For the history & development of the iconography, zoomorphic patterns and decorative art motifs employed by the ancient Celts, in metalwork, ceramics and other artworks please see: Celtic Designs Celtic Interlace Celtic Spirals Celtic Knots Celtic Crosses As a culture, La Tene is synonymous with advanced forms of metalwork, including goldsmithing (goldsmithery), jewellery and other decorative works, which, while not comparable in range with Greek art or Egyptian civilization, nevertheless represents the first real high point in Celtic design and creativity.
Its decline was simply reflective of the political weakness of the Celts themselves: despite their strong hold over European trade, especially along the principal European waterways like the Danube, the Rhine and the Rhone, and the ferocity of their warriors in battle, their loose network of tribal societies lacked the internal cohesion and central authority to compete with the unified Roman state.
In Eastern and north central Europe, it declined at about the same time under pressure from eastern barbarian tribes arriving from Asia.
Definition of cultural dating
In 1885, after a series of sporadic investigations, the the Société d'Histoire of Neuchâtel agreed to complete the excavations.
In total, more than 2,500 items have been recovered.
Thus, it emerged out of the preceding Austrian-based Hallstatt Celtic culture, achieved its zenith during the expansion of Celtic power and influence during the fourth century BCE and then declined - at least on the Continent - with the Roman subdugation of the Celtic heartlands in Gaul around 50 BCE.
Thereafter it morphed into a Roman-Celtic art style before fading completely.
Grave sites become more elaborate and opulent, in keeping with greater prosperity among the chieftains and other high officials, and more goldwork is evident.
On the other hand, the culture was more militaristic and its burial sites reveal an abundance of swords, spearheads, shields and protective armour, as well as everyday items such as cauldrons, yokes, and razors.
Jewellery is also common, and some pieces are exquisite - notably the finely made gold torcs.
La Tene designwork, found on a wide range of objects is more mature and more complex.
Like Hallstatt, La Tene is noted for its Celtic metalwork, particularly its iron weaponry and tools, as well its bronze-based artifacts, goldsmithery and decorative crafts.
But La Tene construction and design is more advanced, with evidence of new techniques, new materials and wider influences.
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