European iron age archaeology, as it is currently practised on the continent, remains dominated by an historicist approach. Moreover the study of archaeological material produced by protohistoric societies is undertaken to reconstruct cultural entities which identify specific periods, and to determine their spatial extension and chronological duration. This culture-historical tradition has, for the last century, been linked with the German archaeological school. Such an approach has its roots in the nationalist movements of the middle of the nineteenth century, together with the development of ‘national archaeologies’, the aim of which was to research the prehistoric cultural origins of contemporary national states.