THE last phase of Celtic culture in Europe, a mature stage of which constituted the Celts as known to the Greek, and soon the Roman world, begins in archaeological terms around soo B.C. The date is determined by the Etruscan and Greek objects found in graves as in the couple of centuries before; concurrently, in the fifth century, important internal changes take place in material culture, at least among the aristocracy.1 Political power seems to shift northward from Burgundy and south Germany, and in the middle Rhine, and in France in the Marne region, we suddenly encounter at this time princely graves showing a change in funerary custom, for no longer is a four-wheeled wagon buried with the upper-class dead, but a two-wheeled cart or chariot. This presumably means a change not only in funerary practice, but correspondingly in tactics on the field of battle, and we must shortly consider the question of the likely origins for such a change. However it may have been brought about, the use of the chariot in warfare and parade was to become a characteristically Celtic institution, continuing in Gaul up to the second century B.C., though burial of the vehicle was given up there a century or so earlier; in Britain, apart from a restricted group of third-second century graves, we have evidence of chariot-warfare up to the second century A.D. 2 Outside the main area of the earlier development of the culture, La Tene cart-or chariot-burials occur sporadically throughout the last three centuries or so B.C. in regions such as Hungary, Bulgaria, and even probably south Russia, and the use of the chariot in Galatia is attested by representations on Hellenistic reliefs of native trophies as at Pergamon.3 The east European area was to become the Roman provinces of Pannonia, Moesia, and Thracia, and here chariotand wagon-burials of the early centuries A.D. appear to represent the continuance of the Celtic tradition, though Sarmatian contributions or even a long indigenous tradition presumably cannot be excluded.4 (Fig. II8)

But with the chieftains' chariot-burials and other graves with rich 215

216 ANCIENT EUROPE [261] offerings including Etruscan and Greek imports (notably bronze wineflagons) the archaeological phase of La Tene begins in the Rhineland and almost concurrently in the Marne. Trade now seems to have been across the Alpine passes rather than via Massalia and the Rhone. In the armoury of the warriors distinctive long iron swords in decorated scabbards (usually of bronze) appear. The long or oval shield, continuing the Hallstatt tradition as seen for instance on the Strettweg warriors or the situla scenes, now comes into general use, and, by the middle of the period at least, is buried with the warrior. Above all, as we shall see, these and other luxury objects display in their ornamentation an art style new to Europe; barbarian even as Scythian art is, and indeed with strong affinities to it; exciting and mysterious and wholly alien to the Mediterranean world, early Celtic art is one of the major aesthetic contributions of ancient Europe. (Pis. XXXVII; XLV-XLVII}

We will return to art and warriors' equipment, and we have already looked at the earlier history of Celtic fortification. The timber-framing of ramparts, whereby they were made in effect sheer-faced walls, was further developed. A characteristic middle La Tene type, with uprights along the inner and outer faces of the wall, with transverse crossties, is exemplified by the fort at Preist in the Rhineland, and harks back to late Urnfield prototypes, as we saw last in chapter 5· (Fig. I 19) In the first century B.C., and in response to Roman siege-tactics, the basic form was modified, and strengthened by fastening the timbers at their intersections by iron nails; a technique probably first evolved in Gaul and thence spread to other Celtic areas on the eve of their attack by the Roman armies. Caesar encountered and described it, naming it the murus gallicus or Gaulish wall. 5 (Fig. 120) Some of the forts, of great size, must have had political status as oppida, in the sense of a tribal or cantonal centre, commensurate with their magnitude and fortifications. (Figs. I2II22) Manching in Bavaria, an oppidum of the Vindelici, started in Middle La Tene times, encloses a roughly circular area of flat land about a mileand-a-half across with a rampart (in its final form) of murus gallicus construction and over four miles in circuit; if one assumes a minimum of ten courses of timber-work this would have involved no less than 300 tons of iron nails. The area enclosed, in terms of London, is a circle with Piccadilly Circus as its centre, running through Euston Station, the Aldwych, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace and the American Embassy in Grosvenor Square. The recent excavations show that a central roughly oval area, about a mile by three-quarters of a mile in extent, was largely built up with timber structures which can be interpreted as houses, barns, stores, and probably rows of shops or 'bazaars' along streets up to 30 feet or so in width. (Fig. 123) The space between

119.Timber-framedwallofhill-fort,middleLaTeneculture,secondcenturyB.C., atPreist,Trier,Germany.