Encompasses present-day Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, England, France, Germany, Hungary, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Moldova, Monaco, Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Poland, the Republic of Ireland, Romania, Scotland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland, Ukraine, and Wales
The period from 2000 to 1000 B.C. is marked by the rise of warrior elites in western and central Europe. Distinguished by ritual, wealth, and equestrian culture, these elites collected weapons and precious trinkets, which archaeologists have found buried in their graves.
- ca. 5000900 B.C.Rock
faces in the Alps, such as Val Carmonica in northern Italy, Monte Bego
in France, and Totes Gebirge in Austria, are carved with animals, buildings,
and warriors, perhaps engaged in martial rituals.
- ca. 23001500 B.C.The
Unitice culture, named after a cemetery near Prague, emerges across central
Europe. Flat burials with no mounds are the rule. Bodies are frequently
arranged according to gender and oriented with respect to the points of
- ca. 2000 B.C.Builders arrange
a variety of megaliths from Wales at Stonehenge on Salisbury Plain. Although
the exact use and meaning of the structure remains unexplained, it probably
served in a ceremony associated with the changing of the seasons.
- ca. 2000 B.C.Impressive mounds
in central Germany cover tombs equipped with tools for carpentry and metalwork.
The monumentality and wealth of the burials suggest the esteem and power
that belonged to artisans skilled in the extraction and working of metal,
a new enterprise in central Europe.
- ca. 1800 B.C.Horses and a
culture of horsemanship arrive in central Europe from the steppes to the
east. With these comes a style of ornament composed of C-shaped scrolls
and compass-drawn circles, earlier used to decorate horse trappings.
- ca. 1800 B.C.Goods begin
to travel widely between cultures north and south. Spearheads, swords,
and imported jewelry appear in European tombs, as do pins with wheel-shaped
heads, which may refer to the chariot, a powerful status symbol. Throughout
Europe, small groups seek status by controlling metals and other resources
and acquiring the outward signs of wealth.
- ca. 1200 B.C.Metalworking,
already known in Europe for over a thousand years, increases dramatically.
Smiths handle larger quantities of bronze and gold and exploit sophisticated
techniques such as lost-wax casting and casting in molds in many pieces.
- ca. 1200 B.C.A shift in funerary
practice begins. In place of inhumation burial, cremation becomes the
norm; the ashes are interred, usually with a few grave goods, in urns
placed in cemetery grounds. The change seems to indicate new religious
concepts, which hold the materiality of the body less important and leave
precious objects largely to the living.
"Western and Central Europe, 20001000 B.C.". In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/ht/?period=03®ion=euw (October 2000)