> Hi John,
> I have always wondered why the Bretons were not affected by the
> Hallstatt culture and whether they were bi-passed for geographical
> reasons - and it sounds like you can answer that question :)
Hallstatt is rather an ambiguous term. It can refer specifically to the
culture or generally to the period where it is used to describe broad
styles of objects spanning the late BA and the early IA.
There is very little from Brittany and the most convenient answer would
be to say that as the area is remote and not really on the way to
anywhere, and this is why we do not see much stray Hallstatt stuff
showing up there. However, we also do not see much La Tene metalwork
(other than lots of coins) showing up there either and we know that
various tribes were there and that they played an active role in the
Gallic war, and built hillforts etc.
The coins provide a clue. Whenever I see an Armorican billon stater, I
wonder which hoard it was from. Stray finds do exist but they are rather
rare: even Alet, which was an important Coriosolite port and which has
been excavated, has yielded very few coins. Yet hoards of Armorican
coins from Brittany and Normandy can number hundreds and even into the
low thousands and those from Jersey can sometimes go even higher (exact
data on many hoards discovered in the19th century is vague).
The profiles of the Jersey hoards revealed to me that the coins had been
gathered from various locations around Brittany and Normandy. The Le
Catillon hoard being especially informative because many of the coins
were test-cut to see the colour of the internal metal and because it
also contained other scrap metal -- part of a torc, brooches etc. A
small "multiple deposit" from the Chatellier fort (Le Petit Celland) in
Normandy was excavated by Mortimer Wheeler. It follows the profile of
the Jersey hoards (which differs from the Breton hoards in containing
large percentages of coins from Normandy (espcially, the former, Class
II Coriosolite which I reassigned to the Unelli under Viridovix). It
also contained pottery of types also found at Hengistbury in Dorset.
Hengistbury was a port which not only brought in goods from Alet, but
also had facilities to recycle billon (cupellation). That deposit was
found in a scatter under the burnt remains of a makeshift gate to the
unfinished, and long abandoned, fort.
Alet had been destroyed by the Romans in about 15 A.D. This coincided
with a severe monetary economic downturn of the Durotriges in Dorset in
favour of the tribes (mostly) north of the Thames, and I believe this to
have started with the terms of surrender to Caesar by Cassivellaunos.
Philip de Jersey has noted that British A gold staters -- which John
Kent assigned to Cassivellaunos and are certainly a federal coinage, do
not show up in Durotriges territory. Yet their own "white gold" to
silver staters which eventually debase all the way to crude cast copper
coins are derived in their design from British A.
Putting all of this together, the Armorican federation in Brittany was
economically aligned to the Durotriges in England (perhaps also with
other S.W. tribes) and both the Durotriges and the Brittany tribes were
especially punished by the Romans to the advantage of other British and
Gaulish tribes. For a while, the Brittany tribes survived through the
sale of scrap metal which was hidden in Jersey pending large exports of
it to Hengistbury but this seems to have come to an end at the same time
that Alet was destroyed by a Roman "police action".
In the light of this, it seems that the missing Brittany metalwork all
ended up in the melting pots, most likely at Hengistbury. I can offer
some suggestions as to the styles of this melted down metalwork for the
La Tene period: most of it would be less likely to have been decorated
in the Marnian fashion and more likely to have been derived from the
Rhineland/Saar styles as it would have followed a related stylistic
development to the coinage. The Armorican coin style largely descends
from the eastern Armorican, Aulerci Cenomani who had migrated into the
Sarthe region from the west Rhineland-Palatinate area in about 100 B.C.
( this might have merely been the last of several, similar, migrations.
I have some evidence, not yet fully worked out, that some such derived
eastern Armorican iconography dates to at least the 3rd century B.C.)