Tumulus culture

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Bronze Age

Near East (c. 3300–1200 BC)

Caucasus, Anatolia, Aegean, Levant, Egypt, Mesopotamia, Elam, Sistan
Bronze Age collapse

South Asia (c. 3000–1200 BC)

Ochre Coloured Pottery
Cemetery H

Europe (c. 2300–600 BC)

Catacomb culture, Srubna culture, Beaker culture, Unetice culture, Tumulus culture, Urnfield culture, Hallstatt culture, Apennine culture
Atlantic Bronze Age, Bronze Age Britain, Nordic Bronze Age

China (c. 2000–700 BC)

Erlitou, Erligang

arsenical bronze
writing, literature
sword, chariot

Iron age

The Tumulus culture (German: Hügelgräberkultur) dominated Central Europe during the Middle Bronze Age (ca. 1600 BC to 1200 BC).

It was the descendant of the Unetice culture. Its heartland was the area previously occupied by the Unetice culture besides Bavaria and Württemberg. It was succeeded by the Late Bronze Age Urnfield culture.

As the name implies, the Tumulus culture is distinguished by the practice of burying the dead beneath burial mounds (tumuli or kurgans).

In 1902, Paul Reinecke distinguished a number of cultural horizons based on research of Bronze Age hoards and tumuli in South Germany that he designated A–D. The A and C periods were further divided into A1, A2 and C1 and C2 horizons. The time periods covered by these cultural horizons are shown in the table below. The Tumulus culture was prevalent during the Bronze Age periods B, C1, and C2. Tumuli have been used elsewhere in Europe from the Stone Age to the Iron Age and the term "Tumulus culture" specifically refers to the South German variant of the Bronze Age. In the table, Ha designates Hallstatt. Archaeological horizons Hallstatt A–B are part of the Bronze Age Urnfield culture, while horizons Hallstatt C–D are the type site for the Iron Age Hallstatt culture.

Central European Bronze Age
Late Bronze Age
Ha B2/3 800–950 v. Chr.
Ha B1 950–1050 v. Chr.
Ha A2 1050–1100 v. Chr.
Ha A1 1100–1200 v. Chr.
Bz D 1200–1300 v. Chr.
Middle Bronze Age
Bz C2 1300–1400 v. Chr.
Bz C1 1400–1500 v. Chr.
Bz B 1500–1600 v. Chr.
Early Bronze Age
Bz A2 1600–2000 v. Chr.
Bz A1 2000–2200 v. Chr.

See also[edit]


  • Nora Kershaw Chadwick, J. X. W. P. Corcoran, The Celts (1970), p. 27.[1]
  • Barbara Ann Kipfer, Encyclopedic Dictionary of Archaeology (2000)