Bronze Age

History of Germany between 2300 BC - 801 BC

The German Bronze Age is usually divided into an Early Bronze Age (from the end of the third/beginning of the second millennium bc to around 1600 bc), a Middle Bronze Age (1600–c.1300 BC), and a Late Bronze Age, also called the Urnfield period (1300–c.800 BC). The most important distinguishing features are the burial customs and grave forms: the Early Bronze Age is characterized by flat graves with bodies buried in the crouched position, the Middle Bronze Age by inhumations beneath mounds, and the Late Bronze Age by the deposition of urns containing cremated remains in burial places known as urnfields.

In Central Europe, the early Bronze Age Unetice culture (1800-1600 BCE) includes numerous smaller groups like the Straubingen, Adlerberg and Hatvan cultures. Some very rich burials, such as the one located at Leubingen (today part of Sömmerda) with grave gifts crafted from gold, point to an increase of social stratification already present in the Unetice culture. All in all, cemeteries of this period are rare and of small size. The Unetice culture is followed by the middle Bronze Age Tumulus culture, which is characterised by inhumation burials in tumuli (barrows).

The late Bronze Age Urnfield culture, is characterized by cremation burials. It includes the Lusatian culture in eastern Germany and Poland (1300-500 BCE) that continues into the Iron Age. The Central European Bronze Age is followed by the Iron Age Hallstatt culture (700-450 BCE).

In Central Europe, the early Bronze Age Unetice culture (1800-1600 BCE) includes numerous smaller groups like the Straubingen, Adlerberg and Hatvan cultures. Some very rich burials, such as the one located at Leubingen (today part of Sömmerda) with grave gifts crafted from gold, point to an increase of social stratification already present in the Unetice culture. All in all, cemeteries of this period are rare and of small size. The Unetice culture is followed by the middle Bronze Age Tumulus culture, which is characterised by inhumation burials in tumuli (barrows).

The late Bronze Age Urnfield culture, is characterized by cremation burials. It includes the Lusatian culture in eastern Germany and Poland (1300-500 BCE) that continues into the Iron Age. The Central European Bronze Age is followed by the Iron Age Hallstatt culture (700-450 BCE).

References: Wikipedia, Oxford Handbooks Online

Popular sites founded between 2300 BC and 801 BC in Germany

Ipf Hill Fort

The Ipf is a mostly treeless mountain (668 metres)with a prehistoric hill fort on its top. The fort is situated on an isolated hill, with a flattened summit surrounded by a stone wall, ditch and large counterscarp (outer bank). The overall diameter is about 180 metres. There are also extensive ramparts traversing the slopes to protect a large enclosed area and entranceway. There is evidence of occupation from the Bronze A ...
Founded: 1200-300 BC | Location: Bopfingen, Germany

Goloring

The Goloring is an ancient earthworks monument located near Koblenz. It was created in the Bronze Age era, which dates back to the Urnfield culture (1200–800 BC). During this time a widespread solar cult is believed to have existed in Central Europe. The Goloring consists of a circular ditch of 175 metres in diameter with an outside embankment extending to 190 metres. Technically this makes the structure a henge mo ...
Founded: 1200-800 BC | Location: Koblenz, Germany

Degernau Menhir or Bühlhölzle Menhir

Found in 1954 and re-erected in 1971
Founded: Bronze Age | Location: Degernau, Germany

Degernau Dolmen

Reconstructed Schwörstadt-type dolmen
Founded: Bronze Age | Location: Degernau, Germany

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Hochosterwitz Castle

Hochosterwitz Castle is considered to be one of Austria's most impressive medieval castles. The rock castle is one of the state's landmarks and a major tourist attraction.

The site was first mentioned in an 860 deed issued by King Louis the German of East Francia, donating several of his properties in the former Principality of Carantania to the Archdiocese of Salzburg. In the 11th century Archbishop Gebhard of Salzburg ceded the castle to the Dukes of Carinthia from the noble House of Sponheim in return for their support during the Investiture Controversy. The Sponheim dukes bestowed the fiefdom upon the family of Osterwitz, who held the hereditary office of the cup-bearer in 1209.

In the 15th century, the last Carinthian cup-bearer, Georg of Osterwitz was captured in a Turkish invasion and died in 1476 in prison without leaving descendants. So after four centuries, on 30 May 1478, the possession of the castle reverted to Emperor Frederick III of Habsburg.

Over the next 30 years, the castle was badly damaged by numerous Turkish campaigns. On 5 October 1509, Emperor Maximilian I handed the castle as a pledge to Matthäus Lang von Wellenburg, then Bishop of Gurk. Bishop Lang undertook a substantial renovation project for the damaged castle.

About 1541, German king Ferdinand I of Habsburg bestowed Hochosterwitz upon the Carinthian governor Christof Khevenhüller. In 1571, Baron George Khevenhüller acquired the citadel by purchase. He fortified to deal with the threat of Turkish invasions of the region, building an armory and 14 gates between 1570 and 1586. Such massive fortification is considered unique in citadel construction.

Since the 16th century, no major changes have been made to Hochosterwitz. It has also remained in the possession of the Khevenhüller family as requested by the original builder, George Khevenhüller. A marble plaque dating from 1576 in the castle yard documents this request.

A specific feature is the access way to the castle passing through a total of 14 gates, which are particularly prominent owing to the castle's situation in the landscape. Tourists are allowed to walk the 620-metre long pathway through the gates up to the castle; each gate has a diagram of the defense mechanism used to seal that particular gate. The castle rooms hold a collection of prehistoric artifacts, paintings, weapons, and armor, including one set of armor 2.4 metres tall, once worn by Burghauptmann Schenk.