Bronze Age Europe


Bronze Age Europe

The Bronze Age in Europe succeeds the Neolithic in the late 3rd millennium BC (late Beaker culture), and spans the entire 2nd millennium BC (Unetice culture, Urnfield culture, Tumulus culture, Terramare culture, Lusatian culture) in Northern Europe lasting until ca. 600 BC.

Eastern Europe

*Cucuteni culture
*Yamna culture
*Catacomb culture

Central Europe

In Central Europe, the early Bronze Age Unetice culture (1800-1600 BC) includes numerous smaller groups like the Straubingen, Adlerberg and Hatvan cultures. Some very rich burials, such as the one located at Leubingen (today part of Sömmerda) with grave gifts crafted from gold, point to an increase of social stratification already present in the Unetice culture. All in all, cemeteries of this period are rare and of small size. The Unetice culture is followed by the middle Bronze Age (1600-1200 BC) Tumulus culture, which is characterised by inhumation burials in tumuli (barrows). In the eastern Hungarian Körös tributaries, the early Bronze Age first saw the introduction of the Mako culture, followed by the Ottomany and Gyulavarsand cultures.

The late Bronze Age urnfield culture, (1300 BC-700 BC) is characterized by cremation burials. It includes the Lusatian culture in eastern Germany and Poland ((1300-500 BC) that continues into the Iron Age. The Central European Bronze Age is followed by the Iron Age Hallstatt culture (700-450 BC).

Important sites include:
* Biskupin (Poland)
* Nebra (Germany)
* Zug-Sumpf, Zug, Switzerland

Northern Europe

In northern Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Norway, Bronze Age inhabitants manufactured many distinctive and beautiful artifacts, such as the pairs of lurer horns discovered in Denmark. Some linguists believe that a proto-Indo-European language was probably introduced to the area around 2000 BC, which eventually became the ancestor of the Germanic languages. This would fit with the evolution of the Nordic Bronze Age into the most probably Germanic pre-Roman Iron Age.

The age is divided into the periods I-VI according to Oscar Montelius. Period Montelius V already belongs to the Iron Age in other regions.

British Isles

In Great Britain, the Bronze Age is considered to have been the period from around 2100 to 700 BC. Immigration brought new people to the islands from the continent. Recent tooth enamel isotope research on bodies found in early Bronze Age graves around Stonehenge indicate that at least some of the immigrants came from the area of modern Switzerland. The Beaker people displayed different behaviours from the earlier Neolithic people and cultural change was significant. Integration is thought to have been peaceful as many of the early henge sites were seemingly adopted by the newcomers. The rich Wessex culture developed in southern Britain at this time. Additionally, the climate was deteriorating, where once the weather was warm and dry it became much wetter as the Bronze Age continued, forcing the population away from easily-defended sites in the hills and into the fertile valleys. Large livestock ranches developed in the lowlands which appear to have contributed to economic growth and inspired increasing forest clearances. The Deverel-Rimbury culture began to emerge in the second half of the 'Middle Bronze Age' (c. 1400-1100 BC) to exploit these conditions. Cornwall was a major source of tin for much of western Europe and copper was extracted from sites such as the Great Orme mine in northern Wales. Social groups appear to have been tribal but with growing complexity and hierarchies becoming apparent. Also, the burial of dead (which until this period had usually been communal) became more individual. For example, whereas in the Neolithic a large chambered cairn or long barrow was used to house the dead, the 'Early Bronze Age' saw people buried in individual barrows (also commonly known and marked on modern British Ordnance Survey maps as Tumuli), or sometimes in cists covered with cairns.

The greatest quantities of bronze objects found in England were discovered in East Cambridgeshire , where the most important finds were done in Isleham (more than 6500 pieces). [cite book|title= Fenland survey : an essay in landscape and persistence / David Hall and John Coles |first=David|last=Hall|origdate=1994|publisher=London; English Heritage|id=ISBN 1-85074-477-7 , p. 81-88]

Bronze Age boats

*Ferriby Boats
*Langdon Bay hoard - see also Dover Museum
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/northamptonshire/4330031.stm Divers unearth Bronze Age hoard off the coast of Devon]
* [http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/server/show/ConWebDoc.5611 Moor Sands finds, including a remarkably well preserved and complete sword which has parallels with material from the Seine basin of northern France]

Ireland

The Bronze Age in Ireland commenced in the centuries around 2000 BC when copper was alloyed with tin and used to manufacture Ballybeg type flat axes and associated metalwork. The preceding period is known as the Copper Age and is characterised by the production of flat axes, daggers, halberds and awls in copper. The period is divided into three phases Early Bronze Age 2000-1500 BC; Middle Bronze Age 1500-1200 BC and Late Bronze Age 1200-c.500 BC. Ireland, is also known for a relatively large number of Early Bronze Age Burials. [Waddell, J. 1998. "The Prehistoric Archaeology of Ireland". Galway.] , [Eogan, G. 1983. "The Hoards of the Irish Later Bronze Age". Dublin]

References

ee also

*Chariot burial
*Megalithic tomb
*Old European hydronymy
*Helladic period
*Nordic Bronze Age


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