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La Tène

La Tène is the site of a great Iron Age votive deposit in the shallow water at the east end of Late Neuchâtel, Switzerland. Excavations in 1909-17 revealed wooden piles, two timber causeways and a mass of tools and weapons of bronze, iron and wood. Some of these objects bore curvilinear patterns which are the hallmark of La Tène art everywhere from central Europe to Ireland and the Pyrenees. 

 

La Tène has given its name to the second period of the European Iron Age, which followed the Hallstatt period over much of the continent and lasted in Britain from c. 100BC until the Roman conquest. The highest development, and the birth of an art style, took place in west central Europe from the Rhineland to the Marne. Contact with the Greek and Etruscan worlds brought wine, metal flagons and Attic drinking cups into lands north of the Alps and La Tène art shows links with that of the Scythians to the east.  

 

In Britain, contact with the continental La Tène cultures is shown by chariot burials and the presence of La Tène art motifs on metalwork and pottery. British cultures showing La Tène influence are sometimes grouped within an Iron Age B complex, but this does not imply either invasion from the continent or the contemporaneity of all cultures within the group. In Ireland, which the Romans never invaded, an art style with La Tène elements persisted into the early Christian period. 

 

Much metalwork is described as La Tène, including a brooch found near West Wycombe. At other times a site can be described as La Tène, such as the cremation burials at Locke's brickfield in Hartwell.