Hallstatt to La Tène
Our tour of the European Iron Age takes us through some of the most beautiful and dramatic landscapes in the world: huge lakes, craggy peaks, green forests and pretty Alpine towns. This fertile land attracted prehistoric settlers, and gave trade routes through the mountains for vital commodities such as salt, amber, and eventually, iron. Early Iron Age Hallstatt culture became wealthy from salt, building huge settlements and leaving behind rich burials. The later La Tene culture, on Lac Neuchatel in Switzerland, is characterised by intricate metalwork, very well preserved. Led by Professor John Collis, an authority on the Iron Age, we delve into this time of traders and tribes in Austria and Switzerland.
- Fantastic finds from waterlogged remains to vivid 'Celtic' art and metal work
- We have arranged special access to excavations at the Hallstatt Salt Mines, accompanied by the Director of Hallstatt Museum.
- Special Access
- All Inclusive
We arrive in Munich, and enjoy a scenic drive to Mondsee, once the site of Neolithic lake dwellings. We continue to our hotel in Hallstatt.
Today we explore the Iron Age Hallstatt Cemetery and Museum, which contains both fabulous elite grave goods and everyday artefacts from the salt mines. Amazingly, leather backpacks and miners’ shoes have been preserved in the salt. This afternoon we get even closer to life in the Iron Age, with special access to excavations in the Hallstatt Salt Mines with the Director of Hallstatt Museum.
We drive east to Hallein. Here, mining has been traced back 7,000 years and the name itself is derived from the Greek word for salt. We visit the impressive Celtic Museum with elaborate La Tène metalwork. Continue to the Hallein Salt Mines. This afternoon, we glimpse domestic life in the Iron Age at the reconstructed Celtic Village.
A day above ground! We start our day at Kelten Museum, home to a miniature golden oak tree found during rescue excavations on the site. We also visit Manching Oppidum, a Celtic town which became one of the largest settlements north of the Alps by the late 2nd century BC. The many human remains found in certain depositions suggest ancestor worship.
Today we visit another Iron Age hillfort and town, Kelheim Oppidum. The site is impressively situated on a peninsular between the Altmühl and Danube rivers. We walk the ramparts and admire finds from the fort displayed in the site museum.
We have the option to enjoy a boat ride on the Danube this afternoon before returning to our hotel in Pfaffenhoffen.
We start our day at the Heuneburg Museum, many of the rich grave goods found at Heuneburg are now on display here. We stop for lunch within the museum in the 'Celtic style' cafe. Our journey continues as we climb the hillfort of the Heuneburg, built around 600 BC on a mountain spur, strategically positioned near the source of the Danube.
We travel to Biel and discover the Latenium Museum and Archaeological Park, with eclectic displays including reconstructions of a La Tène house, a Gallo-Roman ship and a Celtic bridge, as well as many original treasures of the La Tène period.
On our final morning, we check out of or hotel and take a boat trip on La Tène, visting some of the lake dwelling sites.
We fly home this afternoon.
- Expert Guide Lecturer
- Tour Manager
- Local Travel - Private a/c coach
- Meals - All meals included with wine at dinner
- Entries & Tips - Entry to all sites in program; tips included
- Field Notes
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