Innovation Metal. From the Bronze Age to the Celts
Following the “Era of Humans”, the gallery tour continues its fascinating journey through time in the section “Innovation Metal. From the Bronze Age to the Celts”. The visitor can experience how people once lived along the rivers Rhine and Neckar between the 3rd millennium BC and the turn of eras.
Finds from settlements and graves in Mannheim and its hinterland offer a vivid insight into everyday life in the Bronze and Iron Ages. In this period innovative metalworking techniques were of vital importance. Original reconstructions of a smelting furnace and a bloomer furnace illustrate the extraction of bronze and iron. Indeed, these new metals had a lasting influence on societies. Elites emerged who were able to master the craftsmanship of the different materials. Due to fact that there was no copper and tin in the region, which are both essential for the production of bronze, long-distance trade developed and lead to a wide cultural exchange across Europe. Significant discoveries from the Rhine-Neckar region, including jewellery with coral layer from the Mediterranean region, testify far-reaching trade contacts that were already cultivated at the time.
Somewhat later, iron became the preferred metal. The essential raw material could be found nearby, however, heat of high degrees was necessary for its extraction. As a consequence large areas of woodland had to be cleared.
The exhibition illustrates how burial customs and settlement forms changed over the centuries. The visitor can enter a barrow from the Hallstatt period and also get an impression of fortifications and dwellings of the time. Excavations in Wallstadt brought to light a settlement with various crafts workshops of the so-called Neckarsueben. This Germanic tribe lived along the course of the Neckar at the turn of the eras. Due to the particular finds it seems evident that the influence of the Roman Empire also had increased in this region. In addition to their own goods, more and more Roman products can be found. You can find more about this topic in the following section “A Touch of Rome”.