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Pre-Roman Iron Age
The Pre-Roman Iron Age (ca 500 BC - ca 1 AD) is the name given by Oscar Montelius to a period in Scandinavian and North German pre-history and a part of the European Iron Age. It evolved out of the Nordic Bronze Age and is characterized by the acquisition of iron tools (the name is also applied to contemporary Britain, but at the moment this article follows the Montelian sense). This period is named the Pre-Roman Iron Age, because it was prior to a period during which the influence of the Roman Empire was considerable in Northern Europe, and which is consequently called the Roman Iron Age.
The culture covered by this term was most likely Germanic, and south of it was the probably Celtic La Tene culture, which exerted a considerable influence.
The period began with a deteriorating climate and it is believed that the climate pushed the Proto-Germanic tribes southwards into continental Europe. At around this time, people began to extract bog iron from the ore in peat bogs. Their technology for gaining iron ore from local sources may have helped them expand into new territories.
In the beginning, iron was valuable and was used for decoration. The oldest objects were needles, but swords and sickles are found as well. Bronze continued to be used during the whole period, but was mostly used for decoration. The traditions were a continuity from the Nordic Bronze Age, but there were strong influences from the Hallstatt culture in Central Europe. They continued with the Bronze Age tradition of burning the corpses and the remains were put in urns (see Urnfield culture). During the last centuries, influences from the Central European La Tène culture spread to Scandinavia from North-Western Germany and there are finds from this period from all the provinces of southern Scandinavia. From this time achaeologists have found swords, shieldbosses, spearheads, scissors, sickles, pincers, knives, needles, buckles, kettles, etc. Bronze continued to be used for torques and kettles, the style of which were a continuity from the bronze age. One of the most prominent finds is the Dejbjerg wagon from Jutland, a four-wheeled wagon of wood with bronze parts.
The culture evolved into the Roman Iron Age.
The Jastorf culture is an Iron Age material culture in northern Europe, dated from about 600 BC to 1. It is named after a site near the village of Jastorf , Lower Saxony. Its area is delimited by the Weser in the West, the Aller in the South, and the Danish Islands in the North. It was part of the Pre-Roman Iron Age and the south Scandinavian cultures further north were closely related to this culture.
The cultures of the Pre-Roman Iron Age and their predecessor the Nordic Bronze Age are sometimes hypothesized to be the origin of the Germanic languages. The geographical distribution of the Jastorf culture seems at least to have corresponded to the West Germanic languages. Its technology for gaining iron ore from local sources may have served as a driver for language spread.
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