The recent results from the deep clade tests with Family Tree DNA have provided some insights as to who we were 2800 years ago.  My results indicated I was an R1b1a2a1a1b4 or, in the shorthand version, an L21. 

The R1b's and more specifically the L21's (R1b1a2a1a1b4) and the closely related U152's (R1b1a2a1a1b3) appear to be the most prominent haplogroup clades of the Hallstatt culture.  Other haplogroups existed in the culture such as R1a, I1, J2, E1b, and G - just in much lower percentages.  This culture gets its name from the village of Hallstatt, Austria which is at the epicenter of a much larger population range.  This culture, and to some extent population, extended out like ripples on a pond from the Hallstatt area.  A culture can spread through a stationary population.  A culture will also move with a migratory population.  The L21's and R152's and others were in this central Europe region from earlier times.

The total Hallstatt area extends from the present day Czech Republic westward through much of modern France and 2/3's of the Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal).  In much of Austria and Germany, the population remained north of the Alps and tended to follow the Danube River.  The core Hallstatt culture area dates from 800 years BC to 600 years BC in the immediate area of Hallstatt, Austria.  This core area is referred to as the East Hallstatt Zone.  By 500 BC, a West Hallstatt Zone had formed with its focus being the southern Rhein River and the surrounding areas of Southern France, Switzerland and SW Germany.  The Hallstatt culture was able to spread into this area through the back and forth traffic  across the southern Rhein River.  In this area the Rhein is easily crossable especially in the winter months as the feeder waters are frozen in the Alps as snow and ice.  Even the water level of the Bodensee (Lake Constance) which is fed by the Rhein River drops significantly in the winter to the point that one can almost walk on dry land halfway across the huge lake bed before encountering the Rhein current.  This west Hallstatt zone is considered the core of the Le Tene Celtic Culture (450 BC to 1st Century BC).

The Hallstatt culture developed from the Urnfield culture of the Late Bronze Age (1300 BC) which devloped from the earlier cultures of Middle Bronze / Tumulus (1600 BC); Early Bronze Age / Unetice (2300 BC); and late Stone Age / Neolithic Bell-Beaker (2800 BC) - going all the way back to the Middle Stone Age / Mesolithic and Early Stone Age cultures of 9,000+ years BC. The earlier cultures would also have similar genetics (haplogroups) if the population remained relatively stable.  There was a later migratory thrust of Neolithic (New Stone Age) expansion into Europe about 5000 BC into what would later become the the Hallstatt area.  This is referred to as the Thessalio-Danubian (Danube River) Branch.  The Hallstatt culture became the prominent culture of Central Europe during the Early Iron Age (800 BC to 600 BC).  The Hallstatt area was just a part of a much larger geographic area that was using the Indo-European languages from which the major languages of Europe, Northern India, and Iran developed.  One of the sub-divisions of the Indo-European languages was the Germanic languages. 

The earliest Germanic language form is referred to as Proto-Germanic language developing about 200 BC along the Roman borders in central Europe.  Proto-Germanic languages would sub-divide into Northern Germanic languages, East Germanic languages, and West Germanic languages.  The West Germanic language would subdivide into modern German, Dutch, and English.  It is from the German speaking settlers in England and due to the insular or isolated conditions of living on an island that the English language developed.  Those living in Southern Germany and Austria would develop Hoch Deutsch (or High German) from the West Germanic language.

One branch of the High German spoken in Southern Germany is the Alemanni Group of dialects.  This group of dialects is named after the Alemanni Tribe who occupied the region at the time the High German language was developing.  The immediate area of Pappenheim in Middle Franconia (now in Bavaria) would fall on the border of three dialects.  These were: Frank dialect, Bavarian dialect, and the Swabian dialect.  The Haupts of Pappenheim most likely spoke with the Frank dialect.  The earliest Alemannic text dates to the 500's AD.

Back to our original topic ....Those of the Hallstatt culture spoke a language more primitive than German.  It appears that the branch of Indo-European language that developed in the Hallstatt area was Proto-Celtic also referred to as Common Celtic which developed about 1000 BC.

The residents of the Hallstatt area are referred to as Continental Celtics (pronounced Keltic).  This was the culture of the area from about 2,800 years ago (800 BC) to about 2,000 years ago (includes Le Tene Culture).  It is from the West Halstatt Zone (centered on the southern Rhein River) that migrations would take place that would add to the population of the islands of modern United Kingdom.  There were also some migrations from the West Hallstatt areas that bordered the Atlantic Ocean (Spain, Portugal, and France).  The genetic Haplogroups that makeup of the population of this immediate coastal region were there long before the Hallstatt/Celtic culture spread to the coastal areas.  Most of the original UK population would come from the Rhein Valley.  With these migrants, the Celtic culture would spread.  These migrations, however, date back to about 9,000 BC during the Mesolithic or Middle Stone Age (before the Celtic culture was established).  The Celtic culture carried by the later migrants (2,500 years ago to 2,000 years ago) still remains in much of the northwest UK (i.e. Ireland).  The Continental Celtic culture however appear to have disappeared/changed as a result of the influence of the Roman culture from about 50 BC to 486 AD. 

Modern genetics indicates that the L21's and the closely related U152's are very well represented in the United Kingdom.  Other R1b's are also represented in the UK as are the other haplogroups previously listed.  Researchers are now beginning to collect much evidence to show the same is true for the East and West Hallstatt zones of Central Europe which would verify this migratory path of peoples (and their culture).  There have even been much more recent migrations from the southern and central Rhein Valley to the United Kingdom.  Tens-of-thousands of Palatines migrated out of the Rhein Valley throughout the 1700's.  The initial migrants (1709) settled initially in tent camps around London and other cities.  With them came their genetic haplogroups (which matched the earlier Celts and previous cultures) minus the Celtic culture.  They were now Germanic peoples.  Becoming a burden on the English, it was decided to send them elsewhere.  Some were shipped to Ireland.  Most were shipped to the Hudson River Valley of the New York Colony and New Bern, North Carolina.  Some managed to remain in England.  By the 1720's and 30's, the main destination would be Philadelphia, PA.  By this time, the decision to migrate to the colonies was the desire of individuals and their families. Over the years, dating all the way back to the Mesolithic (before the the early Bell-Beaker culture),  England and larger United Kingdom has been regularly replenished with individuals from the Rhein Valley of Germany.  This is why the Y-DNA genetics of the UK males shows a very high concentration of the R1b Haplogroups.  The Y-DNA deep clade studies are adding much data to support this. The fact that today Germany has only about 45-50% R1b population is the result of R1b's exiting out (over the years) and the mass tribal migrations (and other factors) that occured in post Roman years bringing in and increasing the other Haplogroups in Germany (i.e. Goths, Vandals, Huns, etc.). The UK was isolated from this effect.  The R1b population in the Hallstatt region of Germany at one point was likely 90% and possibly higher.

Just who were these Continental Celts?

The Continental Celts are now considered to be more sophisticated than once thought.  The Celts had a vast network of cities that were connected by road systems.  Indeed major European cities today such as London, Paris, Geneva, and Budapest were originally Celtic Hill-Forts.  They were master craftsmen.  Their Celtic wooden wheels with spokes had iron tires attached with nails. These were developed about 700 BC.  By 200 BC the technology of cooling the heated iron so that it shrinks onto the wooden wheel was developed.  This technology would last nearly 2000 years and was the very way Conestoga Wagon Wheels were made in the 1700's.  These durable wagon wheels were used on their network of roads.  Some of these roads were plank roads or timber roads through low lying wetlands and bogs.  Again this road technology lasted 2000 years as colonial America constructed many plank roads to hold the weight of large wagons.  Many of the roads once thought to be constructed by the Romans in central Europe were actually built by the Celts.

The Celts were rather rich in gold.  One estimate is that they had over 400 active gold mines.  They had advanced mining techniques and were skilled the production of iron and iron alloys (i.e. steel).  This use of steel surpassed the use of bronze about 700 BC.  As a result, excellent weaponry was developed (swords, blades, axes, etc).  The iron plow allowed farm based communities to develop.  Chain mail shirts were invented which were composed of numerous steel rings interlocked with each other.  This proved valuable protection in combat.  This technology lasted 1500 years.

The Celts were excellent horsemen and warriors.  They were hired as mercenaries by Dionysius I of Syracuse and sent to Greece to battle against Thebes.

The Celts had a much more advanced lunar and solar calendar than what the Greeks and Romans had - dating back to 3200 BC.

The biggest drawback to their civilization was the fact that they had no written language which prevented the development of a centralized government.  The intellectual leaders of the Celts were the Druids.  The Druids were regarded as healers, advisers to kings, religious leaders, judges of earthly matters, scientists (astronomers), believed in astrology, calendar keepers, and magicians.  The Celts worshipped many Gods as did the Greeks and Romans.  The Druids used Greek with anything that needed to be written but chose not to write down anything considered to be doctrine.

Celtic women were accepted into leadership roles as chieftains, druids, and warriors.  This was drastically different than Roman and Greek societies.

What happened to the Continental Celts?

The Romans brutally encountered these Continental Celts and their many tribes during the Roman invasions of Central Europe as their territories shared common borders.  It now appears that these Roman invasions were the result of earlier conflicts along the territorial borders.  The Continental Celts invaded Italy and did much damage to Rome about 387 BC under the leadership of Brennus.  Rome would eventually seek revenge.

Roman General Julius Caesar decided about 58 BC to send soldiers across the border into Celtic lands and began the Gallic Wars which lasted until 51 BC.  It was his victory in the Battle of Alesia in 52 BC that really led to the domination of what is now modern France by the Romans.  This area would be called Gallia or Gaul.  According to Roman writers, 3 million total Celtic tribesmen were involved of which 1 million were killed and 1 million were enslaved.  They further write that 300 tribes were subjugated and 800 cities were destroyed.  Modern historians believe these numbers were greatly exaggerated.  They believe it was more like 16,000 tribesmen against 30,000 Romans.

During this same time, Caesar also had invasions of Britain (55 and 54 BC).  It would be later in 43 AD that the main conquest of Britain would occur and by 77 AD full Roman conquest of Britain would be completed.  By 400 AD all Roman forces would be called back to Rome from Britain.  They simply became over-extended and occupying both Britain and France was too expensive.  In 476 AD, Celtic tribes would invade Roman territory in Italy and conquer Rome.  It was in 486 AD under the leadership of King Clovis I that the Franks would defeat the Romans in Gaul.  To the German Franks this would now be called the Empire of the Franks or Frankreich.  We now know it to be France.

The Romans would also be in what is now southern Germany (Bavaria and Baden-Wuerttemberg) around 10 BC.  They had been in the Rheinland earlier as a result of the Gallic Wars.  The Romans set up a limes wall of earthen, wood and stone fortifications from near Bingen on the Rhein to the area between Ingolstadt and Regensburg on the Danube (200 miles).  They controlled everything west of the Rhein, southwest of this wall, and everything south of the Danube River.  Their influence extended beyond these boundaries.

During the centuries of Roman occupation in Continental Celtic lands (approx. 540 years), the Celts were basically Romanized and the Celtic culture vanished from the continent. The Romans had a lessened impact on Britain as they were only there 300-350 y
ears - so some Celtic areas were able to maintain Celtic customs.

Why did Caesar decide to take on the Celts?  It seems he was greatly in debt and needed the Celtic gold to pay his soldiers. He also wanted to enhance his military resume.

It is as they say, to the victor goes the spoils.  It is the conquering leader that gets to write the history.  This is now believed to be the reason the Celts have been depicted as primitive, ignorant, uncultured, barbarians.  Recent archeological evidence discovered and other historical facts collected have developed this new understanding of the Celtic culture of Central Europe.

Much of the above comes from two recent works.  James Francis Smith's book of 2004 entitled
The Celtic Invasion of Rome is a non-fiction work based on historical fact and archeological evidence.  The second source is a BBC production entitled "Barbarians" The Primitive Celts produced in 2006 narrated by Terry Jones.  You can use the link below to view this BBC production.  It is worth the view.

Ray Haupt  (written Sept. 19, 2009) - updated Feb. 26, 2012
BA Biology UNC-Greensboro

Here is a link to a great video by the BBC on the "Barbarians - The Primitive Celts".  It is really worth viewing.

Cultures Before the Hallstatt Celts

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