The Hallstatt Culture dominated central and western Europe between 800–500 BCE. It was named after numerous artefacts and burials were discovered in 1846 in an old salt mine in Hallstatt, modern Austria. This proto- Celtic culture has been divided by archaeologists into four periods: A–D. Periods A–B are early Hallstatt and span 1000–800 BCE, while C–D, the late Hallstatt, span 800–500 BCE. The early culture expanded because it was based on mining and exporting salt, tin and copper to outlying regions. Salt, necessary for food preservation, was an especially valuable commodity. In the later period, when the Hallstatt culture was at its wealthiest iron tools were used for agriculture and to increase salt production, and the wealthiest graves were filled with bronze, iron, gold, silver, ceramics, shields and weapons, indicating the society was stratified. Hallstatt neighbours included the Etruscans, Illyrians, Slavs, Ligurians and, lastly, cattle-breeding Germanic Teutons, whose sphere of influence was also spreading.
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