La Tene Maps is an Irish company set up in Dublin in the 1980’s by John Coleman, a cartographer, geographer, archaeologist and teacher. John was educated at University College Dublin and University of Glasgow, Scotland. John now heads a small team of German, Irish and Spanish staff from the company’s offices in Shankill, Co. Dublin, Ireland. This team is augmented by specialists and interns as the need arises.
The La Tene part of the company name reflects both the Irishness of the company and the founders historic links with archaeology. In Ireland La Tene is an archaeological term given to the classical phase of Celtic art. The typesite for the art style is a place called La Tene located on the northern edge of Lake Neuchâtel in Switzerland. The company logo includes the celtic triskele and the triple spiral ending in a birds head which is characteristic of Irish Celtic and early Christian art.
Historic Background Of The La Tène Culture
Located on the northern edge of Lake Neuchâtel in Switzerland, La Tène was identified as an archaeological site in 1857 when amateur archaeologist, Hansli Kopp, found some ancient iron weapons and timber piles driven into the bed of the lake. Draining and dredging the section of the lake in the 1860’s and 1880’s revealed an exceptional wealth of artifacts, including human remains, swords, spearheads, tools and shields. The extraordinary quantity of artifacts recovered since then have convinced archaeologists that La Tène is a representative site for the period of greatest Celtic development and expansion.
One most important and distinctively different feature of the La Tène culture is the unique art-style, usually represented in their metalwork. This style most likely developed between the Meuse, Neckar, and Main, and had spread quite rapidly. The era in which it flourished begins around 500 B.C. and ends, on the European continent at least, around 50 B.C.
La Tène Culture lifts the Celts from being just another of the many European tribal peoples. La Tène truly establishes the Celts as a real ‘civilization’. La Tène Culture generated some of the ancient world’s most stunningly beautiful pieces of decorative art. The use of animals, plants, and spiral patterns in the art eventually epitomized and perpetuated the legend of the Celts.
With the La Tène Culture, the Celts came of age and marked a major cultural presence in Europe. Through La Tène, European peoples saw them as important, powerful, and something to be feared. Their spread across the continent and their impressive presence made them a force to be reckoned with. From Germany and Eastern Europe they spread southward into the Balkans and Italy, and westward into France and Iberia. Before the La Tène Culture of the Celts was finally destroyed by Roman conquest and culture, some of its elements had traveled beyond the continent into the British Isles. Ireland remained (at least no evidence suggests) untouched by the Romans.