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The Celtic Peoples


Celtic peoples appear on the continent of Europe speaking a varying dialect in the Indo-European language group. The other branches of the Indo-European group, include; Albanian, Anatolian, Armenian, Balto-Slavic, Germanic (includes English), Greek, Indo-Iranian, Italic (Latin based) and Tocharian. Celtic has a close relationship with Italic. Note: Continental languages not of the Indo-European group are Basque, Hungarian, Finnish, Estonian, Lappish (Saami). Basque is the *last* language in Europe before the Indo-European migration. Interestingly, Hungarian, came from the East approximately 175 - 200 years later. Pictish (a dead language) was also not of IE.

The Celts developed from the Urnfield Culture, named for their cremation of human remains, and then placing the ashes in urns, whereupon they were buried in cleared fields - prior to 500-400 B.C. Roman period. This development is difficult to pinpoint, in the origination of a separate celtic culture, i.e.; economics, common religion social organization.

Timeline:

1500-1000 B.C.

Celtic settlements emerge in the area now known as mostly Eastern France from roughly Luxemburg to south of Geneva, parts of western and southern Germany, and the Swiss border - roughly larger than Ireland. The migration then extends to an area enveloping large parts of Western and Central Europe.

400 B.C.

Celtic settlements now exist in Britain, Ireland, France (Gaul), Luxemburg, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, old Czech and Slovak republics, parts of Spain (Galicia), northern Italy, Netherlands, parts of Poland, and Russia.

As the Celts power increase, they moved north and west as the result of newer migrating Indo-European groups, importantly; Germanic and Latin. The main migration was by the Galli or Gauls into France, northern Italy and the north of Europe.

Hallstadt; Austria - First discovered by George Ramsauer, a resident of that area in 1846. It took another 30 years before the Vienna Academy of Sciences did an in depth investigation of the local salt mine, a natural resource that had supported Hallstatt economies for the previous 4500 years. Approximately 2500 grave sites were discovered at the time. This period, encapsulates their cultural growth from approximately 800 B.C.

These Celtic peoples of Hallstadt, had developed sophisticated iron works, and traded salt to the south (Italy) and north (Bohemia). Burial sites revealed many relics of iron, another indication of how their society had developed. These sophisticated artisans, buried elaborately embellished drinking vessels, engraved jewelry, weapons, and horse tack, to a degree, heretofore not seen in earlier european periods; further indicative of their advanced social culture.

It is interesting to note, that before the discoveries at Hallstadt, only Greek and Roman civilizations had formulated the use of iron. The development of Hallstadt, clearly shows the Celts advancement from the early ninth century B.C. thru approximately the middle of the seventh century B.C. Furthermore, their use of iron farming implements, corresponded directly to agricultural crop yield - the surplus of which could be used to trade for raw materials that they then sell or trade for other goods. Therefore, it would seem obvious; the Hallstadt Culture clearly indicates social development and achievement on par with Greece and Rome.

La Tene -- In 1858, in the lake bed of Neuchatel, Switzerland, Celtic objects are discovered. Excavations reveal that a settlement had existed by the lake at Neuchatel for several hundred years.

The period of Hallstadt celtic culture existed from apprimately 800/700 B.C. to 600/500 B.C., La Tene appears as the ascendant of Hallstadt Culture and is divided into three specific periods: Early, 600-500 B.C.; Middle, 300-100 B.C.; and Late which evolves until the end of Celtic supremacy in central Europe. The Roman Empire begins an expansion north of the Alps. The Celtic culture of La Tene, is a shining, oppulant example, in expression of a peoples; ornate burial, intricate decoration of weaponry, pre armoured trappings, brooches. The development of a distinct sophistication and 'savoir faire' influence. La Tene becomes the Celtic ascendancy from tribe to literate cosmopolitan society. La Tene IS *civilization*.

"La Tene" Culture embodies glory and wealth, literate and expressive. The definitive Celtic presence; elegance, respect. Their place within the history of man, forever assured. What is astonishing, to this writer, is; this happens more than five hundred years before the birth of Jesus Christ. As remarkable as that is, the term 'La Tene' has forever come to be known as the ultimate picture of Celtic civilization; highlighting their major presence in Europe...

The Hungarian National History Museum in Budapest, contains Celtic artifacts from an area known as Gellert Hill, high above the Danube on the Buda side. This area was once a Celtic fortification. It appears from archaelogical works, that the area was settled, abondoned, only to be resettled again upon return of the Celts from France, near the middle of the 4th century. These Celts brought the use of coins to the area. Interestingly, Roman ruins exist that were built over the site of a nearby Celtic village. Outside of Budapest, there are additional Roman ruins and fortifications which were built over the site of yet another Celtic village.