Celtic warfare Celtic tribes fought amongst each other and sometimes they allied themselves with the Romans, the Greeks and other peoples against other Celtic tribes. Tribal warfare appears to have been a regular feature of Celtic societies. Archaeology provides much information regarding the material culture of the Celts, but the significance of these finds in determining how the ancient Celts actually fought is the subject of much speculation. It was long thought, for instance, that the Celts were headhunters but recent research from France has indicated that it may have been the heads of slain allies that were collected to be placed in porticos, while the defeated were dumped in mass graves, their weapons ritually broken.
Hallstadt period Swords seem to have been the primary weapon from this period, perhaps indicating that warfare was a relatively small scale affair, possibly between groups of élite warriors. In the latter phases of the Hallstatt era, iron began to replace bronze in the manufacture of weapons and the classic "Celtic longsword" with its leaf-bladed design made its appearance.
La Tène period
The La Tène Period saw changing patterns of warfare. At the beginning of the La Tène period warfare was likely conducted on a small scale between élite warriors, perhaps in chariots, wielding a new type of Celtic longsword. During the succeeding centuries the design of the sword changed, characteristically becoming shorter, single-edged and lacking a thrusting point, designed purely to make a cut (although the Hallstatt era sword had also been primarily a slashing weapon) and greater regional variation in swords appeared: in Britain and Ireland even the longer sword designs were shorter and thinner than their Continental counterparts. With the spread of the La Tene culture at the 5th century BC, iron swords had completely replaced bronze all over Europe. These swords eventually evolved into, among others, the Roman gladius and spatha, and the Greek xiphos and the Germanic sword of the Roman Iron Age, which evolved into the Viking sword in the 8th century
Antropomorhic swords. There are two kinds of Celtic sword. The most common is the "long" sword, which usually has a stylised anthropomorphic hilt made from organic material, such as wood, bone, or horn. These swords also usually had an iron plate in front of the guard that was shaped to match the scabbard mouth. The second type is a "short" sword with either an abstract or a true anthropomorphic hilt of copper alloy.