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History of Luxembourg
 
 
 

Early History

In the territory now covered by the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, there is evidence of primitive inhabitants right back to the Paleolithic or old stone age over 35,000 years ago. The oldest artifacts from this period are decorated bones found at Oetrange.

However, the first real evidence of civilisation is from the Neolithic or 5th millennium BC when houses began to appear. Traces have been found in the south of Luxembourg at Grevenmacher, Diekirch, Aspelt and Weiler-la-Tour. The dwellings were made of a combination of tree trunks for the basic structure, mud-clad wickerwork walls, and roofs of thatched reeds or straw. Pottery from this period has been found near Remerschen.

While there is not much evidence of communities in Luxembourg at the beginning of the Bronze Age, a number of sites dating back to the period between the 13th and the 8th century BC provide evidence of dwellings and reveal artifacts such as pottery, knives and jewellery. These include Nospelt, Dalheim, Mompach and Remerschen.

Celtic Luxembourg existed during the period from roughly 600 BC until 100 AD, when the Celts inhabited what is now the territory of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.The Celts inhabited large areas of Europe from the Danube to the Rhine and Rhône during this time. It was around 100 BC that the Treveri, one of the Celtic tribes, entered a period of prosperity. They constructed a number of fortified settlements or oppida near the Moselle valley in what is now southern Luxembourg, western Germany and eastern France.

The Celtic civilisation reached its height in the 1st century BC, prior to the Roman conquest in 54 BC. Most of the evidence from that period has been discovered in tombs, many closely associated with Titelberg, a 50 ha site which reveals much about the dwellings and handicrafts of the period.

The Celtic tribe in what is now Luxembourg during and after the La Tène period was known as the Treveri. By and large, the Treveri were more co-operative with the Romans, who completed their occupation in 53 BC under Julius Caesar, than most Gallic tribes. Two first-century revolts did not permanently damage their cordial relations with Rome, and the Treveri adapted readily to Roman civilisation.

Medieval Period

The history of Luxembourg properly began with the construction of Luxembourg Castle in the Middle Ages. It was Siegfried I, Count of Ardennes who traded some of his ancestral lands with the monks of the Abbey of St. Maximin in Trier in 963 for an ancient, supposedly Roman, fort by the name of Lucilinburhuc. Modern historians explain the etymology of the word with Letze, meaning fortification which might have referred to either the remains of a Roman watchtower or to a primitive refuge of the early Middle Ages.


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