The Hallstatt - La Tène model is definitely out !

Jan 2011
1,032
FRANCE
#1
1- The Hallstatt - La Tène model

In the early 19th century, historians believed that the Celts had been present in Western Europe since the beginning of the 2nd millennium BCE.

The discovery of the sites of Hallstatt (1846) and La Tène (1857) allowed historians to recognize the presence of the Celts, where Herodotus located them in the fifth century BCE, near the mouth of the Danube.
In 1870, the French Gabriel de Mortillet and the Swiss Emile Desor recognized, among the materials discovered in tombs located near the Etruscan town of Marzabotto, fibulae and swords similar to those they had found in the Champagne tombs, and on the Swiss site of La Tène.

The historical migrations of the Celts to the North of Italy in the 5th - 4th centuries described by Livy were therefore certified by these discoveries.

Historians of the beginning of the 20th century, including the French J. Déchelette, imagined then that the Celtic world expanded from the fifth century, due to migrations of populations of Latenian culture.
Thus the hypothesis of the origin and expansion of the Celts from a central European core was born.

A little later, the Iron Age was divided in two periods, Hallstatt (-850 to -450) and La Tène (-450 to 0), the second culture obviously deriving from the first one.

The hypothesis that the cultures expand with peoples migrations was then applied to the previous period, and it resulted with the following chronological sequence:
The Tumulus culture ® The Urnfield culture ® The Hallstatt culture ® The La Tène culture.

This model was « The model » throughout the 20th century, with some very unfortunate developments (G.Kossinna).
It is yet very common, especially on Internet, to explain the origin and expansion of the Celts, as it is clear and simple.

To sum up this model:

- The Celts appear at the beginning of the 1st millennium with the Hallstatt culture,
- The expansion of the Celts is due to migrations from this Central European core.

A map example:




This model is simple but it is wrong.

At least that’s what all the scholars have been writing for the last ten years.

Next:

2- Why has the Hallstatt – La Tène model been abandoned?
 

beorna

Ad Honoris
Jan 2010
17,473
-
#2

................
This model is simple but it is wrong.

At least that’s what all the scholars have been writing for the last ten years.

Next:

2- Why has the Hallstatt – La Tène model been abandoned?
I really would like to know why. I did not support these red line- Urnfield - hallstatt- La tene, but it is not completely wrong. What new theory do scholars have?
 

Midas

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
4,129
Scandinavia, Balkans, Anatolia, Hatay
#3
Ok, you gave us a teaser, give us the rest now :)

I am interested to know what happened and it is considered wrong. Papers on the issue would be appreciated.
 
Jan 2011
1,032
FRANCE
#4
Here is a list of some of the present scholars that have clearly abandoned the Hallstatt – La Tène (HLT) model :

Miklos SZABO
Sabine RIECKHOFF (2006):
It is astounding to see that the J.Dechelette hypothesis remains to the present day the main base of all maps, on which the Celts expand in all the directions from a so-called original land.

Stephen OPPENHEIMER (2010):
The current orthodox view of the origin of the Celts is one of the remaining myths left over from the 19th century.

Ludwig PAULI
Daniele VITALI (2006):
The migrationist models that have been in use to solve the Celts presence in Iberia have been abandoned.

John KOCH
John COLIS (2003):
So why did the Celts have to arrive sometime in the Iron Age? Part of this was due to the concept of the so-called Hallstatt and La Tène cultures, and in 1986 I brought together examples in my paper “Adieu La Tene” and “Adieu Hallstatt” showing how at various times and places the archaeological record had been grossly misinterpreted to fit the preconceived interpretation.

Brian RAFTERY
Barry CUNLIFFE (2010):
A traditional belief, still widely held, is that the Celts originated somewhere in western central Europe, to the north of the Alps, and from there, in a succession of movements over many centuries, spread westwards into Iberia, Britain, ….The time is now right for a new model of “Celtic origins” to be offered.

Patrice BRUN
Pierre Yves MILCENT (2006):
The latenian core and the hypothesis of a cultural or ethnic centrifuge model have never existed, if not in the mind of many searchers since the 19th century.

Venceslas KRUTA (2006):
The initial core of the Celts was up to the present day identified as the Hallstatt culture. We must fundamentally change our ideas on the origin and expansion of the Celts.

Matthieu POUX
 
Jan 2011
1,032
FRANCE
#7
2- Why has the Hallstatt – La Tène model been abandoned ?

2.0- Defining the Celts

The (ancient) Celts may be defined as:

- People who speak a Celtic language,
- People with a Celtic culture : by instance, the La Tène or the Hallstatt or the Celtiberian or the Golasecca culture,…
- People who produce a Celtic art,
- People that have been called Celtic (Keltoi, Galatai, Celti, Galli, … )
- People who called themselves Celts,
- People that ancient authors called Celts,
- …
An association of these definitions (by « and » or « or ») is another one : we could call Celts only the people:
- speaking a Celtic language and having a La Tène culture
or
- speaking a Celtic language or having any one of the attested Celtic cultures.


I will use in this discussion the nowadays most common definition of the ancient Celts: “those who were speaking a Celtic language”.

It should be noted that:
- The HLT model contains an implicit statement that people of the La Tène (and Halstatt) culture were speaking a Celtic language, and that the expansion of the La Tène Culture corresponds to the expansion of Celtic languages.
- Many discussions about the Celts are ambiguous, as people use the word « Celts » with a different definition without explaining it.


2.1 Iron Age cultures deriving from Bronze Age cultures

A fundamental assumption which lies behind the HLT model is that we can detect breaks in the archaeological sequence which mark a change in the population, or the arrival of a group sufficiently numerous or powerful to assert their authority. This migration theory is based on historical evidence: the Celtic invasion of northern Italy and of Asia Minor, the expansion of German peoples in the post-Roman world...
But it is also based on pre-conception of the colonial word of the 19th century, a belief that “primitive” peoples had not changed in the past and were incapable of change without external immigration” (J.Collis 2003).

In fact, in many places where a Celtic language was spoken BCE and where the Celts were supposed to have emigrated, there is a strong continuity of culture since the Bronze Age (Iberia, North of Italy, the Atlantic coast, British Isles …).
That’s one of the reasons why scholars strongly believe today that the people living in these countries were speaking a Celtic language before the arriving of the La Tène culture.

In most of these cases, the evidence of the La Tène culture is late. That’s why it was supposed that the Celtic languages had arrived late (see the previous maps).

2.2 Lepontic inscriptions

Today, the first known Celtic inscriptions are the Lepontic inscriptions which date from the beginning of the 6th century, outside of the Hallstatt – La Tène core.
“The attribution of the Golasecca culture to peoples speaking a Celtic language stroke a powerful blow to the fragile and not very consistent construction which assumed that the Celts expanded from a central European core.” (V.Kruta 2000).

Obviously there have been links between the Hallstatt culture and the Golasecca culture, but they were more frequent south-north than the other way. And moreover, it has been shown that the Golasecca culture was strongly deriving from the Bronze Age, thus showing this culture was not deriving from the Hallstatt – La Tène culture.
 
Jan 2011
1,032
FRANCE
#8
2.3- The Urnfield culture

The Hallstatt culture has been well shown as deriving from the Urnfield culture.

In the HLT model, the assumption has then been made that the Celts “came” with the Urnfield culture and “emerged” with the Hallstatt culture and the La Tène culture.
But this assumption cannot explain the emergence of the Celtic languages in Spain (for instance). The Urnfield culture was present in the north-west of Spain, but within the territory of the Iberians, and not sufficiently present through the territory of Celtiberians and other Celtic peoples.

And today all the Spanish scholars consider that the Celtic languages didn’t come with the Urnfield culture, even if some admit that the Urnfield culture could have played a part in the Celticity of the Iberian Peninsula, but later.

In fact, the idea that cultures are linked to a people (ethnically or/and linguistically) dates from the 1930’s with G.Kossinna and then Gordon Childe.
Gordon Childe progressively abandoned the idea, which is today considered as wrong. Not totally wrong, obviously.

An example:
If we consider that the expansion of the Celts (Celtic language speakers) has been made with the La Tène culture, then we should find La Tène artefacts (fibulae, swords…) in Celtic speaking territories, and not in non-Celtic speaking territories.
In the North of Italy, we have exactly the opposite recordings from the 4th and 3rd centuries about the Venetians and the Insubri :
We have a great number of La Tène artefacts in the Venetian territory (where they didn’t speak a Celtic language), and no one in the Insubrian territory (where they had been speaking a Celtic language for several centuries).
 

beorna

Ad Honoris
Jan 2010
17,473
-
#9
First of all thank you for the great idea to open the thread.
Are you ready with 2.3 or is still something coming?

2- Why has the Hallstatt – La Tène model been abandoned ?

2.0- Defining the Celts

The (ancient) Celts may be defined as:

- People who speak a Celtic language,
- People with a Celtic culture : by instance, the La Tène or the Hallstatt or the Celtiberian or the Golasecca culture,…
- People who produce a Celtic art,
- People that have been called Celtic (Keltoi, Galatai, Celti, Galli, … )
- People who called themselves Celts,
- People that ancient authors called Celts,
- …
An association of these definitions (by « and » or « or ») is another one : we could call Celts only the people:
- speaking a Celtic language and having a La Tène culture
or
- speaking a Celtic language or having any one of the attested Celtic cultures.
I absolutely agree, that a definition for Celts is difficult. Such a definition can be very different and in- or exclude a lot of people, we wouldn't or would consider as Celts.
I have try to show this about the Germanics. I usually like to define somebody about the language. So a Germanic cannot be a germanic without the linguistic shift. These shift happened somewhen between 600 and 0 BCE. But we don't know where. The most plausible explanation is a connection with the Jastorf-culture. If we do this it excludes a lot of other germanic nations, e.g. Scandinavia, but even the easter germanics or those between Weser river and Rhine or west of it, and especially those were called Germanics first, but are not part of the Jastorf, but of Nienstedt or even of LaTene.

I will use in this discussion the nowadays most common definition of the ancient Celts: “those who were speaking a Celtic language”.

It should be noted that:
- The HLT model contains an implicit statement that people of the La Tène (and Halstatt) culture were speaking a Celtic language, and that the expansion of the La Tène Culture corresponds to the expansion of Celtic languages.
- Many discussions about the Celts are ambiguous, as people use the word « Celts » with a different definition without explaining it.
I would use this definition as well, but as I wrote above is it very difficult. The first question is, what is Celtic? The second, when did the shift happen?
For a quick information,
Proto-Celtic language - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
[ame=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Celtic_languages]Celtic languages - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame]
We can divide the Celtic languages in two main branches, the Q- and the P-Celts. I usually like to compare the situaton with the satemisation of the Indo-European languages. It was for long discussed, how the "Kentum"-Tocharians could migrate to China and whether they are closest related with Celts, because the Kentum-people where usually in the west, the Satem-people in the East. Today such differentiation into Kentum and satem People is obsolete. And of course did the Tocharians not migrate from europe to China. The Satemisation was a process that occured within the indo-european people and spread from an unknown core to the east and the west. The Tocharians and several european linguistic families, like the Germanics, the Celts and the Italians weren't influenced by that shift. That's the reason why there the K remained.
I said it already, it is comparable with the Celts, we have here a probably older Q and the younger P. What we don't know is when this happened and where. It seems to be the fact, that the Goidelic and Celtiberian language remained the Q, while the Gaulish, the Brythonic and e.g. galatian shifted to P.

2.1 Iron Age cultures deriving from Bronze Age cultures

A fundamental assumption which lies behind the HLT model is that we can detect breaks in the archaeological sequence which mark a change in the population, or the arrival of a group sufficiently numerous or powerful to assert their authority. This migration theory is based on historical evidence: the Celtic invasion of northern Italy and of Asia Minor, the expansion of German peoples in the post-Roman world...
But it is also based on pre-conception of the colonial word of the 19th century, a belief that “primitive” peoples had not changed in the past and were incapable of change without external immigration” (J.Collis 2003).

In fact, in many places where a Celtic language was spoken BCE and where the Celts were supposed to have emigrated, there is a strong continuity of culture since the Bronze Age (Iberia, North of Italy, the Atlantic coast, British Isles …).
That’s one of the reasons why scholars strongly believe today that the people living in these countries were speaking a Celtic language before the arriving of the La Tène culture.

In most of these cases, the evidence of the La Tène culture is late. That’s why it was supposed that the Celtic languages had arrived late (see the previous maps).
Yes. Especially those areas where Celtic is spoken today did not or very late participated to the La-Tene. A map from wiki is here quite helpful

The Hallstatt region is yellow, the oldest LaTene solid green and the area of la-Tene-culture light green. So we can see, that Iberia and Britain are excluded.

2.2 Lepontic inscriptions

Today, the first known Celtic inscriptions are the Lepontic inscriptions which date from the beginning of the 6th century, outside of the Hallstatt – La Tène core.
“The attribution of the Golasecca culture to peoples speaking a Celtic language stroke a powerful blow to the fragile and not very consistent construction which assumed that the Celts expanded from a central European core.” (V.Kruta 2000).

Obviously there have been links between the Hallstatt culture and the Golasecca culture, but they were more frequent south-north than the other way. And moreover, it has been shown that the Golasecca culture was strongly deriving from the Bronze Age, thus showing this culture was not deriving from the Hallstatt – La Tène culture.
The celtic inscriptions of the Lepontic room are easy to connect with Celtic migrations. That there were connections between hallstatt and Golasecca is as well no real problem, because we can suppose, that both were at least inhabited by Indo-Europeans.

2.3- The Urnfield culture

The Hallstatt culture has been well shown as deriving from the Urnfield culture.

In the HLT model, the assumption has then been made that the Celts “came” with the Urnfield culture and “emerged” with the Hallstatt culture and the La Tène culture.
But this assumption cannot explain the emergence of the Celtic languages in Spain (for instance). The Urnfield culture was present in the north-west of Spain, but within the territory of the Iberians, and not sufficiently present through the territory of Celtiberians and other Celtic peoples.

And today all the Spanish scholars consider that the Celtic languages didn’t come with the Urnfield culture, even if some admit that the Urnfield culture could have played a part in the Celticity of the Iberian Peninsula, but later.

Here a map for the urnfield culture (including the Lausitzer culture).
I absolutely agree with you, that it is difficult to explain, why on the Iberian peninsula we have celtic languages, allthough there is no archaeological connection to the hallstatt or even the Urnfield culture.
It was once the hypothesis, that the urnfield people migrated and brought their culture to other places. This is today only partly true. First of all are there no Urnfield people as single ethnos. All we can suppose is, that they were of a predominantly indo-european language. There were probably migrations, too, but as well acculturization. So we should suppose, that some indo-european groups brought their language to parts of Britannia and Iberia. Perhaps we can connect these people with the ancestors of the Q-Celts or as we should say "so-called Q-Celts".


In fact, the idea that cultures are linked to a people (ethnically or/and linguistically) dates from the 1930’s with G.Kossinna and then Gordon Childe.
Gordon Childe progressively abandoned the idea, which is today considered as wrong. Not totally wrong, obviously.
You are again correct here. We cannot expect a single ethnos and just one language inside a culture, especially if it is a larger one. But that doesn't automatically mean, that we cannot connect known ethnoi with cultures. Perhaps again an example from the germanics. The Przeworsk-culture was for long times an apple of discord. German scholars called them germanic, Slavic scholars slavic. The Przeworsk-culture is then, following roman scholars, linked with the Vandali. Today we can widely exclude any slavic origin or even relation. But as well is the P-culture not clearly germanic. I don't want to go to far into details, so it seems, that the P-culture in its origins was influenced by people of the former face-urn culture and new-settlers and was first strongly celtic, LaTene-influenced. The Vandals first came to this cultural area later, together with other groups and turned these culture into a germanic one. So at the end of the P-culture we have to expect a predominantly or even consistent germanic culture.

An example:
If we consider that the expansion of the Celts (Celtic language speakers) has been made with the La Tène culture, then we should find La Tène artefacts (fibulae, swords…) in Celtic speaking territories, and not in non-Celtic speaking territories.
In the North of Italy, we have exactly the opposite recordings from the 4th and 3rd centuries about the Venetians and the Insubri :
We have a great number of La Tène artefacts in the Venetian territory (where they didn’t speak a Celtic language), and no one in the Insubrian territory (where they had been speaking a Celtic language for several centuries).
The oldest La-Tene findings are coming from territories at the border of the hallstatt culture, even in the northern Hunsrück-Eifel-(Marne)-culture.
So here is the original area of this culture.
Can we now exclude Celts from the real laTene-Celts, because they did not participate in this culture or is every LaTeneethnos a celtic one?
Well that is really the problem. It seems, that a celtic language is older than the LaTene-culture. So Celtic is older than 450 BCE. we have as well different stage of destribution and development. The Early LT A (480-380) is widely limited to Southern Germany and eastern France. At the end of these period the great historical migrations started. So if Insubres are without LaTene influence they have to migrate earlier and didn't later adopt the LT.
In early LT B and Middle LT the culture spread across Europe, the Danube area, Little Asia and total France. As I wrote above is these area the area where we can find the so-called P-Celtic languages. So I would connect the evolution of a p-Celtic with the destribution of La-Tene.
That leaves still the question of Q-Celtic. The best is to connect them with people from the urnfield culture. That doesn't mean, that both regions became indo-european immediately, but at least in parts within the next centuries. They lost there connection with the core in France and Germany and did not participate in the later P-shift.
 
Jan 2011
1,032
FRANCE
#10
First of all thank you for the great idea to open the thread.
Are you ready with 2.3 or is still something coming?
The end is coming with the new model !:) , but I will answer before to your comments.

I don't have too much to say, as you mostly agree with me.

The celtic inscriptions of the Lepontic room are easy to connect with Celtic migrations. That there were connections between hallstatt and Golasecca is as well no real problem, because we can suppose, that both were at least inhabited by Indo-Europeans.
The Lepontic inscriptions are not (or no longer) connected with the historical Celtic migrations, as the Golasecca culture is not considered as deriving from the Hallstatt culture.


Here a map for the urnfield culture (including the Lausitzer culture).
I absolutely agree with you, that it is difficult to explain, why on the Iberian peninsula we have celtic languages, allthough there is no archaeological connection to the hallstatt or even the Urnfield culture.
It was once the hypothesis, that the urnfield people migrated and brought their culture to other places. This is today only partly true. First of all are there no Urnfield people as single ethnos. All we can suppose is, that they were of a predominantly indo-european language. There were probably migrations, too, but as well acculturization. So we should suppose, that some indo-european groups brought their language to parts of Britannia and Iberia.
We can note on the map that the Urnfield culture was present in territories that were further Germanic speaking. It can be explained by at least two ways :
- People of the Urnfield culture were Indo-European, but the Celtic language was not yet diffentiated, or
- The Celtic language was alreday differentiated, but other Celtic languages speaking peoples were already inhabiting other areas, west of the Urnfiel area.


The oldest La-Tene findings are coming from territories at the border of the hallstatt culture, even in the northern Hunsrück-Eifel-(Marne)-culture.
So here is the original area of this culture.
I will comment this further. But some of the material characteristics described as La Tène appeared early in the Atlantic Iron Age, sometimes even before they were known in Central Europe (PY Milcent - 2006).

I don't agree with your last paragraph. But this will be the subject of the conclusion : What is the new model ?
 

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