Pre Roman Europe? What was it like?

Jan 2015
That is mostly gold artifacts. Not very informative material.
Well, what more do you want? Danish Bronze Age sites and burials have produced all manner of pottery, clothing, utensils, furniture, remains of substantial buildings, intricate artwork, etc. Stunning wealth and artifacts so sophisticated that modern technology has trouble reproducing them are just a place to start!

Aug 2018
Bronze Age swords:

The Naue II sword originated in central Europe in the 13th century BC.

'The Dissemination of Naue II swords - a Case Study on Long-distance Mobility' (P. Suchowska-Ducke, 2015)

“The evidence for connectivity and mobility in Bronze Age Europe and in the Mediterranean Basin is rich and diverse. Nonetheless, it was the transition from the 13th to the 12th century BC, when these relations became particularly intense (cf. Bouzek 1985; Drews 1993; Harding 1984). Many objects were traded and exchanged across long dis-tances at that time, but this contribution will concentrate on a particular class of cut-and-thrust, flange-hilted swords, also known as Naue II type (and belonging to the so-called Griffzungenschwerter family of European swords). It is a commonly held view that these swords originated in the region of the Eastern Alps and the Carpathian Basin in the 13th century BC (Foltiny 1964). They can be characterised as long and heavy weapons with distinctive parallel-sided cutting edges and a thick cross section. Their technological features make Naue II swords robust, stable and resistant to bending (a great advantage in comparison to other swords of the Aegean Late Bronze Age) and at the same time give them more penetrating power (cf. Jung and Mehofer 2008; Kristiansen 2002). It has, therefore, been argued that the appearance of Naue II swords, used for thrusting and cutting and suitable for close-quarters hand-to-hand combat, must have brought about a significant change in the fighting techniques of the Late Bronze Age (cf. Drews 1993). […]

No inquiry into aspects of symbolism or transmission of cultural ʻvaluesʼ is necessary to explain the popularity of Naue II swords. As a weapon, it is easy to manufacture, efficient and versatile in use. So much so, that it quickly became the material signature of a class of warriors whose heritage is perhaps most impressively preserved by the numerous warrior graves of Denmark and North Germany. Indeed, it seems that swords in general dominated Late Bronze Age warfare. For example, the Egyptian king Meremptah informs us that, when the Libyans attacked his domain in 1208, the Egyptians seized as booty from them 9111 swords (Breasted 1927). Since this figure almost matches the number (9721) of body parts that Mernemptah’s men gathered as trophies, we may suppose that the sword was the principal weapon for the overwhelming majority of the Libyan king’s warriors, just as it was for the fighting men of Europe. The fact that swords are versatile, easy to maintain and light enough for any form of transport, makes them ideal weapons for a class of mobile warriors, allowing them to act profitably, as raiders or soldiers, over long distances.This brings into focus the phenomenon of highly mobile Bronze Age mercenaries, who were behind the rapid spread of military technology. [...]

The appearance of such Bronze Age mercenaries coincided with or caused significant political, social and economic change in the Mediterranean Basin, resulting in a partial collapse of exchange and communication networks,and the decline of political entities such as the Mycenaean culture, the Hittite empire and the city-states of the Levant, whilst significantly weakening others such as Egypt and Mesopotamia. Nevertheless, as is usual in such cases, the demise of the old order also created new opportunities, this time for the societies located in the peripheral and so-called ‘marginal zones’, such as the Carpathian Basin, where metallurgical centres flourished after the collapse
of the centralised administrative systems of the South had freed trade and the transmission of knowledge from political constraints (Sherratt and Sherratt 1991, 374-375).There remains, then, the intriguing issue of how returning warriors/mercenaries changed their home societies, bringing back new ideas, innovations and, of course, material wealth. With reference to later historical parallels, such as the Celtic and Germanic mercenaries who, after their service had ended, returned home with Roman weapons and prestige goods, it seems justifiable to interpret finds of Greek armour in eastern Central Europe during the 14th to 12th century BC as similar evidence of warriors returning from Mycenaean service (where Central European and also Italian flange-hilted swords testify to their presence during the same period, cf. Jung and Mehofer 2008). Thus, the exceptional richness of the Danish burial mounds may have been more intimately linked with the political fate of the Aegean, and the societies of Bronze Age Europe more tightly connected, then is commonly acknowledged.


The Bronze Age can be characterised as a period of intense communication and interaction between societies.This connectivity provided the base for the material and cultural diversity that Europeans take pride in nowadays.In today’s economically and politically troubled times, it becomes obvious once more that Europe’s societies – for better or for worse – have always shared a connected fate. But Bronze Age research still tends to underestimate extent of the Bronze Age network and the connectivity and thus inter-dependency of its societies. The Naue II swords are an example of weapons technology that spreads fast and over vast areas due to highly mobile warriors and the extreme intensity of warfare as a form of social interaction. In this context, the rise of the Bronze Age warrior aristocracy in temperate Europe, beginning in the second millennium BC, can be explained through the region’s position on the periphery of the more advanced and richer centres of the Near East and the Mediterranean (Kristiansen 1999). The marginalisation effect this had on societies was only amplified by Northern warriors earning a living as mercenaries fighting the wars of the South. While this may have had great economic benefits for returning warriors, it must have had equally constraining effects on the social fabric and economic development of their home societies.The archaeological evidence indicates that what happened in the Aegean world during the 13th and 12th centuries BC was not just a chain of temporary economic and social disruptions, but indeed a catastrophic sequence of events that eventually affected the entire continent. The stability and growth that initially characterised the Aegean Late Bronze Age vanished, giving way to the decline of the palatial societies. According to O. Dickinson (2006), the instability that followed the collapse of the Aegean city-states was the main factor for the depression and stagnation that ushered in the so called ‘Dark Age of Greece’, when social, political and cultural organisation reverted to much simpler forms. There is little indication that there was an aristocracy able to manifest its social position and wealth during that time. There are, however, some exceptions such as the graves known as ‘warrior princes’ with Naue II swords and other types of weaponry, metal vessels, dress fasteners and jewellery, most of them from Achaea (Paschalidis andMcGeorge 2009). This may indicate an attempt at establishing new hierarchical social organisation after the collapse of the Mycenaean city-states. It may be speculated that some of these new ‘warrior princes’ were mercenaries of northern origin that stayed in Greece to become local rulers (Giannopoulos 2008).

Density of Naue II swords. The isolines represent the average number of swords within a radius of 250km. The highest density ( c. 180) occurs in Jutland. The dots represent one or more Naue II finds:

Reconstruction of pan-European communication network represented by the geographical spread of archaeological objects. The network nodes represent sites that have yielded an above-average number of relevant finds. The links are direct connections between neighbouring nodes:

Denmark museum, Bronze Age:

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Aug 2018
Bronze Age town with fortified 'acropolis' in northern Germany, c.1100 BC:

The Hünenburg

"Archaeological excavations have shown that the Hünenburg as a fortification during the Bronze Age around 1100 BC was built next to a settlement dating back to the 14th century BC. In this period of the younger Bronze Age (1200 to 750 BC) numerous fortifications are known in Central Europe .[1] The settlement of the Hünenburg was around 600 years. Bronze finds, such as a bronze basin cast on the Hünenburg and richly ornamented, suggest its function as a center of power and seat of an elite. These items also seem to have been spread to the wider area. This suggests the presence of metalworking specialists within the fortifications. The excavations revealed that the Hünenburg was first fortified by a rampart in the 11th century BC. From about 900 BC On the outside of the wall, a stone veneer was created on the outside of the wall and, later, a massive stone wall, which gave the building a prestigious character.

Walls south of the archaeological excavations and found by the use of the aerial photography revealed a further Bronze Age outer settlement with cemeteries [2] , which has an extent of 27 ha and is referred to as a lower town. [...] [3] At a presentation of the excavation results in November 2014, Heike Pöppelmann, director of the Braunschweig State Museum, said that such an ensemble was here proven for the first time in Central Europe in this form. "We know this from the Mediterranean area. The best known examples are Troy and Mycenae". Researchers assume that Watenstedt also had people who came from the south of Scandinavia. "There were groups and people from other regions in Watenstedt," said the excavation leader Immo Heske of the Georg August University of Göttingen . Thus, the castle could have been a trading post of the Scandinavians to bring metals for bronze production to the north. [4] [5]

The settlement outside the fortification has been increasingly archaeologically studied since 2001. By the end of 2014, the scientists were digging three tons of ceramics out of the bottom of the settlement. [6] In this case, wooden post houses the wattle in size from about 11 x 5 metres were detected with hearths and a kind of stone paving. At the houses up to 1.8 meters deep storage and waste pits were found. In 2011, a former watercourse was discovered, which flowed through the settlement.

About 700 meters south of the Hünenburg near the lowland of the Große Bruch was discovered in 2010 on a creek an area with more than 400 cooking pits in the ground, which were probably used for ritual cooking events. As a sacrificial stone was found there in 2014, the area is considered a former "holy district". [8th]

The investigations of the fortification and the outer settlement showed wide-ranging contacts to the Mediterranean. [9] The Hünenburg has parallels to the nearby Schwedenschanze Isingerode fortified Bronze Age settlement, which was established in 1200 BC and occupied until 600 BC.

Hünenburg bei Watenstedt – Wikipedia

Model of the central fortified settlement:

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Aug 2018
"The amber that circulated amongst Europe’s peoples in the Bronze Age came from the areas around the Baltic or from the North Sea coast of Jutland. [...] The Scandinavian amber reached as far as Greece. Amber jewellery has been found in royal graves at Mycenae and Pylos, dating to c. 1600 BC. Here amber was a beautiful and exotic gift, that accompanied only the wealthiest people in their graves."

Amber - the gold of the North - National Museum of Denmark

"From at least the 16th century BC, amber was moved from Northern Europe to the Mediterranean area.[2][3] The breast ornament of the Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamen (ca. 1333–1324 BC) contains large Baltic amber beads.[4][5][6] Heinrich Schliemann found Baltic amber beads at Mycenae, as shown by spectroscopic investigation.[7] The quantity of amber in the Royal Tomb of Qatna, Syria, is unparalleled for known second millennium BC sites in the Levant and the Ancient Near East.[8] "

Amber Road - Wikipedia

"Artifacts from royal burial graves Gamma and Omicron of grave circle B at Mycenae attest to cultural ties between the Eastern Mediterranean elite and that of the Scandinavian Early Bronze Age (mid- and late 2nd millennium BC). The appearance of the running spiral motif and representations of ships with rams in Scandinavia coincide with the beginning of the Mycenaean civilization. These facts, along with the finds of Baltic amber only in the royal burials at Mycenae but not in Crete, suggest that a principal role in the introduction of these cultural elements in Scandinavia during the Scandinavian Bronze Age (periods I–III according to Montelius) was played by the Mycenaean elite."

"Bronze Age trade networks across Europe and the Mediterranean are well documented; Baltic amber and bronze metalwork were particularly valued commodities. Here it is argued that demand for copper and tin led to changes in Scandinavian trade routes around 1600 BC, which can be linked to the appearance of figurative rock art images in southern Scandinavia. Images identified as oxhide ingots have been discovered in Sweden and suggest that people from Scandinavia were familiar with this characteristically Mediterranean trading commodity. Using trace element and lead isotope analysis, the authors argue that some bronze tools excavated in Sweden could have been made of Cypriot copper; these two discoveries suggest that Scandinavians were travelling to the Mediterranean, rather than acting through a middle man."
Apr 2017
Ario and Authun, I do not want to disrupt your efforts, but you are answering a guy who posted in another thread pictures of Maori with some tourists and claimed that is similar to Germans and Romans 1000 BC...
That is the same guy who asked about Swedish artifacts and formed the thesis if you do not have an empire something is wrong with you...

Do what you want. It is your life-time. Just saying... I enjoy it. Please. Go ahead. More pictures of late-bronze age civilizations.
You have my deepest respect for what you guys are doing here. I would never have that patience and love. I mean it.
Likes: authun


Ad Honorem
Aug 2011
I would never have that patience and love. I mean it.
Well, I've suggested some reading on the subject. The rest is his decision.

I was impressed when I went to visit a reconstruction of a bronze age langhaus in Oerlinghausen. If it had power and water supplied, you could easily live in such a place today.