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Hallstatt culture

Hallstatt is a village in the Austrian Salzkammergut where a large prehistoric cemetery of 1045 graves was found in the second half of the 19th century. The community at Hallstatt exploited the salt mines from the eighth to the fifth century BCE. The style and decoration of the grave goods found in the cemetery is very distinctive and artifacts made in this style are widestread in Europe. The culture is called Hallstatt after the first site discovered. An eastern zone including Croatia, Slovenia, western Hungary, Austria, Moravia, and Slovakia can be distiguished from the western cultural zone which includes northern Italy, Switzerland, eastern France, southern Germany, and Bohemia. Archaeologists have recognized differences in the Hallstatt style which appear to develop with time.

Exchange systems or folk movements (probably both) spread the Hallstatt cultural complex into the western half of the Iberian peninsula, Great Britain, and Ireland. It is probable that some if not all of this diffusion took place in a Celtic-speaking context.

In the central Hallstatt regions and towards the end of the period, very rich graves of high-status individuals under large tumuli are found in association with oppida. These defended sites frequently include the workshops of bronze, silver, and gold smiths. Typical sites are the Heuneburg on the upper Danube surrounded by nine very large grave tumuli, Mont Lassois in eastern France near Chatillon-sur-Seine with, at its foot, the very rich grave at Vix, and the hill fort at Molpir in the Czech Republic.