Late Bronze Age

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Overview prehistory
Holocene (➚ early history )
Iron age
  late bronze age  
  middle bronze age
  early bronze age
Bronze age
    Copper Age  
Pleistocene     Upper Paleolithic  
    Middle Paleolithic
    Early Paleolithic
  Old Stone Age
Stone age
Central European Bronze Age
late bronze age
Ha B2 / 3 0950–800 0BC Chr.
Ha B1 1050-950 0BC Chr.
Ha A2 1100-1050 BC Chr.
Ha A1 1200-1100 BC Chr.
Bz D 1300-1200 BC Chr.
middle bronze age
Bz C2 1400-1300 BC Chr.
Bz C1 1500-1400 BC Chr.
Bz B 1600-1500 BC Chr.
early bronze age
Bz A2 2000–1600 BC Chr.
Bz A1 2200-2000 BC Chr.

The most recent section of the Bronze Age is referred to as the Late Bronze Age or Late Bronze Age , which in Central Europe dates from around 1300–800 BC. Corresponds to (→ Bronze Age (Central Europe) ). Sometimes the terms "Young Bronze Age", "End Bronze Age" or "Urnfield Age" are used for this period or parts of it, but these are generally less common. The late Bronze Age differs from the previous Middle Bronze Age in a change in burial and accessory customs, as well as changes in the settlement structures and a change in the treasure trove of weapons, tools and ceramics. At the beginning of the 8th century BC The Late Bronze Age was replaced by the Early Iron Age , which was characterized by the preferred use of iron as a material for tools and weapons.

In the late Bronze Age, a distinction is made in the German-speaking area between several larger cultural groups with different regional focuses. The large groups of the Urnfield Culture (especially in southern Germany ), the Nordic District and the Lusatian Culture stand out in particular. In addition, strong influences from the Western European so-called Atlantic Bronze Age cultures can be identified, particularly in northwest Germany and the Rhineland .

Grave customs

The grave customs of the different cultural areas differ greatly. While in the south of Central Europe large urn cemeteries ("urn fields") are the most prominent feature, in north and north-west Germany z. Some of the burial mounds are still used (e.g. in the Lower Rhine burial mound culture ).


In most areas, relatively little is known about the settlements of the Late Bronze Age. This is mainly due to the relatively low level of excavation activity in this area. It should be noted, however, that settlement activity in the river valleys was resumed at this time. Most of the settlements have the shape of small villages and farms. The reason for the increased settlement of the river valleys can be assumed to be a milder climate and the increased use of the waters as traffic and trade routes.

For the fortifications, natural protective layers were mostly used, so that mountain tops, hilltops, terrain spurs or peninsulas were often settled. Artificial fortifications were added to these, such as B. earth walls. Among the fortifications, some hilltop settlements stand out, whose location on traffic routes seems to have served to secure and control them.

Most of the settlements, however, were primarily used for agriculture. The cultivation of dwarf wheat, barley , emmer , spelled , einkorn , peas , field beans , lentils , linen and, to a lesser extent, lettuce , fruit and vegetables has been proven in the late Bronze Age .

Furthermore, livestock was raised, with cattle being bred as work and food animals, pigs, sheep and goats primarily as food animals, and horses as a means of transport and perhaps also as a status symbol.


About ceramics in the Central European Late Bronze Age it can generally be said that turntable ceramics did not yet occur, as the potter’s wheel was only used in Central Europe from the Iron Age. A more detailed description of the late Bronze Age ceramics is only possible for the individual cultures.


The chronological structure of the Late Bronze Age, which is still used today in large parts of Central Europe, goes back to the work of Paul Reinecke from the beginning of the 20th century. Due to changes in the archaeological finds, he divided the period commonly known today as the Late Bronze Age into the stages "Bronze Age D" (Bz D), "Hallstatt A" (Ha A) and "Hallstatt B" (Ha B), with the last two Originally attributed to the Iron Age because of the occasional occurrence of iron objects. A further subdivision of the stages Ha A and Ha B was later u. a tried by Hermann Müller-Karpe . The subdivision into Ha A1, Ha A2, Ha B1 and Ha B2 / 3, which is often common today, goes back in its main features to the work of this researcher.

It includes the following periods:

Relative chronology Absolute chronology
Bz D approx. 1300-1200 BC Chr.
Ha A1 approx. 1200–1100 BC Chr.
Ha A2 approx. 1100-1050 BC Chr.
Ha B1 approx. 1050-950 BC Chr.
Ha B2 approx. 950-880 BC Chr.
Ha B3 approx. 880-800 BC Chr.

The delimitation of the time stages Ha B2 and Ha B3 in particular is still controversial in research. For the individual regional cultural groups, the chronological proposals also give way to z. Some of them more or less strongly depend on this scheme, but mostly orientate themselves in some form to this "classic" structure according to P. Reinecke and H. Müller-Karpe.

Cultural groups

The most important cultures of the Late Bronze Age in the German-speaking area include parts of the Nordic Circle , the Lusatian Culture and the Urnfield Culture , which can be broken down into even smaller areas due to regional differences in the archaeological finds. Important subgroups of the urn field culture are z. B. the Rheinisch-Schweizerische Gruppe and the Untermainisch-Schwäbische Gruppe . The older Lower Rhine burial mound culture also shows clear influences of the urn field culture . The Nordischer Kreis or its sphere of influence, however, include the Stader Group , the Ems-Hunte Group , the Lüneburg Group and the Allermündungs ​​Group , which z. In some cases, however, they also show clear influences from the area of ​​Lusatian culture, whose narrower areas include the Unstrut group , the Helmsdorf group and the Saalemündungs ​​group .

Women's grave from Wölfersheim in the Wetterau Museum in Friedberg , eponymous for the Wölfersheim stage

Social conditions

Insights into the social conditions of the Late Bronze Age can be gained primarily from the grave finds. Burials in pairs suggest the existence of marital relationships. Despite the use of different urn shapes for men and women, the burials are basically equivalent. However, it remains difficult to use the grave finds to gain an insight into areas such as succession and relationships between the individual families and the social associations. Social upper classes can also be identified from the grave finds, or more precisely from the grave goods. However, insights into the forms of rule and society based on the available material are not very clear. The average life expectancy of an adult at that time was 40–45 years.

Significant ground monuments

The city of Hallstatt , which gave its name to the middle and late section of the Late Bronze Age (and the Early Iron Age) , has some interesting ground monuments and museums in its vicinity.

The "Schwedenschanze" at Lossow near Frankfurt (Oder) is one of the most important fortifications of the Lausitz culture.

See also


  • Archaeological investigations on the transition from the Bronze to the Iron Age between the North Sea and the Caucasus. Results of a colloquium in Regensburg 28. – 30. October 1992 (= Regensburg Contributions to Prehistoric Archeology. 1). Universitäts-Verlag Regensburg et al., Regensburg 1994, ISBN 3-930480-20-4 .
  • Philippe Della Casa, Calista Fischer: Neftenbach (CH), Velika Gruda (YU), Kastanas (GR) and Trindhøj (DK) - arguments for a beginning of the Late Bronze Age (Reinecke Bz D) in the 14th century BC. Chr. In: Prehistoric Journal . Vol. 72, No. 2, 1997, pp. 195-233, doi : 10.1515 / prhz.1997.72.2.195 .
  • Hermann Müller-Karpe : Contributions to the chronology of the Urnfield time north and south of the Alps (= Roman-Germanic research. Vol. 22, ISSN  0176-5337 ). de Gruyter, Berlin 1959.
  • Paul Reinecke : Mainz essays on the chronology of the bronze and iron ages. Habelt, Bonn 1965, (reprint from: Antiquities of our pagan prehistoric times. 5, 1911 and Festschrift of the Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum. 1902).
  • Frank Falkenstein: A catastrophe theory at the beginning of the urn field culture. In: Chronos. Contributions to prehistoric archeology between North and Southeast Europe. Festschrift for Bernhard Hänsel. Edited by Cornelia Becker, Marie-Luise Dunkelmann, Carola Metzner-Nebelsick, Heidi Peter-Röcher, Manfred Roeder and Biba Terzan. Publishing house Marie Leidorf, Espelkamp 1997 [1]

Web links

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