Hallein is a town on the Salzach river about 15km south of Salzburg. Its history can be traced back 4, 000 years and from 600 BC until the arrival of the Romans in 15 BC it was a Celtic community related to the Hallstatt and La Tène Cultures. This widespread culture developed and flourished throughout Europe during the late Iron Age. The Keltenmuseum (Celtic Museum) contains archaeological finds from that culture and also items relating to the history of the salt-mining industry which was of vital importance in the area (German Salz = salt). The museum building itself was formerly the head office for the salt industry.
Salt – the white gold
The area around Salzburg and the Salzkammergut contains the largest deposits of salt in Central Europe. The mines at Hallstatt, Hallein-Durnnberg and Bad Reichenhall are close to each other. In Hallstatt mining for salt began in the late Bronze Age, reached its peak in the Iron Age, and ended suddenly around 400 BC, possibly following a natural disaster. Mining at Hallein-Durnnberg began in the Iron Age and ended around 100 BC, at which time mining probably moved to Reichensall. The evident success of the salt industry is reflected in the wealth of archaeological finds from the Celtic graves.
Top finds: the richest graves
Iron Age graves were first discovered here in the 16th century, but in the 1960’s excavations began at Moserstein. These revealed extremely rich graves from both the Hallstatt and the La Tène periods. Subsequent excavations were carried out in Lettenbühel, Kranzbichl and Simonsbauerfeld.