Artistic Expression and Material Culture in Celtic Gallaecia
115southwest of the region (
), and representations of human heads,which are mainly found in Galicia (the largest part of the ancient and largest Romanadministrative region known as Gallaecia).2.
This, and the following manifestations, would be labelled as "minor arts"by traditional art historians. All material expressions in the northwestern IberianPeninsula, however, were tightly linked: the same motifs and a similar grammar canbe found in stone, gold and pottery, thus allowing a "pervasive style" (de Boer 1991)to be defined. Three main types of artifacts can be identified here: torcs, belts, andearrings. A marked regional diversity, with important socio-political implications, canbe seen.3.
Only a handful of pieces have been recovered. Four types of artifacts will be taken into account, three of them related to ritual and one associatedwith war: cauldrons; sacrificial axes; ceremonial cart models and helmets. Unlikeother "Celtic" areas in Europe, scabbards, hilts, swords and daggers lack almost anydecoration in Gallaecia. Except for the ceremonial cart model, the rest of thedecorated bronzes probably belong to the Late Iron Age.4.
In the Middle Iron Age (400-100 BC) an outstanding decorated potterytradition appeared in southwestern Gallaecia. Some baroquely decorated containerswere still produced in the Late Iron Age. Local pottery has little in common with theLa Tène style or other continental traditions, either in shape, technology ordecoration. Parallels with other Atlantic regions are not seen until well into the LateIron Age and only in the northernmost area.A brief description of each artifact category will be given, followed by a catalogue of some representative pieces. The references for each work do not represent a comprehensivebibliography, but only the most important or recent titles. Older sources are mentioned only if they contain relevant context-related data. Calo Louridos' Ph.D. thesis
published as a book (Calo1994)
represents the most comprehensive and updated account of the Iron Age sculpture innorthwestern Iberia, and includes a complete bibliography up to 1991 as well as a good summaryof each site. A recent number of the journal
(Vol. 44, 2003) is devoted towarrior statues in Gallaecia. For jewellery, two catalogues were consulted: Balseiro (1994) andÁlvarez Núñez (1996). Bronzes and pottery lack good monographs. Silva's (1986) Ph.D. thesiscontains a significant amount of information, drawings and photographs of sculptures, jewellery,bronzes and pottery in northwestern Portugal. The place where each piece is now located isindicated following the relevant sources in the catalogue below.The area referred to in this article is the territory called
by the Romans,