Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales

Can we identify the Celts through their art?

Celtic art, also known as La Tène art, appears as an art-style in Switzerland, Austria, southern Germany and eastern France during the fifth century BC. This style was different from that of the Mediterranean world. Greek and Roman patterns were often borrowed. Most of the decorative pieces that are preserved are high status display objects and warrior equipment. The art appears in stone, metal, pottery, wood and glass. By 200BC the British Isles were developing their own distinctive styles.

Archaeologists studying Celtic art question its meaning. The art has often been used to suggest a pan- European 'Celtic Society' with common religious belief and language. A shared art form need not reflect a single ethnic identity. Celtic art may have been a fashion statement that swept across the continent.