to a very low level. • The result was the exposure of the ribs of some construction. When the area was excavated, the second great period of the development of the Celts was revealed. • The La Tene eras were divided into three sections, one, two , and three. This is a classification and designation developed by archaeologists that refer to the periods in general, and the remarkable aspects of it. • Its dating period begins in the middle of the fifth century BC, and continues until the Roman conquest of Gaul, when its development stopped. Roughly, the periods of La Tene runs as follows: La Tene One, from 600 to 500 BC; ,La Tene Two from 450 to 100 BC; and La Tene Three from 100 BC until the Roman destruction of the culture.
La Tène Art • This style originates from the northern part of the Danube and centered in Germany. This was a time of great experimentation and diverse art forms, such as ornaments. The Celts were very artistic and not only worked with different mediums, they also varied their genre. The Celts had great craftsmanship in making sculptures, woodwork figurines such as “stylized animals”, and pottery. • La Tène art was influenced by many different cultures. The main influences came from Greek and Etruscan art from seventh and fourth centuries BC. Celtic art was also influenced by the Steppe art from, derived from the Nomadic Scythians. It was through the Scythians the Celts became acquainted with animal art forms and began to make wooden figurines. • Soon, the Celts emerged into “figurative art” around the third and first centuries BC, with the representation of art work on coins, another demonstration of their amazing abilities with metal. The Celts also made armor and decorative and artistic ornaments for their horses too, starting in the third century BC. But, this art form began to decline and eventually died out starting in the second century BC due to Julius Caesar and his warfare.