|Period||Bronze Age Europe|
|Dates||c. 1600 BC — c. 1200 BC|
|Preceded by||Unetice culture|
|Followed by||Urnfield culture|
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.
In 1902, Paul Reinecke distinguished a number of cultural horizons based on research of Bronze Age hoards and tumuli in 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; 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.
The Tumulus culture was eminently a warrior society which expanded with new chiefdoms eastward into the Carpathian Basin (up to the river Tisza), and northward into Polish and central European Únětice territories, with dispersed settlements centred in fortified structures. Central European groups from southern Germany would then in this context correspond to a community with a common West Indo-European language ancestral to Italic and Celtic.
- Nora Kershaw Chadwick, J. X. W. P. Corcoran, The Celts (1970), p. 27.
- Barbara Ann Kipfer, Encyclopedic Dictionary of Archaeology (2000)
- Kortlandt, Frederik. 2007a. Italo-Celtic origins and prehistoric development of the Irish language (Amsterdam: Rodopi).
- Eska, J. F. 2010. The emergence of the Celtic languages. In The Celtic Languages, second edition edited by M. J. Ball and N. Müller. London: Routledge.