Tumulus Culture

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Tumulus Culture


(1) An archaeological culture of the middle and late Bronze Age widespread in Central Europe from 1450 to 1250 B.C. It is represented by burial grounds, settlements (little studied), and treasures of bronze objects and ingots. It is divided into several local groups, whose common traits are the custom of constructing burial mounds, similar types of bronze articles, and the increased importance of stock raising in the economy. The burial grounds usually consist of several dozen burials (inhumation and sometimes cremation). The articles found include bronze ornaments (pins, spiral armlets, pendants), weapons, tools, and pottery with incised and stamped ornamentation.


Čujanová-Jilková, E. “Hügelgräberkultur.” In J. Filip, Enzyklopädisches Handbuch zur Ur- und Frühgeschichte Europas, vol. 1. Prague, 1966.
(2) An archaeological culture of the early Iron Age widespread in Japan in the fourth to sixth centuries A.D. (also known as the Tomb culture). It superseded the local cultures of the Bronze Age—the Sword culture and the Bell culture—whose traditions continued to develop in the Tumulus culture. The culture is characterized by the burial of feudal tribal nobility in large shoe-shaped tumuli with stone burial chambers and sarcophagi. The articles found include pottery, stone votive objects, iron weapons, mirrors, and curved jasper pendants (magatama); these articles were also a feature of the Sword culture. Arrows and pottery similar to those of the Bell culture have been found in the settlements, as well as farming tools. The Tumulus culture directly preceded the early medieval culture of the Asuka-Nara epoch, from which the first Japanese chronicles have come down to the present.


Vorob’ev, M. V. Drevniaia Iaponiia. Moscow, 1958.
Kidder, J. E. Japan Before Buddhism. London, 1959.
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As a result, they can present speculative arguments as quasi-historical events: 'Once the colonies were established, the Mycenaeans expanded their trade and explored new trading partners closer at hand, such as the emerging Tumulus Culture of southwestern Europe' (p.
Disruption in the Carpathian tell cultures and the expansion of the Mycenaean power into the western Mediterranean led to the formation of new lines of exchange between the Tumulus Culture in southern Germany and southern Scandinavia between 1500 and 1300 BC.
For the 16th-14th centuries, this pattern, centred on the Tumulus culture network with its lively trade in tin, seems to me to be infinitely more likely.
This convincingly supports their attribution to the contemporary late Tumulus Culture of central Europe (Reinecke Br C), and they are almost identical with a famous amber necklace from Barrow 2 Grave 13 at Schwarza, Thuringia (conveniently reproduced in Gimbutas 1965: plate 54).
The Urnfield period is characterized (if the last Tumulus culture finds of BrC2/D 1 are discounted) by the two horizons mentioned above.
Even the Tumulus culture cemeteries in inundated strips along the Danube, such as Pitten in Lower Austria (Benkovsky 1985) or Deggendorf-Fischerdorf in Bavaria (Schmotz 1985), may testify to a lower ground-water level during the Late Tumulus culture period.