Celtic Fortresses: the Hallstatt culture, c.800-450 BC

Aug 2018
368
london
#31
Ipf

translated from German:

The Ipf mountain was already inhabited in the Neolithic, and fortified since the Late Bronze Age (1200-800 BC). It had an important function and flourished in the late Hallstatt and early La Tène period (6th / 5th century BC) as a supra-regional center of power and hub in the long-distance trade network.[5]










Integrated in the archaeological layers of the late Hallstatt period are the foundations of two dry stone walls, which are aligned parallel to the slope edge. The oval summit plateau (diameter about 180 m) was formerly circumnavigated by a rampart, which carried a wood-stiffened wall about 5 m wide.About 15 m below a shallow*slope ditch*protects*the plateau, the subsequent wall merges into the steep slope.

On the flat east side of the main wall is a moat, about 150 m long. Just 60 m to the east runs a third wood-stiffened stone wall. 50 to 60 m below the summit plateau finally runs a fourth wall around the south, east and north sides of the plateau, which is protected in the west by the steep slopes of the mountain.*In the north, this wall, which is accompanied by a ditch, runs to the foot of the mountain and once protected three wells.

The fortifications of the plateau were constantly renewed and rebuilt over the centuries, as suggested by the Hallstatt stone foundations, which were found a few meters within the present slope. At the beginning of its settlement history the Ipf was not flat at its height as it is today. Over the centuries, the marginal areas were gradually filled up, until at some point the plateau was largely leveled.*There is some evidence that this last transformation took place in the early La Tène period, in connection with the construction of the lower wall. The traveler from the east would then have been offered an impressive sight: the already imposing mountain was structured by the three white bands of limestone-faced post-slotted walls.

Fragments of Greek pottery were also found on the plateau dating from the Late Hallstatt period (6th century BC). The fragments consist of shards of black-figure Attic pottery representing a complete symposium set.

https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ipf























Video: Digital reconstruction of the Ipf hill fort:

https://www.zdf.de/dokumentation/terra-x/animation-der-keltenfestung-ipf-102.html
 
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Aug 2018
368
london
#33
Glauberg

The Glauberg is a Celtic oppidum in Hesse, Germany consisting of a fortified settlement and several burial mounds, "a princely seat" [1] of the late Hallstatt and early La Tène periods.[2] Archaeological discoveries in the 1990s place the site among the most important early Celtic centres in Europe.







The Glauberg plateau was first settled in the Neolithic era (c. 4500 BC) by people of the Rössen culture. This was followed by a large settlement of the Michelsberg phase (4000 BC). Michelsberg hilltop fortifications are known elsewhere, so it is possible that the hill was fortified for the first time at that stage. The hill was also settled by the late Bronze Age Urnfield culture (1,000–800 BC). During the Celtic*late*Hallstatt/early*La Tène period, the Glauberg became a centre of supra-regional importance. At this time, it was the seat of an early Celtic prince. Extensive fortifications were erected.

The earliest known fortifications might be pre-Celtic, but they reached a high point in terms of size and elaboration around the 6th or 5th century BC. They remained in use until the 2nd or 1st century BC. Their extent and dimensions mark the Glauberg as one of a network of fortified sites (or oppida) that covered most of south and west central Germany.

The northeast edge of the hill, where the slope is least severe, was disconnected from the adjacent ground by the erection of a massive ditch and bank, perhaps originally forming a promontory fort. The southern and northern edges were also fortified with walls. The walling techniques included drystone walling, the murus gallicus (a typical Celtic technique of wood and stone) and perhaps also mudbrick.

The small hilltop pond would not have sufficed to ensure water supply for the population of so large a settlement. For this reason, an annex was added to the north, with two walls running downslope, enclosing an additional triangular area of 300 x 300 m, including a spring. The point of that annex contained a huge water reservoir, measuring 150 by 60 m. At this time, the fortification was 650 m long, nearly 500 m wide, and enclosed an area of 8.5 ha.

At least two gates, a main one to the northeast and a smaller one to the south, gave access to the interior. They are fairly complex in shape, designed to make access for a possible attacker more difficult. An outer fortification was placed beyond the northeast edge of the oppidum. Walls or banks to the south probably played no defensive role.[9]

Such settlements probably housed populations numbering in the thousands. For this reason, combined with their centralising economic role, Celtic oppida are sometime described as proto-urban. Nonetheless, little is known about settlement and other activity on the interior of the site. Evidence from the sites at Manching or Oberursel-Oberstedten suggests that there was probably a village or town-like settlement with houses, workshops and storage areas.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glauberg











Princely Burial Mounds

During an exploratory overflight in 1988, local amateur historians recognised the traces of a large tumulus in a field 300 m south of the oppidum. Between 1994 and 1997, the State Archaeological Service of Hesse excavated it.[10] The mound (mound 1) originally had a diameter of nearly 50 m and a height of 6 m. It was surrounded by a circular ditch 10 m wide. At the time, it must have been a visually extremely striking monument. The tumulus contained three features. An empty pit was placed at the centre, perhaps to mislead potential looters. To the northwest, a wooden chamber of 2 x 1 m contained an*inhumation, and to the southeast, a cremation burial had been placed in some kind of wooden container. Cremations are more commonly associated with the Halstatt period, inhumation with the La Tène period.

The occupants of both graves were warriors, as indicated by their accompanying material: swords and weaponry. The chamber with the inhumation was extremely well preserved and had never been looted. For this reason, it was decided to remove the whole chamber and excavate it more slowly and carefully in the State Service laboratory at Wiesbaden. The finds from the main burial chamber, each carefully wrapped in cloth, include a fine gold torc and a bronze tubular jug that had contained mead.









A second tumulus (mound 2), 250 m to the south, was discovered later by geophysical survey. Erosion and ploughing had made it totally invisible. About half the size of mound 1, it also contained a warrior, accompanied by weapons, a decorated fibula and belt, and a gold ring.

The high quality of the tomb furnishings as well as other features associated with them indicate that the graves, and their occupants, were of extremely high status. They are therefore classed as "princely" burials, on a par with other well-known finds, including those at Vix(Burgundy, France), and Hochdorf (Baden-Württemberg, Germany).

A number of earth features (banks and ditches) are located south of the oppidum, some closely associated with mound 1. They appear to play no defensive role. A small square ditch west of the mound is associated with several other features and a number of large postholes, perhaps suggesting a shrine or temple. Most strikingly, a processional way 350 m long, 10 m wide and flanked by deep ditches approached the tumulus from the southeast, far beyond the settlement perimeter. This was associated with further banks and ditches extending over an area of nearly 2 by 2km. They also contained at least two burials, as well as the statue described below.

The lack of a defensive function and the focus on the burial mounds have led to the suggestion that the enclosure and road system had a ritual or sacred significance. Such a complex is, so far, entirely unparalleled in Celtic Europe.[11]

The purpose of the 16 postholes associated with the mound and enclosure is still undiscovered. Some researchers have proposed that they formed part of an astronomical calendar.









Sites like Glauberg, sometimes referred to as Fürstensitze (seats of princes), indicate a parallel development of social hierarchies developing across late Hallstatt Europe. Elite sites, characterised by massive fortifications, the presence of imported materials and of elaborate burials developed along the important trade routes across the continent. Glauberg must now be considered a proto-urban centre of power, trade and cult, of similar importance to such sites as Bibracte, or Manching, but especially of other "princely" fortified settlements, such as Heuneburg, Hohenasperg and Mont Lassois.


The Keltenfürst (Celtic prince) of Glauberg

Much international attention was attracted especially by the discovery of an extremely rare find, a life-sized sandstone statue or stele, dating from the 5th century BC, which was found just outside the larger tumulus.[12] The stele, fully preserved except for its feet, depicts an armed male warrior. It measures 186 cm in height and weighs 230 kg.[13]:68 It is made from a type of sandstone available within a few kilometres of Glauberg. Much detail is clearly visible: his trousers, composite armour tunic, wooden shield and a typical La Tène sword hanging from his right side. The moustachioed man wears a torc with three pendants, remarkably similar to the one from the chamber in mound 1, several rings on both arms and one on the right hand. On his head, he wears a hood-like headdress crowned by two protrusions, resembling the shape of a mistletoe leaf. Such headdresses are also known from a handful of contemporary sculptures. As mistletoe is believed to have held a magical or religious significance to the Celts, it could indicate that the warrior depicted also played the role of a priest.[12] Fragments of three similar statues were also discovered in the area. It is suggested that all four statues once stood in the rectangular enclosure. Perhaps they were associated with an ancestor cult.









https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glauberg

Glauberg Celtic museum:http://www.keltenwelt-glauberg.de/en/
 
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Aug 2018
368
london
#34
Magdalenenberg Tumulus

Magdalenenberg is the name of an Iron Age tumulus near the city of Villingen-Schwenningen in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. It is considered the largest tumulus from the Hallstatt period in Central Europe with a volume of 33.000 cubic meters.





The central tomb, where an early Celtic Prince (Keltenfürst) was buried, has been dendrochronologically dated to 616 BC. The mound, which is still distinctly silhouetted against the landscape, once possessed a height of 10–12 m (now about 8 m) and a diameter of 104 meters. Little is known about the people who erected it, and current research focusses on the identification of their settlement.[1] In the decades after the Prince's death, 126 further graves were mounted concentrically around the central tomb. At around 500 BC, this tomb was plundered by grave robbers, whose wooden spades were later found by archaeologists.

From 1970 to 1973, the archaeologist Konrad Spindler led another scientific exploration, now not only focussing on the central tomb, but on the surrounding graves as well. By excavating the whole hill, all 127 graves could be explored and finds like bronze daggers, spearheads, an iberian belt hook and a precious amber necklace were unearthed. Some of those objects are proof for trade connections to the Mediterranean area and the eastern alpine region, others allow rare insights into the Celtic burial rites. They are now on display in the Franziskanermuseum (Franciscan Museum) in Villingen, along with the Prince's wooden burial chamber (one of the largest wooden objects from the era in any museum).





Since 2011, the Magdalenenberg attracted new international attention as the possible site of an early moon calendar. The archaeologist Allard Mees of the Romano-Germanic Central Museum (Mainz) suggested that the alignment of the graves represents the stellar constellation at the time of their erection. Another part of his theory is based on large wooden poles that were found inside the hill and whose function remains a mystery. He interprets them as markers directing to the position of the lunar standstill, thus allowing the Celts to prognose lunar eclipses.[2]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magdalenenberg

https://journals.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/index.php/jahrb-rgzm/article/viewFile/17008/10823
 
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Aug 2018
368
london
#36
Some more on the calendar function of the Glauberg burial mound and surrounding earthworks:

The calendar building

A ditch system around the big grave mound with its spectacular finds was clearly shown in geophysical surveys. During the excavations in the area of the “princely” burial mound those ditches and post holes have been excavated as well. Recent research has shown that these structures together with the 2 long ditches running from the burial mound to the south-east (so-called “Prozessionsstraße” [procession alley]) are part of a calendar building, aiming at the point of the Southern Major Standstill of the moon’s 18.61-year precession (maximum extreme of the moon setting), other ditches aiming
at the dates of the solstices. This is evidence for the implications of the whole structure as a ritual or holy place with long term calendrical meaning as well as with short term seasonal meaning.

Calendar systems were usually based on the solar and the lunar phases. By their observations, the change of seasons could be determined as well as dates of annual or other feasts. The post and ditch system was built to be able to watch astronomic events where the large wooden stakes served as bearing points to observe certain rising points of the sun and moon. In addition to the sacred place that was determined by the burials nearby, the structure as a whole can be described as a ritual construction.

http://www.hillfortsstudygroup.org.uk/hfsgfrankfurt2010.pdf







 
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Aug 2018
124
digital world
#37
Glauberg was built 500BC, but what happened to german celts in next 500 years? Where was their progress? Did they stop building their forts and villages and they all moved somewhere? Perhaps closer to the warm sea, good climate and alphabet?
:cool:
 
Aug 2018
368
london
#38
Glauberg was built 500BC, but what happened to german celts in next 500 years?
They built towns from the 3rd century BC onwards, such as Manching in Bavaria. I'm going to do another thread on settlements of the La Tene period (500-1 BC) including those in France and maybe Britain (although Iron Age Britain is a bit different). There was an intermediate period when the Celts were moving around a lot, and attacking their neighbours to the south.

The earliest known celtic inscriptions date from c.600 BC in northern Italy and Switzerland. Evidence indicates writing was widespread from 300 BC onwards. A lot of the time things were written on perishable surfaces so haven't survived. However writing implements and bronze frames of wooden writing tablets have been found, as well as inscriptions in stone, metal and clay. The celtic Gauls originally used the Greek alphabet. Caesar noted that the Druids had a rule against writing down their teachings, but they used 'Greek letters' for all other practical purposes. Objects containing Greek inscriptions have also been found in celtic burials in France from c.500 BC.
 
Last edited:
Aug 2018
124
digital world
#39
They built towns from the 3rd century BC onwards, such as Manching in Bavaria. I'm going to do another thread on settlements of the La Tene period (500-1 BC) including those in France and maybe Britain (although Iron Age Britain is a bit different). There was an intermediate period when the Celts were moving around a lot, and attacking their neighbours to the south.

The earliest known celtic inscriptions date from c.600 BC in northern Italy and Switzerland. Writing was quite widespread from 300 BC onwards. The celtic Gauls originally used the Greek alphabet. Caesar noted that the Druids had a rule against writing down their teachings, but they used 'Greek letters' for all other practical purposes. Objects containing Greek inscriptions have been found in celtic burials in France from 500 BC.
Is Manching oppidum a progress?



It is the same village as Glauberg. Poverty in the bad climate.
 

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