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La Tène

La Tène (lä tĕn), ancient Celtic site on Lake Neuchâtel, Switzerland, that gives its name to the second and final period of the European Iron Age. It is characterized by an art style that drew upon Greek, Etruscan, and Scythian motifs and translated them into highly abstract designs in metal, pottery, and wood. The earliest phase of Tenian culture, from the 6th to the late 5th cent. BC, spread from the middle Rhine region E into the Danube valley, S into Switzerland, and W and N into France, the Low Countries, Denmark, and the British Isles; this was the period of the first of the great Celtic (see Celt) migrations. Tenian culture flourished until subjected to the advances of the Roman Empire. The Celtic peoples of the La Tène period borrowed much from older civilizations, including the Etruscan chariot, woodworking tools that enabled them to clear temperate forests for planting, and Greek agricultural implements such as the rotary millstone. Native coinage appeared in Gaul during the latter part of the period, along with the fortified townships eventually conquered by Julius Caesar. An exceptional example of late Tenian culture is found in the ancient lake dwellings of Glastonbury, S England.

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La Tène

La Tène Archaeological site in Switzerland, discovered in the 19th century. It gives its name to the second phase of Celtic culture (c.500–c.50 bc). The origin of the culture, which replaced the Hallstatt, was contact with Greek and Etruscan influences. It was a highly war-like culture, hierarchically organized with kings, a priestly class (the Druids), warriors, farmers and slaves. La Tène weaponry was Late Iron Age. The La Tène Celts conquered central Europe in the 4th and 3rd centuries. By 50 bc they had submitted to German invaders from the n and Romans from the s.

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Tène, La

Tène, La the second cultural phase of the European Iron Age, following the Halstatt period (c.480 bc) and lasting until the coming of the Romans. This culture represents the height of Celtic power, being characterized by hill forts, rich and elaborate burials, and distinctively crafted artefacts.

The name is recorded from the late 19th century, and comes from the name of a district in Switzerland, where remains of the culture were first identified.

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