The La Tene Period in Ireland: Invasion or Imitation?
As the Bronze Age in Ireland drew to a close, there appeared to be a new cultural influence. Developing in the Alps of central Europe, the Celts spread their culture across modern day Germany and France and into the Balkans as far as Turkey (Gutrich, 2001). They arrived in Britain and Ireland around 500BC and within a few hundred years, around 800BC, Ireland’s Bronze Age culture had disappeared completely and the Celtic Iron Age began. The Iron Age is categorized into two parts, the earlier Hallstatt period, and the later La Tene period. These two Iron Age cultures are very similar, but archaeological evidence shows many changes occurred in the La Tene culture. There is a big question among many historians and archaeologists today as to why the La Tene period and La Tene materials began to appear after the early Hallstatt period. Was the development of the La Tene period a result of an invasion or was it simply the result of imitation and influence from other European civilizations? Based on archaeological evidence and findings, the Hallstatt and La Tene civilizations seem to have many similarities but also many distinct differences. Things such as burials, belief systems, weaponry, art, and fashion, changed significantly during the transition of the two periods. The Hallstatt graves for example have usually been found to contain, apart from bones of the dead, a four wheeled chariot, but by way of weapons nothing more than a dagger. In the graves of the La Tene period, on the other hand, it is customary to find a two-wheeled chariot, a different fashion learned from the Etruscans, and frequently a sword, helmet, and many other weapons (Cunliffe, 1992). This evidence suggests that the La Tene culture was more efficient and had more of a militaristic nature than the Hallstatt culture. However, both the Hallstatt and La Tene cultures, like most...