Replica of a Celtic village. Photo:

Celtic Culture in the Alpine Region

Switzerland and its rivers, roads and mountain passes have always been at the crossroads of European trade, ideas, culture and communication. Several Celtic tribes inhabited this area long before the Roman invasion (c. 15-13 B.C.).

These tribes were ruled by aristocracies and kings who owed their prestige to warfare and a clientele system. The Romans called the settlements on the top of hills oppida (oppidum). An example is the reconstruction of the oppidum Mont Vully on the shore of Lake of Morat (Vaud). 

Le Mont-Vully, la Tène near Neuchâtel, Hallstatt in Austria, Bibracte near Autun in France and Heuneburg in Germany are a few of the many locations of the rich Celtic culture in the Alpine region. The Celts are known for their craftsmanship, weaponry and trade. They were not “barbarians”, as the Romans described them.

The Celtic Museum Heuneburg in Herbertingen-Hundersingen shows the original finds discovered throughout years of excavation. The exhibition shows their contact with other cultures:

  • Greek imports
  • Amber from the Baltic Sea
  • Jewellery from Slovenia
  • Transport amphoras from Marseilles

The Heuneburg is an early Celtic princely residence and one of the oldest towns in the Northern Alpine Region. The Heuneburg area was an economic and political centre in the early Iron Age (circa 620 – 480 BC). 

(Further information: