1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Hallstatt
HALLSTATT, a market-place of Austria, in Upper Austria, 67 m. S.S.W. of Linz by rail. Pop. (1900) 737. It is situated on the shore of the Hallstatter-see and at the foot of the Hallstatter Salzberg, and is built in amphitheatre with its houses clinging to the mountain side. The salt mine of Hallstatt, which is one of the oldest in existence, was rediscovered in the 14th century. In the neighbourhood is the celebrated Celtic burial ground, where a great number of very interesting antiquities have been found. Most of these have been removed to the museums at Vienna and Linz, but some are kept in the local museum.
The excavations (1847–1864) revealed a form of culture hitherto unknown, and accordingly the name Hallstatt has been applied to objects of like form and decoration since found in Styria, Carniola, Bosnia (at Glasinatz and Jezerin), Epirus, north Italy, France, Spain and Britain (see Celt). Everywhere else the change from iron weapons to bronze is immediate, but at Hallstatt iron is seen gradually superseding bronze, first for ornament, then for edging cutting instruments, then replacing fully the old bronze types, and finally taking new forms of its own. There can be no doubt that the use of iron first developed in the Hallstatt area, and that thence it spread southwards into Italy, Greece, the Aegean, Egypt and Asia, and northwards and westwards in Europe. At Noreia, which gave its name to Noricum (q.v.) less than 40 m. from Hallstatt, were the most famous iron mines of antiquity, which produced the Noric iron and Noric swords so prized and dreaded by the Romans (Pliny, Hist. Nat. xxxiv. 145; Horace, Epod. 17. 71). This iron needed no tempering, and the Celts had probably found it ready smelted by nature, just as the Eskimo had learned of themselves to use telluric iron embedded in basalt. The graves at Hallstatt were partly inhumation partly cremation; they contained swords, daggers, spears, javelins, axes, helmets, bosses and plates of shields and hauberks, brooches, various forms of jewelry, amber and glass beads, many of the objects being decorated with animals and geometrical designs. Silver was practically unknown. The weapons and axes are mostly iron, a few being bronze. The swords are leaf-shaped, with blunt points intended for cutting, not for thrusting; the hilts differ essentially from those of the Bronze Age, being shaped like a crescent to grasp the blade, with large pommels, or sometimes with antennae (the latter found also in Bavaria, Württemberg, Baden, Switzerland, the Pyrenees, Spain, north Italy): only six arrowheads (bronze) were found. Both flanged and socketed celts occurred, the iron being much more numerous than the bronze. The flat axes are distinguished by the side stops and in some cases the transition from palstave to socketed axe can be seen. The shields were round as in the early Iron Age of north Italy (see Villanova). Greaves were found at Glasinatz and Jezerin, though not at Hallstatt; two helmets were found at Hallstatt and others in Bosnia; broad bronze belts were numerous, adorned in repoussé with beast and geometric ornament. Brooches are found in great numbers, both those derived from the primitive safety-pin (“Peschiera” type) and the “spectacle” or “Hallstatt” type found all down the Balkans and in Greece. The latter are formed of two spirals of wire, sometimes four such spirals being used, whilst there were also brooches in animal forms, one of the latter being found with a bronze sword. The Hallstatt culture is that of the Homeric Achaeans (see Achaeans), but as the brooch (along with iron, cremation of the dead, the round shield and the geometric ornament) passed down into Greece from central Europe, and as brooches are found in the lower town at Mycenae, 1350 B.C., they must have been invented long before that date in central Europe. But as they are found in the late Bronze Age and early Iron Age, the early iron culture of Hallstatt must have originated long before 1350 B.C., a conclusion in accord with the absence of silver at Hallstatt itself.