The Tumulus Culture was recognized for its use of the single grave with a covering mound. The warriors of the Tumulus Culture were highland horse-riding cattle-herders and lived in fortified villages. Like their predecessors the Unetice, the Tumulus Culture was well-situated to receive stimuli from other regions via the established overland trade routes.
Between BC 1800 to BC 1200, Unetice-Tumulus, highland warriors began to appear in the west of Europe. They were well-armed and they spread the use of the tumulus from Bohemia to the Rhine north of the Main, then into Switzerland, Belgium, Britain and Ireland. The tumulus was in vogue for most of Europe during the Middle Bronze Age.
The tumuli of the Tumulus Culture were very similar to those of the Goidel, Unetice, Wessex and Aremorican in form but in content and number they were quite different. Grave evidence has shown that the four groups were different cultures practising a similar Burial style.
The Bavarian group was recognized for its long swords with solid hilts. Excavation of the tumuli of Hungary exposed battle axes, while the Danube groups were noted for sickle-shaped dress pins and baked clay altars with decorations of horn, boats and triangles. the tumuli of eastern France revealed bodies lying in their back in an east-west direction with the head toward the rising sun. Grave goods included pottery with designs reminiscent of the older wooden cups. Boars were an important part of the grave goods in France. In the north, objects of sun worship have been found.
The early tumulus graves contained inhumed bodies but later graves contained cremated bodies as the transition to the Urnfield Culture began. The gods were shown as symbols rather than abstracted images. The sun god was represented by the sun wheel or the left-facing swastika of the Kurgan culture, which was used by the Celts and others from India to Ireland. The fire goddess was represented by the triangle or the right-facing swastika.
The people of the Tumulus Culture developed a profitable bronze industry in weapons, jewelry and tools. During BC 15th-12th centuries, Tumulus-Urnfield warriors raided east through Thrace and Illyria, crossed the Strait of Bosporus to Anatolia, then wreaked havoc in Syria, Palestine, and Egypt.
The Egyptians referred to this group as the Sea Peoples and many of them worked as mercenaries for the Phoenicians who were developing their commercial trade route throughout the Mediterranean and into the Atlantic. They were described as ferocious warriors who wore their hair in a very stiff style.