>Long Before It Was Tirol, It Was Raetia

>This unassuming, wooded hill hides the remains of a group of Raetian houses from around 400 B.C.
The Raetians were a people who moved into the lands between Lake Garda and the Karwendel Mountains by the 6th century B.C. They are somehow associated with the Etruscans (their exact relationship is disputed, but there are similarities in their alphabets and a possible genetic link has come to light); Pliny the Elder wrote that they were an Etruscan clan driven out of the Po Valley by other tribes.
A technically and spiritually advanced society, they had a high level of technical, architectural and artisanal skills. Raetian wine from the area around Verona was Caesar Augustus’ preferred drink. They raised crops and farm animals such as cattle, sheep, goats and pigs. They kept dogs and horses. They handled in raisins, tree resin, lumber, wax, honey and cheese. They made their own artistically distinct ceramics.
What’s left of their houses are these stone cellars with narrow stair corridors. The entire group was in encircled by a sort of fort wall of sharpened logs, about one meter high (more picket fence than fortress)
Archaeologists have found much metalwork: chisels, axes, blades, iron rings, keys, door and chest handles, hooks. They families that lived here apparently did so in relative comfort, security and prosperity, able to make, trade for, or buy anything they needed.
And, all around, they had quite a view to enjoy —
Also found nearby (but no longer existent) was a temple area with sacrificial altars. In better times the Raetians sacrificed animals and crops to their god(s), and used the fire altars to sanctify bronze jewelry and weapons.
In 15 B.C. the Romans decided to push northward, subjugating the Raetians and burning their villages. The survivors took to sacrificing coins, as everything else was too valuable to burn. And once the Romans forced their culture and language on everybody else, traces of the Raetians dried up.
The cellars are now preserved as a free open-air museum with signs posted giving information about the Raetians and about the archaeological finds, now on permanent exhibit at the Tiroler Landesmuseum in Innsbruck.

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