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2500-500 BC

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Theintentionofthis article isto provide a briefintroduction to research on chronology in a large area,

including Central Europe, central and northern Italy
and the Balkan peninsula. The synthesis offered here
(Tables I-Ill) only gives a broad outline of the most
important results: whereas fine chronology is a valid
aim for local sequences, supra-regional chronologies
are necessarily less precise. The following pages therefore concentrate on the broad chronological developments in the lOth, 9th and 8th centuries BC, ignoring
the finer chronological detail which has sometimes
been achieved. The resulting chronological framework is schematic; it should be clear that the rigid
"chest of drawers" structure (see Tables I-Ill) does
not imply that this wide area was convulsed by
change only at phase transitions, every hundred years
or so. In fact, dendrochronology has demonstrated
that material culture generally changed gradually although there are certainly important exceptions.
Regional sequences are constructed using all available artefacts (ceramic, lithic, metallic etc.) which are
often oflocal character, and can generally be tied into
more general chronological schemes most reliably by

using metal types. The inter-regional chronology discussed in this article is therefore based chiefly on the
study of bronze artefacts. This methodology relies on
the tendency for bronze artefact types to have a wider
distribution than non-metallic ones. It follows that supra-regional chronological phases will tend to be
more successful when such objects were both intensively and widely circulated. This was certainly the
case in the Late Bronze Age, when there were very
active systems of bronze exchange; the geographical
extent and validity of each Late Bronze Age phase is
a reflection of the range and intensity of exchange
and deposition practices.
We know that certain typical bronze objects of the
recent U rnfield period (Ha B I) allow a chronological
horizon to be followed across much of Europe. The
wide-reaching applicability of this phase can only be
accounted for by the efficient functioning of long-distance communication networks, which could involve
the production, exchange, display, thesaurisation, destruction and deposition of bronze. This was the
time - in the middle and recent Urnfield period when the "Urnfield phenomenon" attained, in its


Acta Archaeologica
The pub lica tion in 1959 of H. MullerKarpc's "Beitrage zur C hronologie der Urnenfelderzeit nordli ch
und sudlich derAlpe n" (2)profoundly influenced the
co urse of subseq uent research.There can be no doubt
th at this piece of scho larship is the single most importan t mileston e in the course of postwar research on
theLat eBron zeAge in CentralEurope. Whil e mu ch
ofhiswor khasstood the testoftime ,it isclear today
that there are certain cr ucial faults in hissche me. In
a lesser work, this would not ha ve been important,
but beca use the "Beitrage" have been so influenti al,
these faults have contributed to a widespr ead misunder standing of the chro nology a t the Bron ze Age /
Iron Age tra nsition.
M ullerKarp e's problem was to match thechronologicaldevelopme nts northand southof theAlps.H is
solutionwastoeq uate H aB 1 with lat eProtovillan ova,
HaB2with VillanovaIandH aB3withVillanovaIl :

vari ous region al guises, its grea test geographical exten t: reachin g from M oldavia in the east to the Low
Co untriesand the north eastern Iberian peninsulain
the west (1 ). After this time ofwidespread interregionalcontac ts,regional cultur algroupstendedtobecome less involved in lon gdistance exchange networks particularly at the start of the Iron Age, but
already tosomeexte nt in thelat eUrnfieidperi od (H a
B2/ 3).Th e Bron ze Age / Iro n Age tran sition typically
saw the collapse of ear lier traditi ons of bron ze produ ction , excha nge a nd consump tion; it is imp ortant
to understan d thischa nge in the circulatio n ofmetal
obje cts, to apprecia te some ofthe p roblems enco untered in chronology at the end ofthe Bron ze Age.
We will turn first to a brief comment on ea rlier
work,before discussing in pa rt II cha nges in thelight
ofmore recent resar ch informed by dendroch ron ology. In pa rt III the state of research in differen t regions will be reviewed .

Table 1.Chronological schemefor the Italia n and Balkan peni nsulae.





io j.





. J!


Bronzo finale3






































Relative Chronology
H.::. B I = late Prot ovillan ova = l Oth cent ury BC
H a B2= Villan ova 1=9th century BC
H a B3=Villanova 1I=8th century BC
At that time the equation of H a B3 with Villanova
11 seemed beyo nd que stion , bea ring in mind the lat e
C mfield objects (especially cas t-hilted swor ds) found
in a numbe r of rich late Villanova n graves. The eq ua tion of H a BI with late Protovillanova was also
found ed on numerous comparisons, particularly berween bron ze obj ects in Italian and Ce ntra lEuropean
hoar ds. Against this background it is clear why H a
B2 played an integral role in M ullerKarpe's scheme:
to bridgethegapwhichhad ope ne dbe tweenthe 10th
and 8th cen turies BC .
Mull erKarpe's ph ase H a B2 soo n came under attackfrom a var iety of a uthors (3).K elheim ph ase III
("H a B2")dissolved under criti calinspec tion, and the
"H aB2" p hase at Ruse(M ariaR ast)isun con vincing.
Despit e the fact that most spec ialists did not accept
H a B2 as a supraregional pha se, the extent of the
problemca usedby the collapseofthiscru cialelem en t
of th e chronology was not exp lored . If it is accepted
that the eq ua tion ofH a BI and lat e Protovillanova is
cor rec t, then the qu estion follows: sho uld Ha B3 be
equa ted with Villanova I o r Villanova Il , or both ?
Fewscholars realised tha ttherewasa" floatingchro nology" in Ce n tral Eu rop e at the end of the La te
The shee r authority ofMullerKarpe's scholarship
exacerbated the problem. In those regions where the
late U rnfield phase (Ha B3) is clea rly recognisab le,
but directlinkswithItalyare extremelyrare (e.g.eas tern Fran ce, southe rn Germany, Boh em ia, southe rn
M oravia,no rthe rn Austria),M ullerKarpe'sautho rity
led to the persistance ofthe (incorrect) equa tion of


H a B3 with Villanova 11. In those region s which did

not belong to the late U rnfield cultural zon e, only
rarel y had HaB3metalwork ,buthad relati vely close
links with Italy (e.g. mu ch of the wester Balkans), it
was, by contrast, often quite obvious which ph ases
sho uld be equated with Villan ova 11 but now such
ph ases were often lab elled " Ha B3" because, on the
au tho rity of MullerKa rpe, H a B3 belonged to the
8th ce ntury BC .This uncritical application of M ullerKa rpe's chro nologica l system mean s that ca utio n is
required when dealingwith p hases which have in the
past bee n labelled " Ha B3". T his term has been used
in two ways: as a typological assemblage (pins with
smallvaseshaped head s,casthilted swords ofM origen,Auve rnier,Ta chlovice,WeltenburgandTarqui nia
types, ribbeddecorati on etc.),and asa phaseeq uated
with the 8th cent ury BC and Villanova 11. Only the

Table Il. C hro nological scheme for the circu m alpine regions.

















Br. f.


Nynice I









Nynice 11



I.The typical middle and recent Urnfield burial rite, with itsapparent relucta nce to give expression to difTe re nces in weal th or
to hig h social standing(soca lled " Id eology ofDenial"), must in tu rn p resumablybe related in someway to the simil ar rit es
in Pro rovilla nov a n Italy and contemporarySub myccn aean and
Pro togeometric Greece.
2. Romisch-Germanische Forschungen 22 (1959).
3.See , for example, U . Ru ofT, Zur Frage der Kontinuitat zwischen
Bronze- undEismreit in der Sduoei; (1974)Anhang Il . A.Jocke nhovel, Die Rasiermesserin Mitteleuropa. Prahist, Bronzefunde V IfI I
I(1971) nf. M.K.H. Eggen , Die Umenfeiderkultur in Rhnnhessen.
Ges chic ht liche Landeskunde 13 (1976)87fT.


























Acta Archaeologica

Whil e M uller-Karpe's " Beitrage" set the framework
for research since 1959, it is only relatively recently
that a new development began to revolutionise Late
Bronze Age studies: dendroch ro no logy. While it is
true that in the fut ure chronology will be based on
tree-rin gs, it is to the credi t of M uller-K arp e, and subseq uent scho la rs working on chrono logica l th em es,
that previou s work has by no means been render ed
ob selete. In fact, m uch previous wo rk ca n be reco nciled with th e new abso lute dat es.
This is not th e place for a det a iled review of den drochrono logical resea rch o n th e Lat e Bronze Age .
An autho rita tive accou nt has been published by V.
Rychner, which forms the basis for the following bri ef
commentary (4). A numb er of lake-side settleme nts,
particular ly H auterive-Charnpreveyres, G reifenseeBosch en a nd Zurich-C rofier H a fner, show with cla rity tha t the process of transition from the middle (H a
A2) to th e rece nt Urnfield period (H a B I) alread y began arou nd the mid 11th century BC (the associat ed

dendrodat es are distributed betw een 1055 and 1037

BC). Fully developed complexes of the recent Umfield peri od a re known , for exa mp le, from CortaillodEst (10 I0-955 BC), Zurich-G rofle r H afner, Stratum
2 (995 BC), C he ns-sur -Leman, " ensemble stratigraphiqu e 2" (10 17- 965 BC) and C halo n-sur -Saone " Le
Gu e des Piles" (980- 956 BC). Cortaillod-Es t is rega rde d as particularly cha rac teristic of fully develo ped
H a B I ; th e analysis of 2000 oak posts allowed a reliabl e dat ing of the sett lem en t to a 55 -year period be tween 10 10 and 955 BC . The settlement of Le
Landeron owes its particula r impo rtan ce to th e fact
that it be longs to a very de velop ed stage of H a B I ,
a nd is closely dated (96 1- 95 7 BC). T he transition
from the recen t to the lat e U rnfield period can be
dat ed to the time between the mid a nd lat e 10th century BC . Set tlem ents such as C hind rieux-C ha tillon,
Lac du Bourget (906- 8 14 BC) a nd C he ns-sur-Le rna n
"ensem b le stratigraphiq ue I " (905 BC) show th at the
lat e Urnfield period had already sta rted by the end of
th e l Oth century; according to A. Bocqu et, a da te for

Table Ill. Chronological scheme for south-east Centr al Europe.


E.Hungary Transytvanla VoMldlna ,




Molda vle






BalegiS 11





Te188C I



(Bosu lllia)


Bobedag 11





Teleec 11











Relative Chronology


beginning of Bronze final IIIb in Savoie by

Mound 93 7 BC is likely. Judging from this evidence,
'.:C can therefore estima te tha t th e transition from the
recent to the late U rnficld period was happening
o und 930-920 BC - but it is impossible to be more
precise because well dat ed sites from the second half
of the l Orh century are still lackin g. The latest dated
L"mfi eld lake-side settlement, Chindrieux-Chatillon,
with tree-ring dates reaching down to 814 BC, shows
hat the C rnfield period certa inly lasted till the end
rthe 9th cent ury BC.
This short resum e obviously does not reflect the
omplexiry of the typological de velopments in the
north-west Alpin e lake-side settlem ents. In fact, the
dendrochronological dates have shown clearly that
changes were gra d ua l - without the sharp phasetransitions generat ed by traditional chronological research. Itisalso importantto note thatdevelopments
are even visible within individual phases. Thisiscertainly true for Ha B3, asvarious authors have recognised (5). Most treering dat ed lakeside settlements
were abandoned aro und the middle ofthe 9th century BC (e.g. Auv ernierNord, UnteruhldingenStollenwiesen,Hagn auBurgetc .).Findsfrom some settlementswhi ch hav enot ye tbeen dendrochronologically
datedseem to hav e a m ore developed characterthan
those known from th e dated sites of the first halfof
the 9th century BC (seeTa ble Il ).
\ Vhile such late H a B3 settlements, together with
ChindrieuxCh atillon , sugges t that the late U rnfield
period continued through the second halfofthe 9th
century, a recentl y published dendrochronological

date from Weh ring cn " H exenbergle" tumulu s8 (estimatedat 778=5 BC)makesitlikely thatthe Hallstatt
period sta rte d ea rly in the 8th century (6). The dendrodat e for this grave correspondsperfectlywith the
8thcenturydatesuggested forWehringenandaseries
of oth er gr aveswith Gundlingen swords, which have
been assign ed to an early Ha C phase, before the
app earance offull H a C (7). The existence of the
early HaC ph asefirstbecameapparentfrom analysis
of wagongr aves. T he typi cal wagongravesof full Ha
C contain iron wagon fittings, iron Mindelheim
swords,developedehapes (K ossack'stype B),rich sets
of horsegear and servi ces ofpottery and bronze vessels. Gundlingen swo rds, which are mostl y made of
bronze, hardlyever occurin wago ngraves.Theonly
exception is the treeringdated grave from Wehringen , with co mpletely different wagon fittings made of
bronze. D etailed analysis of the associations of
Gundlingen swords and 'A'chapes led to the recognition of further types ofbronze artefact which seem
typical of ea rly H allstatt C, for exampleshort bronze
hors ebit s without endrings (typ es AC) and lrapezoidal razors.
The swordgraves of early HaC are generally not
richly furnish ed with metallic grave goods and, for
this rea son ,pottery ismostimportantfor chronologicalpurposes.Thissubjectiscomplex, andonly a few
examples ofthe varied regional styles of early HaC
pottery can be reviewed here.
In eastern France it is instructive to compare a
selection of pottery from the lakeside settlement of
ChindrieuxChatillon , La c du Bourget, which has

l, V. Rychn er, Stand und Aufgaben dendrochronologischer For-

en zur H allstattz eit. Bayensche Vorgeschichtsbldtter 60, 1995, 289ff.;

see particu larly p. 300: " Die H olzer der Grabkammer und die
H olzerdesWagen ssind allezeitgleich, wahrscheinlich stammen
H olzer der Kanuner und des Wagen s soga r au s ein und
demselbe n Baum".
7.C .F.E. Pare, Wagenbeschlage der Bad Hombu rgGruppe und
die kulturgeschichtliche SteUung des hallstattzeitlich en Wagengrabes von Wehringen, Kr. Augsburg. Archiiologisches Korrespondenzblatt 17, 1987,
Ibid., Swords, Wagon-Graves and the
Beginning ofthe Early Iron Age in Central Europe. Klein e Schr iften
aus dem Vorgeschichtlichen Seminar.Marburg 37 (199 1). In
this ar ticle, th e term 'fuJl Ha C ' is used instead of H a C l . In
my view,useofthe tenusHaCl andHa C2 caus esco nfusion espec ially considering the pre sent unc ertai nty abou t the transition from H a C to HaD.

schung zur U rn enfelderzeit. In : P.Schau er (ed .)Beurage eur Urnerfelderzei: nordlich und sudlich der Alpen. RomischGermanisches
Zentralmu seu m , Monograph ien 35 (1995)455ff. See also the
article by V. Rychner in th ese proceedings.
5. Rychner (no te 4) 484 . M . Primas, Stand und Aufgaben der
Urnenfeld erforsch ung in de r Schweiz. In: P. Schauer(ed.) Beitrage eur Umerfetdereeit nordlich und sudlich der Alpen. RomischC erma nisch es Zentralmuseum , Monographien 35 (1995) 213f.
6.H . H enni g, Zu r Frage der Datierung des Grabhugels 8 "Hexen bergle" von Weh ringen ,Lkr,Augsburg,BayerischSchwab en.
In: B. Schrn idSikimic and P. D clla Casa (eds) Trans Europam,
Fo tYdzrift ftr Margarita Primes. Anti quitas , Rcihe 3, Band 34
[9 95) 129ff. M .Friedricha nd H .H ennig,D cnd roch ron ologische Un tersuc hung d er H olzer d es haUstatt zeitlichen Wagengrabes8a usWehringen ,Lkr.Augsburg und andereAbsolutdat-


Acta Archaeologica

pr ovided th e latest U rnfield tre e-ling dates (Fig. I) (8),

with pottery of the ea rliest H allsta tt phase from find s
suc h as the cooking-pit from Sinzelles-Caramo ntron,
D ep . H aute-Loire (associa ted with an 'A'-type cha pe
fragme nt) (9) a nd Chaveria, Dep. Jura, tumuli 4, 9
a nd 16 (10) (Fig. 2). Altho ugh the ea rly Hallstatt pottery ca n be distinguished by a preference for more
depressed(lower and wider)form s, the close relationship to its late Urnfield forer unners is unmistakable.
From the upper levelsof ChindrieuxChatillon come
sherds with rich painted decoration, a fashion which
increased in popularity in the later p art ofHa B3,
and which remained po pular in ea rly H allstatt (e.g.
Fig. 1,45, 79).
Rich painted decoration iseven more prevalent at
th e end of the Bron ze Age in th e region between
north east Switzerlandand the Breisgau (1 1). T he lat e
Urnfield graves from eastern Switzerland (especially
O ssingen) reflect th e develop me nt within H a B3
noted in the lakeside settlements, involving amo ng
other thin gsan increasing use ofblacka nd red paint
on pottery (compa re Fig. 3, 1 8 with Fig. 3, 924).
This reaches a climax in early H a C, when graves
such as Hemishofen tumulus X (12) and Endingen
(13)include vessels with comp lex geometric painted
ornamentation (Fig. 4ab). Apa rt from the trapezoidal razor from Endingen , it is also worth mentioning the pin from H emi shofen (Fig. 4b, 5),which
can be related to exam ples from the Bologna region,

wh er e th ey are typicalof the first half of the 8th century BC (Bologn a HA;compa re Fig. 7, column 3).
Earl yH aC potteryfromth eareaoftheAlbH egau
cultural group (centred on southe rn Wurtternb erg
and Bava rian Swabia) bears a compa ra ble rich geomet ric decorati on. H ere, however, the pain ting is
suppleme nted , or ra ther dominat ed , by a wholesale
ado ptio n of incised linea r and 'Ke rbschnitt' decoration. Examples are illustrat ed on Fig. 5 from three
graves with G undlinge n swords: MunsingenDottingen tu mulus II (14), Tannheim tumulus 22 (15) and
Unterstall tumu lus 13 (16).Themostimportantea rly
AlbHegau style potte ry ensemble is doubtless that
from the wagongrave from Wehringen "Hexenbergle" (Fig. 6a b). In these early Ha C examples, the
pottery is easily distinguishable from th at offull H a
C; in the latt er phase, new decorative elements are
found, such as hat ched trian glesand bundles ofpara1lellin esseparatingalternating plain fieldsofblackand
red paint. A goo d example ofa set offull H a C po ttery comes from D au tm ergen tumulus I , dated by
dendroch ron ology to 66 7 10 BC (17). T he most
characteristic set ofea rly Ha C pott ery vessels from
Lower Bavari a comes from Steinkirchen tum ulus I ,
again associated with a Gundlingen sword and 'A'chape, but this remainslargely unpublished (18).Anothe r typical tum ulus ofearlyHaC wasexca vated in
1909 at WolfsbachHaiderhausl(19).
It ispossible to trace the existence of the ea rly H a

8. Y. Billaud,A. Marguetand O .Simo nin,Chi ndrieux, Chatillon

(Lac du Bourget, Savo ie), ultirne occupation des lacs alpins
Irancais aI'Agedu Bronze?In:Archiologie et Enmronment des Milieux Aquatiques, Actes du 116e Congres National des Sociites Sauantes,
Chambiry 1991 (1992) 22 7 3 10.
9. J Vital, Un fourdepotoir du VIIIe/VIIe siecle av.J C . a SinzellesCar arnantron (commune de Polignac, Haut eLoirc). Revue Ardziologique du Centre de !J. France 27, 1988,4360.
10.D .Vuaillat, La nicropole tumulaire de Chaoena !Jura). AnnalesLitterai resde l'U niversite de Besancon 189(19 77).
11. See for example O ssingen, Kt. Zuri ch: R uoff (note 3) pI. 1 8. Oundlingen and Ihringen, K r,BreisgauH ochschwarzwald: W.
Kimmig, Die Umerfeldetkultur in Baden. RomischGermanische
Forschungen 14(1940).
12. \NU. Guy an,Das Grabhiigelfeld im Sankert beiHemishofen. Schriften des Institutes fur Ur und Fruh geschichtc del' Schweiz 8
(1951) 32; 33, fig. 13,X . T hese finds are in the Schweizerisches Landesmuseum, Zu rich (I nv. No.
auth or would like to tha nk Dr R. Dege n for his help while
drawi ng the original objects.

13. Badische Fundberichie 18, 1948 1950, 243 246;pI.43.

14.H. Zurn, Hallstattreuiiche Grabfunde in Wuttiemberg und Hohenrol1171 . Forschunge n und Berich te zur Vor und Fruhge schichte
in Bade nWur ttemb erg 25 (1987) 143; pI. 263, D ; 266 , C; 267.
15.M. Geyr von Schweppe nb urg an d P. Goessler, Hiigelgrtiber im
Illertal bei Tannheim (1910)pI.89. P.Schaucr, Die Schu erter in
Suddeutschland, Osteneid: und der Schueie; I. Prahistorische
Bronzefunde IV/ 2(197 1)200; pI.99, 632 ; 124,9.
16.G . Kossack, Sudbayem uidhrend der Hallstattreit. RomischGermanische Forsch ungen 24 (1959) pI. 42, 17 20. A. J ockenhbvel (note 3)240, no. 575 .
17.H . Reim, H allstattfo rschu ngen im Vorland del'Schwabischen
Alb bei Balingen, Zollern albkreis(Badc nWurtternbe rg). Kolner
J ahrbuch flir Vor- und Fruhgeschichte 23, 1990, 721fT.; figs69 . M . Friedrich and H. Hennig(note 6)291.
18.A few of the finds are illustrat ed by G . Kossack (note 16)pI.
19.G. Kossack (note 16)pI. 126, 1 3.615 (the iron spear head
proba blyca me from a second a rygrav e).


Relative Chronology




Fig. I. Sele ction offinds from Ch indr ieuxCh arillou, Lac d u BOUl'gCI , Savoi e (after Billa ud et al., see note 8): Black:graphite pain t, stipp le:
red paint. Scale: bronze=2 : 3, po trery vca . I :3.


Acta Archaeologica


\ i




0" J /



,' ,i

.. .

Fig. 2. Selection of finds from ea rly Hallstatt complexes in central and eastern France: A: Sinzelles-Ca rama nt ron, Dep, Haute-Loire (after
Vital, see note 9). B- D: C havcria, Dep.jura (after Vuaillat, see note 10). B: tumu lus 9. C : turnulus 16. D: turnulus 4. AI, BI -6, Cl , DJ:
bro nze, C2: bronze and boar's tusk, otherwi se pottery. - Scale: A 1- 2= I : 2, othe rwise I: 4.


Relative Chronology




Fig. 3 . Selectio n of pott ery finds from O ssingen, Canton Zurich (a fter R uolT, sec note 11): I: tumulus 13b ; 2, S: turnulu s 7; 3, 4 , 8 : rum ulu s
4; 6,7 : tu mu lus S; 9- IS: tum ulus 12; 16-20: tu rnulus 8; 2 1-2 4 : tum ulus 6. H orizo ntal shading: gr aph ite paint, ligh t stipple: red paint. Scale I : 6.

Acta Archaeologica


Fig. 4a . Finds from Hem ishofen , C ant on Scha fTha uscn, tumulus X : Pott ery. Dark stipp ling: graphi te pai nt, light stippling: red pain t. - Scale
1: 4.



Relative Chronology



Fig. 4b (to the left). Finds from Hemishofen, Canto n Schaffhausen, tumulus X (continued): 4: bronze with an iron core , 5: bronze, ot herwis e
pottery. - Dark stipple: graphite paint. - Scale: pottery= I : 3, metal s= I : 2.
Fig. 5. Selection of finds from early Ha C graves with Alb-Hegau pottery : I, 7, 9, 10: Mun singen-D ou ingen, Kr. Reutlingcn , tumulus Il
(after Zurn, see note 14). 2, 6: Unt erstall, Kr. Neuburg a .d. Donau , tumulus 13 (after Kossack, J ockenh ovel, see note 16). 3-5, 8, 11, 12:
Tannheim, Kr. Biberach, turnulu s 22 (after Geyr and Goessler, see note 15). 1-2: Bronze, otherwise pottery. - Scale: 2= I : 3, otherwise I : 6.

Acta Archaeologica


Fig. 6a. Selection of finds from Wchringen, Lkr. Augsburg, "Hexenbergle", tumuJus 8 (after Hennig, see note 6): 1-2: bronze, 4: gold,
otherwise pottery. - Dark stipple: graphile paint. light stipple: red paint. - Scale 1:4.

Relative Chronology


.. _ -- - =j


Fig. 6b . Selec tion of finds from Wehringen , Lkr. Augsbu rg, " H exc n bc rgle" , tum u lus 8 (afte r Hen nig, see not e 6): Pott ery. D a rk stip ple:
gr aphite pain t, light stip ple: red paint. - Scale I :4.

C ph ase over a la rge part of the West H allstatt zone .

But despit e conce rted attempts it rem ain s tr ue that
the nu mber of graves which can be allocat ed to early
H a C remains small in compa rison with those of late
U rnfield and full H a C . A number of reason s may be
put forward to exp lain this:
I) Early H a C po tte ry gene rally has a well defined
character, easily distinguishable from la te Urnfield
and full H a C wares ; this sure ly indicates a phase of
considerable dura tion. But we do no t know the pre cise length of tim e occ upied by earl y H a C , and it
mayha vebeen shorterthanthe precedi ngan dfollowing phases. The transition from early to full H a C
should approxima tely be equated with the Villan ova
II/III and Este II/III transition (ca. 720 BC), as numerouslinksbe twee nItalyandCe ntralEurop einfull
H a C indica te(forexa mplehorsegear,pin swith'Faltenwehr ' etc.).Aswe do not know preciselywhen the
Bron ze Age / Iro n Age tran sition occ ur red , it follows
20.See, for examp le, the catalogueofGundl ingcn swo rds in so uth
G erman y,Austria and Switzerland:P. Schau e r (no te 15) 198fT.
(Steinkirc hen, M uschenheim , Lengenl eld a nd Weichering
typ es).
2 1.A revie wofflat cre m a tion graves in southern Germany isprovid ed by W Loh lcin , Fruheisen zei tlich e G raber von Andelfingen , G de. Lange nenslingen, Kreis Bibcrach. Fundberichte aus
Baden- Wiirltembag 20 , 1995, 46 3; see pa rti cul arl y the exa m ples

that early H a C may have lasted considerably less

than 80 years.
2)Early Ha C graves may have been less obviously
noticeable to ea rly excavators. Indeed, it is rem ark-
able how man y Gundlingen swords lack well docu-
mented associa ted finds(20). This may be expl ained
by the relative simp licity of the grave furni shin gs -
mainly consisting of pottery vessels, with few metal
3)Only a sma ll sectionof society was bu ried in tu mu-
Ius graves; the majo rity may, for exa mple, have been
crema ted and b uried in flat graves (near the tu mul i?)
with hardlyany furni shings (2 1).
Any ofthese exp lanationscould be valid, anda com-
bination of all th ree factors would accou nt for the
paucity of welldocum ent ed finds.
Owing to the pre sent state of resear ch and publication, it happens to be more easy to construct
chro no logical seque nces for the region stretc hing
from Bopfinge nT roch telfingen , Grol3eibstadt a nd K allmunzSchi rndo rf. A Bohemia n exa m ple of a cemete ry with richer
in h umat io ns in grave cha m bers (o riginally un de r tum uli?) a nd
poorer flat cre mati on gra ves isdescribed by D . Koutecky an d
Z. Smrz, P ohrebiste Byla nskc Kultury v Polakach , okr. C homutov, I. Di \. Pamatky Archeologicke 82, 199 1, 166fT. (see esp eciall y 168, fig. 2).


Acta Archaeologica

from the north-west Alpine lake-side settlements,

through southern Bad en-Wurtternberg and southern
Bavaria. But finds from sites further to th e north , such
as Schirn dorf (22), Demmelsdorf (23), Mu schenh eim
(24) etc., show that an ea rly H allstatt ph ase is also to
be expec ted in othe r region al gro ups. H owever, it
sho uld alrea dy be apparent that the po ttery of early
H a C vari es quite markedly from region to region .
This means that much work remains to be don e on
local pottery styles, to apply and test the new chronological system in areas which are today less susceptible to analysis.
In summary, it deserves to be emphasised that the
two major H a B ph ases recog nised by MullerKarpe Ha B I and H a B3 have survive d the test of
time more or lessun scathed .HaB2 isno ta ph ase of
general relevance: it is only recognisable in cer tain
regional groups, where itca n be understood asa mome nt oftransition to the lat e Urnfi eld period . The
recent Urnfi eld period started only a few decades
ea rlier, the lat e Urnfield period , by co ntras t, a full
1201 50 years earlier than appar ent in 1959, before
the applicationofde ndrochronology.The8th century
acco mmodatestheea rlyHallstattphase,which isfollowed in the late 8th and 7th century by the richer
finds ofthe fullH a C ph ase (see Table Il).

In the following paragraphs, I wiU a ttempt to sketch
out schem atically how the lat e U rnfieldearly
H allstatt sequence,describedabo ve,can be relate d to
developments at the Bron ze Age/Iron Age tran sition
22.R. Hughes, Archaologische Untersuchu ngen zum Ub ergang
vonder Bronze zur Eisenzeit in Schimd orf, Lkr. Regen sburg .
In: P.Schauer (ed.)Archaologische Untersuchungen zum Ubergang oon
der Bronze- eur Eisenzei: no ischen Nordsee und Kaukusus. Regensburger
Beitriige eur Prahistonschen Archiiologie I (1994) 141 If.
23.P.Etrel,ZumUbergang von de rspate nUrnenfelder zur alteren H allstat tzeit in Oberfrank en. In : P. Schau er (note 22) I65If.
24.H . Polenz , Gcratoder WaJfe? Fundbenchte aus Hessen 15, 1975,
25.Theauthorwishesto use thisopportunity to expr esshisgratitude to the R ornisch Germa nisches Zen tralm useum (and especia lly K. Weidemann a nd M. Egg), where he was a ble to
work intensivelyon thissubjec t.T he resear ch proj ectwassupporte d by a gra nt from the Deutsche Forschu ngsgerneinsch aft.
26.S. StegmannRajtar, Sparbronze und fruheisenzeitliche
Fundgruppe n desmittleren Do na ugebietes. Beridu der RomischGermanischen Kommission 73, 1992,29Jf. C.M etzner Ncbelsick,

In other areas of Central and southern Eu rop e.

Wh ereas the former sequ ence is based around dendrochronology, the oth er areas lack the benefits of
treering datin g; the only other me thod presentl y
avai lable to gain absolute da tes is by linkage to the
Aegaean Protogeom etric and Geo metric po ttery
ch ronology. A full treatment of this subject is being
prepar ed for publication in theJahrbuch des R omischGermani schen Zentralmuseum (25), but an introdu ction tochronologyatth eBro nzeAge/IronAge
tran sition can be gaine d from recent publi cati on s by
S. Steg ma nnRaj ta r, C . M etznerNebelsick and B.
Terzan (26). An impression of th e suggested correlation ofthe results of region al chronological studies
ca n be gained from TablesIIll.


In centralItaly,thestartofth eIronAge hastrad ition allybee nsetat900 BC .H owever,there are no absolute dates availab le for the Protovillan ova/Villan ova
tran sition , and 900 BC has always bee n understood
as an estima te. In recent work, Italian scholars hav e
sought to date the start oftheir Early Iron Age by
linkin g it to the treering datesof the northwest Alpinelakesidesettlem ents.M. Bettelli(27)hasput forward a surprisingly high chronology ofthe Italian
Ir on Age, but this is founded partl y on L. Sperber's
rather misleading use of the term H a B2, andpartly
on incorr ect dendrodates from the eastern Mediterran ean (28).Whereasin 1989(29)and 1990(30)Italian scholars stilladhered to the estima ted date of 900
Die fruhciscnzcitlicheTrensen entwicklungzwischen K aukasus
urrdMittcleuropa.In :P.Schau er(no te 22)3831f. B.Terzan,
The Eariy Iron Age in Slooenian Styria. Kat. in Monogr. 25
(1990). See alsothe Regen sburgco nference proceedings edited by P.Scha ue r(note 22).
27. M. Bettelli, La cronologia del1a prima eta del ferro Laziale
a ttraversoida tidel1e sepolture.Papers if the British School at Rome
62, 1994,49 If.
28.The socal1 ed "Midas tomb" from Gordion is now dated
around 718 BC instead of 757 BC , see D aily Teleg raph
3.7.1996, 18.
29.R .Peroni, Protostona dell 'Italia continentale. La penisola italiana nelle
el.adelbronze e delferro. PopolieCivilta dell' ItaliaAntica9(1989)
30. C .Belardelli, C . Giardino and A. Malizia, L'Europa a sud e a
nord delle Alpi alle soglie della suolta protourbana (1990)459,fig. 125.

Relative Chronology




i T









Fig. 7. O ccurrence of selected pin types in Ear ly Iron Age graves from Bologna and its Hin terland (pha ses lA , lB , HA, lI B). Pins after C .L.
Carancini , Die Nadeln in ltalien. Prahist. Bronzefunde IX/ 12 (1984). - Not to scale.

BC, R. Peroni now sets the start of Golasecca IA,

Este I, Bologna I etc. at ca. I020 BC. It seems that
the root of this chan ge is again to be sought in the
stubborn belief of Italian scholars in Muller-Karpe's
H a B2 phase . In fact, the best available means of dating Iron Age I in central and northern Italy isby its
linkswithfindsofthelateUrnfieldperiod(H aB2/3).
Asan exampleofthis,I willtake the pins with small
vaseshaped head s(31).These are very typical ofHa
B2/ 3and are found in a seriesofgravesaroundBologna, dating ma inly to Bologna I (Fig. 7, column I).
In ph ases IB and IIA a local Bolognese variant was
developed, having head swith more complex ribbin g
(Fig. 7, column 2).Judging from the former pins, it
seemsj ustified to link Bologna I with H a B2/ 3 (ca.
950/920 ca.800BC);BolognaIIAwouldthencorrespond with earlyH a C north oftheAlp s as thepin

with conical head ofBolognese type from Hemishofen would suggest (compare Fig. 4b, 5 with Fig. 7,
column 3;seealsoTablesI and11).
In the 8th century, Italian chronology beco mes
much more reliable. The ph ases of north Italy and
Picenum can be linked to chro nologicalsequencesat
sites with imp orted Geo me tric pottery, such as Veii
" Q uattro Fontanili", which has been analysed byJ.
Toms (32). The state of research on absolute chronologyhasrecentlybeen summarisedbyB.d' Agostino,
in the frame work ofthe Pon tecagnan o publication
(33)(Table I).Absolute dates for Villanova 11 are on
the one hand gained from the earliest precolonial
Euboean imp orts (e.g. from Veil " Q uattro Font anili" :
Middl e Geometric 11 chevron skyphoi), on the other
hand by compa rison with finds from the horizon of
the first Gree k settlementsin the west (Pithekoussai,

3 1. Also d iscussed by M . Bettelli(note 27).

32.T he relative chronology o f the Villanova n ceme tery of Q ua ttro
Fon ta nilia t Veii.Annali, Sezione di Archeologia e StoriaAntica (Na-

poli)8, 1986,41ff.
33.In : S. De Na talc (cd .) Pontecagnano II. La necropoli di S. Antol/io:
Propr. Eel. 2. Tombe della Prima Eta del Ferro (1992)3943 .


Acta Archaeologica

Cumae - Late Geometric I). Following this the

earliest Orientalising phase (e.g. Veii IIC/IIIA, Pontecagnano IIBOrientalizzante Antico I) isparalleled
with the time of the "second generation" of Greek
colonies (early Protocorinthian pottery). Whereas the
laterVillanovaperiodin centralItaly isfairlysecurely
anchored by Greekimports, such closelinks with the
eastern Mediterranean were lacking in Villa nova I.
The generally accepted date for the transition from
Villanova I to 11 (800 BC) must therefore be understood as an estimate.


For the chronology of the Golasecca culture, the

works ofR. De Marinis are fundamental (34). The
published finds are still too few to construct a fine
chronological sequence for this group, and both the
relative andthe absolutechronologyare basedlargely
on comparison with the more secure sequences from
Bologna and Este (Table I).
Since the work ofR. Peroni and his team on Este
(35), there have been important new publications
which demand a reappraisal of their chronological
schemefor theVeneto.Apartfrom editionsofimportant cemeteries (36), studies of multiple burial are
worth special mention, leading to the presentation of
a new chronology for the 8th to 5thcenturies BC by
34. For exampleR. De Marinis, Note relative alia cronologiadeIJa
cultura di Golasecca. Rassegna Gallaratese di Storia e d'Arie 29,
1970, 333. Ibid., La necropoli della Ca' Morta alia luce
delle ultime scoperte. In: Eta del Ferro a Como, exhibition catalogue, Como 1978, 6592. Ibid., La tomba 289 della Ca'Moria e l'inizio dell'eta del ferro nelle necropoli dei dintorni
di Como. In: B. SchrnidSikirnic and P. Della Casa (note 6)
35. R. Peroni, G.L. Carancini, P. Coreiti Irdi, L. Ponzi Bonomi,
A Rallo, P. Saronio Masolo and ER. Serra Ridgway, Studi
sulla cronologi.a delle cunlta di Este e Golasecca (1975) 21ff.
36. E.g. AM. Chieco Bianchi and L. Calzavura Capuis, Este 1.
Monumenti Antichi 51, Ser, Monogr. 2 (1985). Note the
important discussions ofchronology in this book.
37. G. Bergonzi, A Boiardi, P. Pascucci and T. Renzi, Corredi
funebri e gruppisociali ad Este e S. Lucia. In: R. Peroni (ed.),
Necropoli e usifunerari nell'ela delferro (1981) 95ff. A. Vanzetti,
Lesepolturea incinerazioneapiu deposizioni nella protostoria
dell'Italia nordorientale. Rioista di Scienee Preistonche 44, 1992,
115fT. Vanzetri's new chronology is, however, flawed with
some graves clearly wrongly dated (Ricovero gTave 154, for

A. Vanzetti (37). The most important new developments, however, have occurred in the early part of
the Venetic sequence. Apart from the increasing
numbersoffinds from Este I(38),the most important
discoveries are without doubt the settlement and
graves from Frattesina nearFratta Polesine (39).The
grave finds found northwest of the settlementin loco
Narde play a key role for chronological studies. The
excavation of a tumulus uncovered well over 550
simple urn graves. Duringthe useofthe tumulus, the
moundwas enlargedseveraltimes, allowingthe excavator, L. Salzani, to assign the graves to five layers.
Apart from the tumulus in loco Narde, there is another cemetery eastsoutheast of the settlement in
Fondo Zanotto, with finds which are slightly later.
Taken together, the Narde and Zanotto cemeteries
offer a large number of grave complexes from the
middle Protovillanova phase to the transition to the
EarlyIronAge. Someof the bronzes from the Narde
tumulus find parallels in the Central European Urnfield zone, including pins which are comparable to
examples from Swisslakeside settlements of the mid
11th century BC. The graves from Frattesina therefore allow, for the first time, a secure chronology for
the middle (arched fibulae) and late (serpentine fibulae) Protovillanova phases, and their parallelisation
with the middleandrecentUrnfieldphasesofCentral
example, isassigned to Este Ill).
38. E.g. Garda (Prov. Verona): L. Salzani, La necropoli di Garda
(Verona). Boil. Mus. Civ. St. Nat. Verona 11, 1984, 113ff. Montagnana (Prov. Padova), Ca' Nogare: E. Bianchin Citton and
M. De Min,1/ Museo archeologuo e il lapidario di Montagnana (1990)
20ff. Pra' d'Este (Prov. Padova) and Desmonta (prov.
Verona): 1/ Veneto nell'anticluta (1984) 626f.; 632f. with illustrations. Angarano (Prov. Vicenza): E. Bianchin Citton, 1

reperti della necropoli di San Giorgio di Angarano ne! museo cioico di

Bassano del Grappa (1982).
39. 11 Veneto nell'anuchita (1984) 651ff. IV1. De Min, La necropoli
protovillanoviana di Frattesina di Fratta Polesine (Ro). Padusa
20, 1984, 475fT. (and other articles in Padusa 20). L'Antico
Polesme, teslimonumre archeologiche e paleoambientali. Exhibition
catalogue, Adriaand Rovigo (1986). M. De Min, La necropoli protostorica di Frattesina di Fratta Polesine. In: G.
Bergonzi, AM. Bietti Sestieri and A Cazzella (eds), Prospettue
sumco-antropologiche in archeologia preistonca. OJIaderni di Dialoghi di
Archeologta 3, 1987, 277fT. L. Salzani, Necropoli dell'Eta del
BronzoFinalealleNardediFrattaPolcsine. Primanota. Padusa
25, 1989, 5ff. AM. Bietti Sestieri, La campagna di scavo

Relative Chronology




Wher eas th e Este group plays a crucial ro le in the

ch ro no logy of the south-east Alpine region, this function asa ch ro nological link to C entral It aly is played
by Picenum for the easternsho re ofthe Ad ria tic Sea.
Sa dly, a site like Frattesina,whi ch co uld provide evidence of developments during the Protovillanova
peri od , is not availa ble for Picenum. For the find s
from the ce me tery ofPian ello, with over 500 grave s
excavated in 191 2, d ocu men ta tion on the gravegro ups has not survived, which renders th em almost
worthl ess forch ro nologicalpurposes(40).Itisonly in
the Early I ron Age that we have Picene finds from
many close d grave assemblages. Althou gh the number ofgraves(some ofwhi ch are u rn graves)from the
first Earl y Iron Age phase (Picen um I)islimited , they
form a clear group which ca n be pa ra lleled with
Villan ova I(4 1).For Picenum11 thefinds fromNovilara, locat ed on th e northern fring e ofthe Picen e regio n,p rovid ea reliablechro no logic alfou ndatio n (42).
Novila ra I (Picen um I1A) can be linked to Bologna
IIA, a nd N ovilara 11 (Picenum lIB) ca n clearly be
eq uated with BolognalIBandEsteII C; thefollowing
p ha se Novilara IlIA is contemporary with the oldest
Orien talizing period. From the 9th ce n tury BC onwa rds, therefore, the finds ofth e Picen e gro up, with
its close con nec tio ns to the Villanova and Ven etic
gro ups, provid e a relia ble chrono logical framework
for related find s furtherto the eas t (Ta ble I).

Becau seof the relatively sma ll nu m ber of close d grave

asse mblages fro m the socall ed Dalmatian , Liburnian
and Iap odic cultur al groups, co ntacts wit h Italy offer
a welcome aid in their relative and absolute chronology. In coas ta l Croatia bron zes of Italic and especially Picen e typ e are associat ed with local objects

1989 ne ll'abitato protosto rico di Frattesina d i Fratta Polesine.

Qyademi di Archeologia del Veneto 6, 1990,64ff. L. Salza n i,Neeropolid ell'Etadel BronzoFin ale alle N a rde di Frat ta Polesine.
199091, 125iT.
Seco nda no ta. Padusa
40.R . Per oni , D a ti di scavo sui sepolcret o di Pia ne llo di Genga.
Arch. An;:eiger 1963, Heft 3,362iT. The resultso fthe laterexcava tio ns rem ain unpublishe d .

4 1. The most impo rtant treatm e nt of find s of Picenum I is still

D .G . Lo llin i, To mba a d incinera zio ne da lla necropo li d i Numa na. At del primo simposio mtemarionaledi protostoria italiana, Orvielo
42. K. Bcinhauer, Untersuchungen all den eisenzeiuichen BeJlllllungJpliil;:en uon Nooilara (1985).
43.The close relations between the variou s cul tural groups we st
a nd east o fthe Adriaticare well docum ent ed in the literature.
As a n example we may tak e the cr emation burials in urn
gra ves of the l apodic regio n, wh ich sho w rem a r kab le similarity

R .
with Picene cremat ions e.g. K ompolj e gra ve

DrechslerBizic, VjeSTlik Arlzeolofkog lv1u::.ej a u Zagrebu 3, 1961,

67iT.; pI. 26.

A deta iled discussion of th e chronology of this region isnotpossible here. H owever, the broad ou tlines
ofthe seque nce have been desc ribe d in a number of
important stud ies by S.Bat ovic (44).


Since the fundamen tal studies by A. Benac and B.

Co vit (45),th emostimport antresultsfor the development ofthe ch ro no logy of the G lasinac group have
been published by N . Lu centini (46). Lucentini was
able to p ut forwa rd a cleard efinition ofG lasinac IB,
wh ich correspo nds ro ughly wit h Ben ac and Covit's
p hase IVA. Although she did no t discuss phase lAin
d etail, it is possible to recognise a series of graves
(mainly of Benac and C ovit's p hase I1IC2) whi ch
clea rly p red ate IB, have close link s with phase I of
the Croatia n coast, andca n even be rela ted to Picenurn I (47). Lucentini's Gl asin ac IB ca n, in turn, be
eq ua ted with Earl yI ron Age 11 of coastalCroatiaand
Picenum (see Table I).
44. Fo r exa m ple: S. Bat ovic, Iz ra nog ze ljcznog doba Lib urnije.
Diadora I, 1959, 37fT. Ibid. , Die Eiscnzeit auf d em Gebic t
d es illyrische n Stammes derLib urnen . Archaeologia Iugosiaoica 6,
1965,55ff. Ibid., Prcgled zcljcz nog doba na istocnoj jadranskoj obali. VjeJnik;:a Arheologiju i Hist orij u Dalmatinsku 68, 1966,
47iT. Ibid. , L'Eta del Bro nz o Re cent e sulla costa orientale
d ell'Adriatico. Godifrgak Centar t; Balkanoloska Ispuioanja 18,
1980 ,21ff Ibid. , Da lm a tska kultu ra zeljeznoga d oba. Radovi
Fit. Fak. Zadar 25, 1986, 5fT. Ib id ., Le re la tio ni culturali tra
le spo nde ad riat iche ne ll'etadel ferro.] adramka obala u protohislorij i. Simpo;:ij Dubroomk 1972 (Z ag re b 1976) 2 1fT. Praistonja
]ugoslnvenskilz Zemalja IV (1983)271n.,V (1987)339fT.
45. A. Be na c and B. Covic, Glasinac I (1956). Ibid ., Glasinac II

46.N. Lucen tini, S ulla cronologia d elle necropolidi Gl asinac nell'cra del ferro. In: R. Peroni (ed.), Studi di Protostoria Adnatica 1
47.See, for exa mple, the grave from D rvar: F. Fiala, Wissenschoflliche Mitteilungen aUJ Bosnien und Hercegovina 4, 1896, 170fT. with


Acta Archaeologica


At this point a short digression will be made to consider briefly the contribution of Macedonia to th e
ch ronology of Ce ntral Euro pe. T he imp ort an ce of
Macedoni a for our purposes lies on the one hand in
th e similarity of its bro nze finds with those further
north,and on the other handin th epossibility ofanchorin g Macedonian chronology to the sequence of
Aegaean Protogeom etr icand Geom etricpainted pottery. In fact, th e relative and absolute chronology of
M acedoni a in the ea rly first millennium BC is sadly
still rath er uncertain nevertheless the potential of
Macedoni a for futur eresea rchdeservestobe emphasised.
T he mos t impo rta nt contribution to this subject is
by K. Ki lian (48), who studied th e available gr ave
assembl ages (parti cularly those from Vergina and
Chauchitsa) in det ail. Owing to the pr esent state of
publi cation , it is difficult to evalua te the validity of
some of Kilian's pr op osed ph ases, but for an und erstandi ng ofthe met al finds this isperh aps not absolutely necessary.In fact,the metalli cgravegoods indicate the succession of certain fairly obvious br oad
phases: an ea rly stage with arched fibulae, a second
stage with simplejewellery made ofbronze wire and
bronzeshee t(M acedonia IB,includingarchedfibulae
with a lar ge decorated foot, spectacle fibulae, twisted
neckrings etc.), an d a thi rd stage with cast bronze
j ewellery (M acedonia IIA, including Bouz ek's 'ca noni cal Macedon ian br onzes').
Wh ereas the beginni ng ofph ase IB (Vergina IlIA)
is today assigned to the second half of the 10th centuryBC (49), the dat e of the start ofthe cast 'Macedoni an bronzes' is controversial. In 1975 K . Kilian
suggested a dat earound 700 BC,while].Bouz ek has
48. K. Kil ian , Trachtzu behor der Eisen zeit zwischen Agai s und
Ad ria. Prdhistorische Zeitschrift 50, 1975, 91T.
49 . 1. Kilia nD irlrneier ,DU Schuierterin Gnechenland (alijJerlwlb der Peloponnes), BlilgarienundAlbanien. Pr ahi storisch e Bron zefun de IVI
12 (1993) 124f.: " C on tacts between Vergina an d sou thern
G reece are definitely documented by imports an d local imi tationsof wheelturned potte ry(skyphoi with co ncentriccircles,
semicircles or zigzags in the shou lder field) for the la te lOth
and early 9th ce ntury BC . H oweve r, this datcable pottery appea rs first in bu rials ofthe develope d phase (Ki lian: Vergina
Il IA B)... ".
50. J.Bouzek, CraecoMacedonionBronzes (1974) 1631T. Ibid., Pamf!tky Archeologicke 65, 1974, 3 18, note 39 . Ibid. , Eirene 18, 1982,
351T. Ibid.,Arch. Ephemeris 1988, 471T. See alsoth ediscussion
by C . R oUey, RevueArchiologique 1985, 277ff.

argued for a much ea rlier start, ar ound 800 BC (50),

and the earlier dat ing if not certain does seem
more likely.
It is clea r that the Macedonian chronology is still
beset with serious pr oblem s and this is specially tru e
for the8th century BC .Nevertheless,thegraves published by M . Andronikos from Vergina provide invalua bleinformation forth elate 10th and9thcentu ries (5 1); amo ng these finds, the typical female j ewellery of VerginaIIIABisofmost imp ortan ce.Vergina
shows th at this type of costumeset (52), which is
known over a wide region ofthe westernBalkan peninsula (see Ta bles I and 11: Coastal C roa tia I , G lasinac
lA ,Ljubljan a IB,Ru se11,hoardhorizon Vetc.),must
start as early as the secon d halfof the l Oth century
BC. This horizon of metallic finds islinked, in turn ,
to the Ce ntralEuropean ph ase HaB2/3which remarka bly eno ugh! is similarly dated by dendrochronology.


The ceme tery of Ljub ljan a (53) plays a parti cularly

impo rta nt role for chronological purposes, becau se
clear links can be traced between itsfinds and those
ofnortheast Italy, the western Balkan peninsula and
the Central European lat e U rnfield culture .The importance of this site has been augme nted by anumbe r
ofexcellent studies, espec ially by S. Gabrovec (54).
The relative chronology of the ph ases IB, IIA , lI B
andIlIA is confirmed by horizontalstra tigrap hy.The
relativ ely close netw ork of circumadriatic contacts
allows usto construct a reliable chrono logica lsystem
based on thesequencesofEsteand Picenumas far to
th e northeast asLjubljan a (seeTabl e 11).
51. Vergina I (196 9). Furthe r mat erial from Vergi na is pu blished
in: K. Rhomiopou lou and 1. K ilianD irlm cier,NeueFunde au s
de r eisenzeitlichen H ugclne kropole vo n Vergi na , G riec hisch
M azedonien. PrahistorischeZeitschrift 64, 1989, 86ff
52. For an importa nt discussion of this subj ect, see: B. Terzan, T he
Early Ir on Age chronology ofthe central Balk a ns. Archaeologia
Iugoslaoica 24, 1987, 71T.
53. F. Stare, Ilirskenajdbe Ze/ez,ne dobe v Ljubijani. Dela SAZU I/9
(1954). 1. Pus, ZanwgrobiJena IUkrOPOW na dvoriJlu SAZU v
Ljlibijani. R azp ra ve SAZU V Illi( 19 7 1). Ibi d., Prazgodooinska
Zamo grobiJle vLjubljani. Razprave SAZU X IIII2 (1982). M.
Bu dja , Situla20 2 1, 1980, 85 1T.
54. S. Gabrovec, DerBegin n derH allstattzeitin Slowe nien. Arheoloiki Vestnik24 , 1973, 3381T. Ibid. ,Z um Beginn derH allstattzeit in Slowe nien . In : H . M itschna Marheim , H . Friesinger





Directly to the north of Ljubljan a, we finally reach

the Ce ntral Eu rop ean Urnfield culture, in the guise
of the Ruse gro up of Sloven ian and Austria n Sty ria .
These finds ar e distribu ted in a ca. 50 km section of
the D rave valley betw een Ormoz and Ruse. Since
Mull er-Karpe's study of Ruse (M a ria Rast) (55), a
lar ge number of very import ant grave assemblages
has bee n excavated and publishe d (56). This mor e
favourable database has ren de red Mull er-K arp e's
chronological sche me for Ru se obselete. A reappraisal
of the evide nce allows the recognition of three main
phases : R use I (recent Urn field), Ru se 11 (late U rnfield) and Ru se III (early H a C). The import an ce of
Ruse III for ourpurposesliesin itslinks to Ljubljana
11,indicatingthat the lat e Urnfield period (HaB2/ 3)
belongs before the 8th century BC.
Closed grave assembl agesof th ephasesRuse I a nd
11 are known from Austrian U ppe r Sty ria (Wildo n),
but these have not yet been publi shed. In Ru se Ill,
however, there ar e imp ortan t finds fro m Kl einkJein
(57). C . D obiat, who published a major stud yof these
find s, grouped them together with graves ofthe full
H a C phase (KleinkJein I). Tod ay it is clear th at the
pott ery from the older (R use Ill)graves differsmarkedlyfrom that of the fullH allstatt p eriod(58),sotha t
a division ofKleinkJein I ispossible (Kl einkJein IA=
ea rly H a C; Kl einklein IB= fullH a C).

Thenumerousgrave assemblagesofthe StillfriedPodoligroupfrom LowerAustriaandsouthern M oravia

allowa clea rdefinition ofthe recenta nd la teU rnfield
ph ases (StillfriedPodoli I and 11). These ph ases ca n
withoutdifficul tybe par alleledwithRuseIand11.Itis
more problem a tical to isolate aph ase comparable with
Ruse III (59).H owever,itseems that in the StillfriedPodoli group,asinth eRusegroup,the8thcent.BCis
characterised by the eme rgenceoftumulusburials,at
the same tim e as th e urngrave rite continued in flat
cremation cemeteries .The mo st imp or tan t ea rly H aC
grave assemblages come from the eponymo us cemetery ofStillfried,where a number ofurngravescontain characteristic pottery (distinct from that of
StillfriedPodoli11),togetherwith metal objec tswhich
can be related both to hoard horizon VI a nd grave
findsof Este11 andVillanova11 (60).Itislikewisepossible to isolate a ph ase before the full H allstatt period
amo ng th e tumulusfinds ofthe K alend erberg group.
ThemostimportantsiteisSopron(O denburg),whe re
Patek'sph ases111 and EibnerPersy 'sphase Ibelon g
tothe same chronologicalhorizonastheurngrav esof
StillfriedPodoIi III (see Table11) (6 I).

The cem etery of Nynice still rem am s the most im-

and H.Kerchler(eds),Festschrift fur RichardPiuioni I.Archaeologia

Austriaca, Beiheft 13 (1976) 588fT. See also H. Parzinger,
Chronologie der Spathallstau undFruhlatenezeit. Quelle n und Forschungen zur prahistorischen und provinzialrornischen Archaologie 4(1989)24fT.
55. MullerKarpe (note 2) 115fT.
56.See forexample Brinj eva Gora (\T. Pahic,Arheoloski Vestnik 3940, 198889, 181fT.), Lepa Rav na (B. Te rzan [note 26] pI. 5362), O rrnoz (M . Tomanicjcvremov, Arheoloiki Ves/nik 39-40,
1988 89, 277fT.),Pobrezje (S. Pah ic, Pobreije. Kat. in Monogr,
6, 1972), PtujRabeljcj a vas (NI. Strrncn ikG ulic, Situla 2021,
1980, 61fT. ), Ruse (S. Pahic,Drugo zamogrobiJee v Ruiah. Razprave SAZU IV/3, 1957;]. Kaerner, Arheoloski Vestnik 39- 40,
1988 89, 217fT.).
57.C . Dobiat, Das hallstattreuliche Graberfeld con Kleiaklein und seine
Keramik. Schild von Steier, Beiheft I (1980),e.g. Forstwald 16
and 17,Leitengritschwald45,Ofenmacherwald29,Precklwald
8, 10, 13and 14,Tschoneggerfranzlwald4, Hochsch usterwald
8, 12,and 47etc.
58.ThefullHaC phaseischaracterisedbypotterywithrichblack
and red pain ted decoration, pins with 'Faltenwehr', elements
of'ric h' horsegear etc.
59.The important grav c 169 from BrnoObrany belongs at the
tran sition from the late Urn field to the early Hall statt period:

the large conicalnecked vesselispar alleled inStillfriedPodo li

Il , but the metal objects are relate d to finds from hoard horizon VI in the Carpathian Basin. See S. Stcgma nnRaj rar,
Neuerkenntnisse zum G ra b 169von Bm oO brany (Mah ren).
Hallstatt Kolloquium Veszprem 1984. Mitteilungen des Archaologischen
lnstituts, Beiheft 3(Budapest 1986)211 fT.
60. M.K aus, Das Grabetfeld der jiingeren Umerfelderreit von Stillfned an
der March. Ergebnisse der Ausgrabungen 1975 1977. Forsch.
Stillfried 6. Veroffcnd. Oste rr, Arbeitsgemcinschaft U r und
Fruh geschichte 16 (1984) for exa mple graves6, 13, 26, 31,
38, 43 and 45; the rich grave with 'preScythian ' objectsalso
belongs to this phase, see M. Kaus, Kimmerischer Pferdeschmuckim Karpatenbecken dasStillfriederDepot ausneuer Sicht. Mitteilungen der Anthropologischen Gesellschoft in Wien 11 8119, 19881989, 247257. Contemporary graves from
sou thern Moravia include Bm oO brany grave 140 (F. Adarnek, Prauiki Hradisko u OMan. [1961J pl, 128 129)and graves
41,78and 114from Klen tniceO.Rihovskv,Das Urnengrabefeld
con Klentnice. Fo ntesArchaeo logiciPragcnses8 [ 1965]).
6 1.E.Patek,Neuc Untersuc hungenauf dem BurgstallbeiSop ron.
Beru ht der Ramisch-Cermanischen Kommission 63, 1982, 105ff. e.g.
tum uli8 1 and 83. A. EibnerPersy, Haltstaureuliche Grabhiigel
von SoprOTI (Odenburg). Wiss. Arbciten Burgenland 62 (1980)e.g. tumu li71 and 139.




port ant site for the chronology of the rece nt and lat e
Urnfield pe riod in south-west Bohemia (62). Ano the r
import ant ceme tery has recently bee n excavated at
R ad cice, which bega n in the M ilavce phase (H a A)
and conta ins over 100 graves of the U rnfield period,
but this remains unp ublished . For Nynice , we are fortunat e in being ab le to make use of the important
studiesofV,Sald ova,O. K ytlicova andS.StegmannR ajtar.The tripartitedivision ofthechronologicaldevelopme nt oftheceme tery,originallyproposed by Y.
Saldova, has recentl y been correc ted bySa ldova and
K ytlicova (63). The first and third phases are uncha nged, only the middle phase was dissolved , its
graves being reassigned to theothertwoph ases.Now
the Late Bronze Age developmentofthe ceme tery is
simply divided into two ph ases, Nynice I and Il ,
which correspo nd to the recent and late Urnfield
periods. Stegm annRajtar mad e certain furth er correc tions to thissequence (64).
Y. Saldova argued that between the lat estUrnfield
graves (NyniceIl)and theoldestH allstattgravesfrom
Nyni ce there isa chronological gap, which she filled
with finds from tumul i such as Kostelik, Beztehov,
Ujezd and Horn iK am enice.In bro ad terms,Saldova
wascertainlycorrectin suggestingan interim (Kostelik) ph ase between late U rnfield and full Hallstatt the most typical finds being those from Kostelik tumuli 7an d 8 and Ujez d.However,it now seems that
thistype ofpott ery can, in fact,be discerne d atNynice (65), and th e hori zontal stra tigraphy of the cemetery suppo rtsthe succession of theNynice I,Nynice
Il and Kostelikphases .
T hischronologicalsequenceforsouthwestBoh emia issuppo rte d bycomparisons linking Nynice I with
StillfriedPod oli I, Nynice Il with StillfriedPodoli Il ,
and K ostelikwithStillfriedPodoliIII (seeTabl eIl ).It
sho uld be noted , however, that only a handfull of
graves ca n be assigned to the Kostelik ph ase (66);
nevertheless,itdoesseem tobethecase here,asin the
StillfriedPodoli andRu se groups, thatea rly H a Csaw
both the emergence oftum ulus buri al as well as the
continua tionof urn bu rial in flat cemeteries.
62. V. Saldova,Westboh men in der spaten Bronzezeit. OasGraberfeld von Nyn iee I. PamatkyArcheologicke56, 1965, I if. Ibid.,
D ie hallstattzeitlichc H ugclgra bcrin Wcstbohmcn. OasGraberfeldNynice. Panuitky Archeologicke 59, 1968, 297JT.
63 .O . Kytl icova, Oer Sehild und der Dc potfund aus PlzeiiJikalka .
PamatkyArcheologicki n , 1986, 450, note 13.
64. S.Stegmann Rajiar(note 26) 1 12JT.


TheKelheimOberechinggroup iscent red on Lower

Bavaria (67), and is characteri sed by typical pottery
and bronze artefacts from a large number of U rn fields. Recognition of the recent and lat e U rnfield
ph ases ofthis group (KelheimO bereching I an d Il )
isnot aproblem,andisconfirmed byhor izont alstratigraphyatcertain sites(mostclea rlyat Kelheim ,bu t
also a t Oberechin g). Ithas, however, only recentl y
been recognised tha t some of these U rn fields continu ed in use into the ea rlyH allsta tt period for example at Kunzing, O bereching, Stephanposchin g,
Kelheim and Schirndorf(68). T he type of ea rly Ha
C pott ery from these Urnfields ca n be par alleled in
ea rly H allstatt tumuli such as Steinkirchen , mention ed in partIl. Once aga in, as in the gro ups discussed
abo ve, the ea rly Hallstatt period sees bu rial in flat
urngraves diminishing in popul arity, and richer tumulusburi alsemerging; thelatter ritebeco mes dominantin the fullH allstattC p hase.


Owingtotheexistence of reliabletreeringdat esfrom

lakeside settlem ent sin southwestGerm an y,Switzerland and eastern France, the chro nology ofH a B in
the region northwest ofthe Alpsisnot open to such
controversy as in oth er areas .The grave finds play a
lessimportant role for chronological purposes.Apart
from the overriding imp ort an ce of the lakeside
settlements, this can partly be exp lained by the absence of large Urnfields of the sort discussed above,
such as Kelheim , Oberechin g, Nyni ce, Klentni ce,
Franzhausen, Hadersdorf, Ru se, Pobr ezje etc. The
chronology of grave finds is part icularly difficult for
the middl e and recent Urnfield periods, wh en flat
ceme teries are rare and normallycontain only a few
urngraves.Thesitua tioncha nges radicallyin thelate
Urnfield period ,with theappearance ofa large number oftumulusburi als,some of which are qu ite richly
furni shed. A number oflate Urnfi eld graves con tain
typical H a B2/3 bron ze a rtefacts which facilita te the
65.Forexa mplegraves 5 7, 130, 151 , 180 a nd 18!.
66 .There may, however, be as many as 10 mor e in the Radcice
cemetery. The au thor wishes to tha nk Dr. O. Bastova, Plzeri,
for thisinformatio n.
67.T his gro up is also repr esented in the north ern Salzburger
Land ,insouthernUpp er Palatinate,and in theeastern pa rtof
Upper Bavaria.

definition of this phase. The late Urnfield tum ulus
buri als are very impor tant for an understanding of
chronology at the Bron ze AgelIron Age transition ,
becau se this rite continued to be practised in the early
Hall statt period - whereas the lake-side settlements
were ab andoned an d bro nze hoards ceased to be deposited.



The discussion so far has attempted to show how

analysisofgrave findscan recon cilethe absolutedating evide nce ava ilable from the lakeside settlements
and tumul i northwest ofth e Alps, 8th century Italy
and Earl y Iron Age Macedonia. Anothe r import ant
contri bution to the form ation of this chro nological
scheme ca n be gained from a study ofhoard s(depositions of metal obje cts). Obvi ously, hoards and their
contentsvaryconside rablyfrom region to region,an d
they mus t be studied on a regional basis. Neverth eless, it is possible to correlate regional developments
and recog nise a broad succession of hoard hori zons
in Ce ntral Europe: horizon N corresponding to th e
recent Urnfieldperiod, V to the late Urnfieldperi od,
and VI to the ea rly Hall statt period (69)(Table Ill).
Asalrea dy mention ed in the introduction, horizon
IV marks a major ph ase of bronze circulation (and
deposition) in large parts of Eu rope, and this treatment of br onze seems to form an importantelement
of the communica tion network which suppo rted the
socalled " U rnfield ph enom enon ". In the following
horizon V, hoard depositions are even more richly
represen ted in the regio n of thelate Urnfi eld culture
(70). Further east, by contrast, hoard dep osition fell
out of fashion in many areas concentrations are
onlyknown in theextreme northeastand southwest
68'.F.Sch o pper , Grab er der spa ten Urnenfelder und der Iruh en
H allsta ttzeit a us dem Lan dkr eis Deggendorf. Archiiologische Arbeitsgemeinschaft Ostbayem/ West unci Sudbohmen, 3. Trcffen, Juni
1993 (1994) 17, fig. 3, A (K unzingO st, grave 85). P. Ho glinger, Dosumerfelderzeitliche Griibeifeldvon Oberechmg. Archaeologie
in Salzburg 2 (1993) pI. 58 (Obereching grave 140). K.
Sc hmotz, Die uorgeschichtliche Besiedlung imIsormandungsgebiet. M aterialhefte zur Bayer. Vor gesch . Rcihe A/58 (1989) pI. 35, C
(Step ha nposching grave 5). R . H ughes (note 22) 141IT.
(K elheirn, Am Urnenfeld ,grav c I1 and Sc hirndorQ .
69 .Fo r a recent studyof hoard chronology in the Ca rpa thian Basin ,see C .M ctzncrNcbelsick(note 26)4081T. H oardhorizon
IV corresponds to von Bru nn 's R oh odSzentes ph ase, the So-


pa rts of the Ca rpa thia n Basin (7 1). It seems that at

thistime (ca.950/92 0800 BC), the Carpathian and
lower Danube region became disengaged from the
communica tionnetwork ofthe U rnfieldculture.Metallic finds ofsocalled preScythian typeindi cate that
the region expe rienced an eastward reorient ation of
itsculturalaffinities.To whatextentdo local cultural
sequ ences reflect the important change detected in
metal produ ction and deposition?
The intense circulation and deposition of bronzes
in hoard horizon N presumablyrequired an efficient
communication network within the Carpath ian Basin.Thismay,ind eed,help understandth eemergence
ofa vast koineofpotteryproduction known as "kanneliert e K eramik" (fluted potte ry) (72). Thi s term refers totheinterrelated cultura l gro upsdistributed between east Slavonia and the Voivod ina in the southwest, east Slovakia in the northwest, and the lower
Danub e, CarpathoUkraine and Dnestr in the east.
The form ation of this group presupp oses a period
withparti cularlyintensive communication overavery
wide area.Theobvious hypothesisis that the formation an d expansion of the koine of fluted pottery is
related to the climax of bronze production and exchange visible in the hoard depositions. But it is a
matt er ofcontroversy whether the dissolution of the
koineoffluted potterymay be relat ed chronologically
to the interruption of bronze circulation and deposition at th e tr ansition from hoard hori zons IV to V.
The pau cityofgrave assemblages mean stha tpottery chronology is based on settleme nt evidence and
this does not allow fine datin g. H owever, it is clear
that the koin e offluted potte ry was succeeded by a
num ber of regiona lgro ups, often with quite difTerent
pottery decor ation (73). Thus the fluted pottery of
eastern Hungary(C avagroup),Voivodina,northSerbiaandtheBan at (BelegisIIgroup),southe rn O ltenia
motorLucky phase in Slovakia, the H ajd uboszor meny ph ase
in Hungary, the MoigradTauteu ph ase in R omania etc.
70.Th e eas tern boundary of the typical la te Urnfield culture is
for med by th eRuseandStillfricdPodoligroupsin Sty ria, ea stern Austria , western Transdanubia, southwest Slovaki a an d
southern M oravia,
7 1.T here was a resurgence of hoard depo sition in horizon VI in
the Carpathian Basin, but the differ en tkind of hoard composition (setsof costum e ornaments horsegear etc.)seem s to reflect new deposition prac tices.
72.Fo r an in trodu ction to this subject, see B. H ansel, Beitragzur

regionalen und chronologischen Gliederung der alteren Hallstattreit ander

Unteren Donau( 1976)88IT.


Acta Archaeologica

(Hinova-Virtop group), Dobr ogea (Babad ag I group)

and M oldavia (Corlateni-Chisinau group) is succeeded by various types of engraved and stamped
pottery (GorneaK alakaca, Insula Banului, Babadag
II and Cozi a groups), and the eclectic pottery ofthe
Mezocsat and Teleac groups (see Table III).
While the relative chronological development is
more or lessclear, the absolutechronologyisco ntroversial. Whil e B. H ansel and his collabora tors (74)
ha ve argued for the emergence ofKalakaca and related pottery before the end ofthe 2nd millennium
BC, Guma and Vulpe (75)suggesta laterdate ,correspondingto the transition from hoardhorizons IV to
V, and K em enczei sees Cava pottery continuing till
HaBI (76).Whereas the recentl ypublishedstratigraphy of th e settlement ofT eleac (77) appears to supportthe later date, this seems to be precluded by the
association of "protoKalakaca" pottery with early
Urnfield clubheaded pins at Feudvar (78). It is not
my purpose to discuss this qu estion in more detail,
althoughIshouldperhapsnote that inmyopinionmore eviden ce supports a later dissolution of the
fluted pottery koine (seeTable III).
In the framework of this article I merely intend to
indicate what,to me, seems the most crucial chronologicalqu estion at the transition from the BronzeAge
to the Iron Age in southeastern Central Europe.
However the settlement ch ronologiesare resolved, it
remains to emphasise once aga in the profound culturalbreakin these regions around 950/920BC at
a time when the U rnfield culture was passinggradually from its recent to late ph ase furth er to the west.
Judging from the rich br onz e production of hoard
horizon IV, the Carpathian region was cert ainly "in
the Bronze Age" at this time. The collapse ofbronze
production and exchange at the time of ho ard horizon V,however,couldmarkthe start ofan IronAge
technology, involving the developmentofa new kind
ofcommunication andexchange networkand a radical cultural reorientation.
73. For a useful re view, see A. Vulpe, Du Kuresduoer ter, Dole/le und
Streitmesser der Hallstaltreit in Rumanien . Pr ahi storische Bron zefunde VII9(1990) 102fT.
74. B. H an sel a nd P. Medovic, Bench! der Romisch-Cermanischen
Kommission 72, 1991,62; 119fT.; 135; 148.
75. M. Guma, CiuilizaJia primei epoci a jierului in sud-iestul Romdniei
(1993). A. Vulpe (note 73) 102lT.;pl, 62.

H aving reviewed these regional chronologies, and
shown how they ma y be linked togeth er in a schemati c sup raregional system , we may now brieflyturn
to a more general view ofbehaviour at the Bronz e
Age/Iron Age transition. As we know, there is a
chro nological"gradient" inthe adoptionofiron technology. In Ital y, much of the Carpathi an Basin , th e
lower Danubeand the north Pontic regions, this step
seems to have been taken at som e tim e around the
second half of the l Oth century BC. In the area
stretching from western Transdanubia to central
France,the endof the BronzeAgecorrespondsto the
BC .Furtherto thenorthandwest,BronzeAgepracticescontinueinto the8th, 7thor,insomeareas,even
into the 6th centuryBC ,asthe hoardsofPer. VI, th e
Armorican axe hoards and the hoards of " Launacien" type show.
In fact, it seems that the Bronze Age/Iron Age
tran sition is !ypicalfy marked by the cessation or
marked decline of hoard deposition. I suspect that
hoard deposition, like deposition in watery places,
wasan activity intimatelylinked to the exchange,displa y and thesaurisation of bronze . Deposition whether in hoards, rivers, marshes or settlements was a final option availabl e in a vari ety of different
cult activities involving bronze. But this behaviour
disappeared at the Bronz e AgelIron Age transition .
Whenth e"commondenominator"ofthe BronzeAge
communication and exchange networks ceased to
exist,regionalgroupswereforced todevelop new cultural orientations, and elites were forces to display
and compete using othermeasures ofwealth.

Author's address:
Dept. ofAncient Hi sto ry a nd Archa eo logy
U niver sity of Birmingham
Edgb aston
UKBirmingham B15 2TT
76.T. Kem en czei, Du Spiilbronzezell Nordostungams (1984) 86 . Ibid., CommunicationesArchaeologicae Hungariae 1990, 120 [
77 .V. Vasiliev, LA . AJdea an d H . Ciugu de a n, CivilizaJia DacUG

Timpune in Aria Intracatpatuii a Romdniei. Contribtqi! Arheologice:

Asezarea Fortifualli de In Teleac (1991).
78. See not e 74.