Conclusion

From most surveys of the evidence it is apparent that the Plastic Styles are conventionally associated with the historically attested expansion of Celts, especially into SouthEastern Europe, in much the same way that the Waldalgesheim or Vegetal Style was seen as the archaeological manifestation of a Celtic presence in Italy a generation or two earlier. It is not our purpose here to deny such possible correlations, merely to suggest that there could be a number of other factors that might be involved. We must ask, as with Italy and Waldalgesheim La Tene, would anyone believe that the limited distribution of La Tene artefacts in South-Eastern Europe was the product of invasion without historical corroboration? The expansion of La Tene culture into eastern Central Europe is a rather different matter, since it is substantially documented by the evidence of settlements and cemeteries as well as material artefacts. Long-distance links are certainly evident from the archaeological distribution. But not only are there grounds for believing that transmission was east-west as well as west-east, there were also links with the north that require explanation, for which no classical historians were on hand to furnish us with a ready-made interpretation. As with the Gaulish invasion of Italy, so the Cimbric and Teutonic invasions of the late second century were in all probability only the historically recorded tip of a very much deeper iceberg.

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