La Tène (Scope note)

Western Europe: 450BC-43AD. The term La Tène is used to describe the material culture of the latter half of the Iron Age across much of northern and western Europe, from 450BC to the Roman conquest. The name is derived from a site of the same name, on Lake Neuchâtel, Switzerland, where the first 'La Tène' type objects were excavated in the late 19thC. In addition to describing a broad chronological timeframe, the term La Tène is also used to refer to certain types of object characteristic of this period, for example a La Tène sword or brooch. La Tène can be subdivided into La Tène I, II and III, which is the system used by the British Museum. Other systems are also in common use, including the division into La Tène A, B, C and D. Using these subdivisions, well established typologies of La Tène objects have been created. For example, the attachment of the foot to the bow on La Tène brooches follows a pattern which is consistent over time and across much of Europe. For example, the foot of a La Tène I brooch is not attached to the bow. If a brooch of this type is discovered it is an important piece of dating evidence for other types of object. If La Tène or its Narrow Terms is entered in Type series, it should also be entered as a Period/Culture.