J Archaeol Res (2009) 17:347–423 DOI 10.


Unity and Diversity in the European Iron Age: Out of the Mists, Some Clarity?
Tina Thurston

Published online: 14 May 2009 Ó Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Abstract While some researchers continue to focus fruitfully on traditional issues, in recent years new perspectives, some strongly revisionist, have developed within European Iron Age archaeology, moving it from a long-static state into a rapidly changing milieu. Studies of colonialism, imperialism, and interaction have undergone sequential shifts into new territory, while topics related to sacred activity, political apparatuses, and the ruler-subject relationship have undergone substantial reworking. Perspectives absent from earlier literature have emerged: gender, age, ethnicity, and identity, and interpretations employing theories of practice, agency, landscape, and embodiment have emerged, mirroring broader disciplinary shifts. An overarching trend sees Iron Age Europe as a series of interactive societies with both broad similarities and sharp regional, even local, differences, moving through time and ever-changing relationships, influences, and trajectories. The collision of traditional and revisionist scholarship has produced debate, some heated, but has improved and invigorated the field. Keywords Iron Age Á Europe Á Colonialism Á Political development Á Ethnicity Á Identity Á Religion Á Paradigm shift

Introduction In their 1995 introduction to the volume Celtic Chiefdom, Celtic State, Arnold and Gibson (1995) likened the legacy of European Iron Age studies to a mist: a scholarly mist, blown in through a fragmented approach and the lingering paradigms of another age. Piccini (1996) also refers to this mist as a metaphor for the public love
T. Thurston (&) Department of Anthropology, 380 MFAC/Ellicott, State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY 14261, USA e-mail: tt27@buffalo.edu



J Archaeol Res (2009) 17:347–423

affair with an Iron Age romanticized through a millennium of folkloric literature, peaking with the 19th century Celtic Revival movement that touched everything from arts and literature to politics (Daverio 1998; Witoczek 2002). This tradition continues today, sometimes called Celtomania (Brown 2006; Collis 1997a; James 1999; Sims-Williams 1998), through film and television depictions of a legendary, heroic past (Piccini 1996, pp. 91–96). The allusion to an elusive, wavering image was in both cases a reference to the magical mists that accompany the appearance of supernaturals in many Celtic epics or folktales (Puhvel 1978; Sayers 1985). Reconstituted by the still best-selling fantasy novel The Mists of Avalon (Bradley 1983), the Celtic mist also has become a hackneyed component of the New Age idiom, used to flog everything from books on Wiccan philosophy to Irish-inspired elevator music (Possamai 2002). For this popular audience, the misty Iron Age is inexorably linked with quasihistorical fiction, increasing interest in pre-Christian religions, and inspiration for fantasy roleplayers and creative anachronists. At its worst, this popular interest inspires fanatics seeking Aryan or Celtic roots (Dobratz 2001; McCarthy and Hague 2004); at its questionable best, it evokes images of Pythonesque peasants mucking around in marshes and bogs (e.g., Firstbrook 2003). It is uncommon to find political development, urbanization, or the colonial ` encounters of the La Tene Iron Age being taught as a case study alongside the Valley of Mexico, the Indus, or Mesopotamia in an American university or college, for example. Few know much about it, perhaps because well into the recent past, and in some quarters, today much Iron Age terminology is garnered from the 19th century, with a confusing mass of named cultures and phases that describe ‘‘peoples’’ long-pegged into narrow culture-historic holes. The literature is in dozens of languages unknown to Anglophone readers, and in some cases still consists of dry tracts on endless varieties of fibulae. As a result of these strange attractors—speculative fiction, neopaganism, and the musty premises of Kulturkreis, Volksgeist, Urheim, and 19th century diffusionism—the European Iron Age long suffered from a lingering identity crisis. This unfortunately obscures recent innovative theoretical trajectories for this fascinating period of both precipitous and creeping internal change, intercultural contact, colonialism, and imperialism, where prehistoric peoples mix with protohistoric chroniclers, and where ostensibly familiar ‘‘European’’ social patterns reside alongside startlingly unexpected practices and cognitive structures (Champion 1987; Hill 1989). The concept of ‘‘unity and diversity’’ has been used by a number of authors (Hingley 2005; Woolf 1997) to describe the Roman conquest of many distinct peoples and the nature and extent of cultural imperialism that followed, but it also is largely applicable to the greater temporal and geographic extent of the Iron Age. Many underlying cultural practices were shared across pre-Roman Iron Age Europe, perhaps as a result of long-distance mobility and communications during the earlier Bronze Age (Evans et al. 2006; Harding 2000; Kristiansen 1998; Kristiansen and Larsson 2005; Price et al. 1998, 2004; Van der Linden 2007), where interregional interactions were the norm; some studies indicate much earlier interactions (McEvoy et al. 2004). During the Iron Age, a period with significantly different social traditions and political structures, Europe was impacted and changed yet again by the historical


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events and processes unique to each region, or even each local group. This creates opportunities for comparative and contextual studies, as it is possible to relate changes in social substrata to other changing conditions—political, economic, or sacred—and evaluate the impact on their trajectories. Despite their connections, there are many cultural singularities, making it highly productive and sometimes more appropriate to focus on the developments within individual societies. Many authors now attempt both approaches simultaneously. Overall, the sea change in Iron Age studies is well described by James (2000, p. 307): ‘‘The shift it outlines in archaeological conceptions of the Iron Age (supplementing metalwork, graves and hillforts with vast numbers of smaller settlements and entire landscapes, and far more sophisticated interpretative frameworks) is too huge and profound ever to be reversed.’’ Iron Age Europe began to shed its perceived ‘‘antiquarian’’ past in the late 1980s, and a larger audience can now find both interest and utility in current research. This review contrasts older views with paradigm shifts and recent work over the past 15–20 years.

Geographic and temporal boundaries: Where, when, and what was Iron Age Europe? Iron Age Europe can be defined in several ways; here we will say that ‘‘Europe’’ stretches from Scandinavia to the Mediterranean and from the Atlantic to the Danube River, a substantial cultural barrier between the Europeans and Scythians. Western Scythians shared many interactions, and eventually traditions, with Europeans, but to consider their impact would require a discussion of western China, Siberia, Iran, and Afghanistan, difficult even within Steppe studies (Hanks 2002; but see Boyle et al. 2002; Sindbæk 1999; Wells 2001). Temporally (Fig. 1), the Iron Age is relatively brief yet includes both prehistoric and historic cultures. It also is time-transgressive, beginning in Greece in the 12th

Fig. 1 A simplified chronology for Iron Age Europe


C. or the Baltic region..C.C. but other interactions created Roman ‘‘eras’’ even in non-Roman lands. I employ the standard temporal concept of the Iron Age: for much of continental Europe and parts of Britain. 100 century B.D. procured. 2). the north European plain. 1000. an alloy whose production required the coordination of metals from disparate sources or long-distance trade in ready-made ingots.350 J Archaeol Res (2009) 17:347–423 Fig. northern Scotland. The Roman and post-Roman worlds of these peoples and their interactions with medieval Europe constitutes a subject area outside the scope of this review./1st century A.. spreading into Italy in the 9th century and central Europe by the 8th century B.D. 2 Roman Europe at its greatest extent.C. Culturally. ending the era somewhat abruptly during the late 1st century B. The Romans never conquered Ireland. iron could be locally produced. it lasted only until conquest by the Romans (Fig.D. Scandinavia. lasting until the 5th century A. which decapitated indigenous societies. Unlike bronze. and into northern Europe around the 6th century B. Of course the Iron Age has something to do with adoption of iron technology.D. and controlled in many places. in northern and eastern Europe. a largely ‘‘prehistoric’’ Iron Age continued as late as A. ca A. leading to distinctly changed 123 .

the Iron Age is a Celtic age. In traditional culture-historic terms. b.. Kristiansen and Larsson 2005). Hill 1995a. this perception has come under scrutiny or outright revision (Champion 1996. and agendas that may be telling us something important about the past. Traditionally. depending on the author’s discipline. production and control of bronze for a European ‘‘market’’ shifted into Europe itself. The Iron Age can be approached from several directions—archaeological. Cunliffe 1997a). France. c).’’ Others 123 . It is also a time of Germanic and Nordic florescence.J Archaeol Res (2009) 17:347–423 351 political economies. eastern Europe saw the development of stratified societies that lay in areas geographically linking the Aegean and destinations to the west and north. c. areas identified by many archaeologists with later Celts (Cunliffe 1997a. Italy. which often present narratives that belie many underlying scholarly conflicts and debates.g. To some scholars. emerged in central Europe around 1200 B. 43). Yet the Iron Age involves many other significant issues as well. leading some to label late Urnfield cultures between 1300 and 800 B. p. for others.C. Yet this was not the first time Europe was home to social and political complexity. and linguistic—domains that sometimes provide contradictory data. At one time this meant that one type of evidence was privileged and others explained away. Collis 1997a. Milisauskas 2002).C. a bronzeworking tradition hypothesized to have filled a gap in the production and crafting of bronze after the collapse of Southwest Asian and Mediterranean sources that had previously provided substantial material for trade to as far away as Scandinavia. and a different functioning of metals within society. A cultural tradition of the late Bronze Age. During the Mediterranean Bronze Age. leading them to ‘‘emulate’’ those neighbors. most scholars would agree that the roots of the European Iron Age. and what came to be called Keltoi and Germani by the later Greeks and Romans. or from chapters in several regional archaeological compendia (Cunliffe 1997b.. the development of socially stratified Bronze Age European societies has been attributed solely to their interaction and trade with extant polities. a hallmark of recent studies is a willingness to investigate them as traces of conflicts between past processes. and parts of Spain. patterns of trade. as possible ‘‘proto-Celts. Urnfield-style material culture ranged from Hungary through the Alps to Germany. but in the opportunistic role of central Europeans in taking up the bronze trade when their more southerly suppliers could no longer provide it. During this gap. Archaeologically. institutions. one may glean a set of facts about the European Iron Age from the preamble of any book concerning the era (e. Collis 1997b. As opposed to doubting all inconsistencies. an idea that has recently fallen far out of favor (Kristiansen 1998. are found not directly in trade with the Mediterranean. providing fuel for further social stratification there. Archaeological background The Iron Age is an era of complex societies—chiefdoms or states in standard terminology. Eventually. and the early Iron Age should be seen as an outgrowth of processes already in place. textual. collectively called the Urnfield tradition. such as the Mycenaeans.

This culture (or horizon). Traditional theorists suggested that burials with ¨ Greek wine vessels equaled a social ‘‘addiction’’ to imported alcohol. the Phoenicians planted urban colonies around the western Mediterranean in areas that today comprise southern Italy. Hallstatt elite riders with Caesar’s accounts many centuries later. at one time changing trade routes were cited as the primary causal factor. Phoenician settlements were followed by the colonies of the later Archaic and Classic period Greeks. 19th and earlier 20th century archaeologists immediately equated the 8th century B. Much later. according to traditional models. especially metal artifacts related to horses and riders as well as other elite ornaments and equipment. but burning and destruction at many sites indicates a more complicated scenario. where too. is called Hallstatt after the type-site cemetery of a group associated with supposed control of the salt-trading route in the Hallein region of Austria.352 J Archaeol Res (2009) 17:347–423 (Kristiansen 1998) instead characterize this distribution as a horizon phenomenon. These burials are often near. Elite burial offerings include apparatus used with local mead or ale. leading to interpretations that saw the likely origins of ‘‘Celticity’’ in the Hallstatt period. as indicators of communication and exchange rather than common ethnicity (Kristiansen 1998. Atlantic.C. and metal and ceramic tableware from the Phoenician colony at Gadir (Cadiz) and later the Greek colony of Massalia (Marseilles) at the mouth of the Rhone (Morgenroth 1999). 63). flavor. enclosed hilltop sites. see Giles [2007]). in the late 1st century B.. see Cumberpatch [1995a] and van den Broeke [1995]. The Hallstatt sphere foundered around 550–500 B. Julius Caesar referred to Gallic and Germanic equites (MacDevitt 2005). now characterized as related but local in origin. and organization (Bietti Sestieri 1997). sword-bearing elites.C. A new culture that engaged in trade with the Greeks and Phoenicians is traditionally said to have appeared in the 12th century B. surrounded by secondary burials. on the basis of material culture. Iberian. Artifact types similar to those found at Hallstatt eventually appeared over broader areas of Europe. Spain. or horse-riding. beginning in Italy.C. p.. where indigenous Etruscans and Latins soon developed their own urbanism. in this model. as iron technology was being adopted in Europe. and Germanic/Nordic. feasting. Most Greek colonies lay west of their homelands. (Fig. once thought to mimic the Greek polis. 3). France. Broadly shared but locally divergent styles are viewed. the differential adoption of various elements of a ‘‘core’’ Urnfield material culture by people with different cultural identities. Lusatian (Poland). which spans the Bronze Age-Iron Age transition. North Alpine. in several distinct areas: Aegean/Balkan.C. but not within. elites were thought to owe their status to control of trade routes and mineral or metal resources (although for arguments against elite control of trade. reaching a height between 1200 and 800 B. but Knusel (2002) hypothesizes that locals may have used them to collect human blood. Carpathian/Danubian. The Hallstatt Iron Age is additionally characterized by a mortuary complex based on earthen burial mounds featuring the primary burial of an individual elite with large displays of wealth. 123 . and around the Black Sea. Sicily. Italic.C. During the same period of Greek international withdrawal. hunting and warrior gear. for arguments against elite control of metal production. four-wheeled horsedrawn wagons.

involving curvilinear and spiral motifs. The ‘‘heartland’’ of La Tene culture.C. vegetation and animals. other indigenous groups. and significant female iconography (Green 1989. in general. 1992. although the 123 . is considered by many to be a ‘‘true’’ Celtic culture. inland France. This period is often called ‘‘the second Iron Age’’ as it represents many breaks with the Hallstatt era and its links to Bronze Age ` traditions. developed new ` stylistic aesthetics. burials were less socially stratified. and Germany (although this origin point is disputed by some). equated in part with the area called Gaul by Caesar. that later spread to other regions (Fig. 3 One of several extant conceptualizations of the extent of Hallstatt and La Tene influence Around 450 B.). The La Tene groups developed agglomerated population centers called oppida by the Romans as well as enclosed sites of several different types.C. 3). ` 1995c). first in Switzerland.J Archaeol Res (2009) 17:347–423 353 ` Fig. 1991. the wagon was replaced by the chariot. described as the La Tene material culture (450–50 B.. While traditions varied. representations of bearded male faces or heads. and an identifiable style developed. tripartite symbols.

as Wells (2001. Eventually. He also was the first to call people east and north of the Rhine Germani rather than Celts. Wells notes that while this says little about who these men were and how they saw themselves. The Romans utilized the Greek concept of Keltoi to describe people who invaded Italy in the 4th and 3rd centuries B. The primary historic peoples of the European Iron Age.354 J Archaeol Res (2009) 17:347–423 exact nature and extent of these people and what their ethnic affiliations were is debated: they certainly spoke a Celtic language. Primary textual sources While the linguistic approach to the Iron Age is highly debated and lies outside the scope of this article. as Celts. expanding ever-outward through conquest and negotiation. The early Romans also typically described any foreign mercenaries of western. northern. The Greek and Roman concept of ethnicity held that if one characteristic of a people 123 . the Celtic groups. the Roman impact had altered other indigenous cultures enough to warrant the statement that the European Iron Age was over. purposefully or unintentionally (Dunham 1989. including the Celtiberians and Gauls. By around 50 B. came into conflict with those indigenous groups further afield. This could also be the case with the term Keltoi—Gaul/Kel. The Greeks Hacataeus and Herodotus. p. emerged from this context.. Until recently. Lats. did not call them this.. although how accurately or carefully they used this term is uncertain. Iron Age people indigenous to Italy.C. and must be read carefully with the aid of philological analysis ¨ ¨ (Buchsenschutz and Ralston 1986). and the various groups of Britons (who were never textually described as Celts). Wilkes 2007). and Balts emerged during medieval times. called them Britons. 75) notes. it certainly explains how other Europeans became familiar with the Roman way of life long before conquest (Wells. 81). encountering the inhabitants of England in 55 B. they could be completely fabricated or rooted in some true internal designation: the Skythai of the Greeks were called Saka by the Iranians and Ashguzai by the Assyrians. the Roman republic. and while noting similarities to the Celts. while Skythai (Scythians) are described in the 7th century as inhabiting Asia Minor and the Black Sea region. then empire. through new textual interpretations and new archaeological evidence. the accounts of ‘‘barbarian’’ groups in Greek and Roman texts were privileged above all other sources. 2001. or central European extraction.. These sources can be biased. Over the last 20 years. most archaeologists use the extant historic sources. recorded by the Greeks and Romans.C. and archaeological evidence was often forced to fit into the template created by Classical authors (Dunham 1989). There is no evidence that these terms relate directly to indigenous terns. 1995. Julius Caesar. similar phonemes perhaps indicate interpretations of a self-descriptive name. in the 6th and 5th centuries B. our understanding has been turned on its head. are the Germanic/Nordic groups. p. We do not know what Iron Age groups inhabited regions where Slavs.C.C.. identify people initially in southern France and then larger parts of western Europe with the term Keltoi. whom they employed all over the Republic.

454–455). Tacitus. cited in Collis 123 . 477).’’ In contrast to the Greeks and Romans. In the mid-20th century. p. p. or bureaucracies (Wenke 1980. daggers. a pursuit which. Within each of these broad cultural descriptors. many aspects of their cultures. continent-wide attempts at comparative understanding. p.. writing. one of the culture-historic passions of earlier antiquarians was trying to tie these entities to specific geographic areas by isolating some supposed subset of material culture. was held. most publications on the Iron Age consisted of excavation reports or brief observational notes on single objects or finds. This led to a generalized perception that life for ‘‘ordinary people’’ changed little or not at all during the late Bronze Age and Iron Age. Many phenomena extrapolated from this material culture were described as being carried by ‘‘emigrating people’’ or ‘‘invaders. which may or may not have been the case. Certainly. for example. Keltoi and Germani. 87) or ‘‘violent tribes who lived without the benefit of cities. money. 115). has been almost ´ completely abandoned (but see. and others.C. some argued that when an invading Kurgan culture swept across earlier Europe. pins and other ornaments’’ (Fagan 1989. spearheads.g. that social structure changed at a barely perceptible pace. but few offered discussion or conclusions of a social nature. were often the sole source of data. 87). they are now imitators of ‘‘higher civilizations to the south’’ (Fagan 2007. Nineteenth-century collections from graves and hoards. battle axes. p.J Archaeol Res (2009) 17:347–423 355 differed. Vasic 2004). some Celticists were still singing the praises of books published in the 1950s or earlier (Megaw 1985. and an enormous range of brooches. American students were taught that the main conduit for understanding Iron Age Europe was the study of ‘‘axes and adzes. A history of theory for the European Iron Age Before the late 1970s and 1980s. or often just notes and sketches of misplaced finds.’’ Because burial under mounds was widely practiced. as described by Caesar. After the diffusionism of Childe had been discredited. their warlike ideology was incorporated for millennia to come (Gimbutas 1970). In recent years students have found this ` assessment of La Tene period people amended. were remarkably similar. p. most archaeologists and historians also accepted the idea of a widespread and unified prehistoric Celtic culture based on Classical texts combined with a reading of Irish or Welsh oral traditions from the much later medieval era. dozens of ‘‘tribal’’ entities are mentioned. Iron Age peoples were characterized as ‘‘warlike tribes’’ (Fagan 1989. Caesar’s first contact was with people west of the Rhine who had urban centers he called oppida. As late as 1990. for many reasons. leaving us to figure out what this actually might have meant as opposed to what was understood by the various Classical authors who wrote about them. In the late 1980s. and that society could be substantively understood only through study of grave goods—a perception promoted in the most popular archaeology textbooks of the time (e. pp. shields. there also was a lack of higherlevel. so would most or all others (Wells 2001. when the symposium spawning the major volume Europe in the First Millennium B. Fagan 1989. either local or regional. 469). swords. while those on the far side had none. he believed this made them substantially different.

were the strongholds of elites that controlled the activities of attached craftspeople and traders (e. Rowlands et al. hides.356 J Archaeol Res (2009) 17:347–423 1994).g. By the end of the 1980s. In the countryside. This led to a lengthy suppression of critique. Rowlands and Frankenstein 1998. coercive control of things: labor. Wells 1984). more systematic way of seeking and verifying the same assumptions made by earlier generations of scholars. and urban centers. 1987). 1984. in some national archaeologies this continues today. For the most part. nationally bounded archaeologies that did not share research agendas. and neither compared notes nor communicated findings. For much of the remaining 20th century. 1983. or ‘‘logical’’ courses toward them. and sometimes passionate reappraisal beginning 123 . Ruiz Rodriguez and Molinos 1993. and elsewhere—were studied under a certain set of cross-cultural generalities. as familiar to a Near Easternist or a Mayanist as they were to Collis and his peers. and production and/or trade in commodities such as metals. and amber (Cunliffe 1976). yet in hindsight it seems oddly in line with older antiquarian notions of what comprises ‘‘civilization’’: seeing hierarchy. peasant farmers produced surplus to support the elites and their oppida (Grau Mira 2003. advocating instead the more objective and more generalizing perspective of processual archaeology. It was perhaps a newer. centralization. a position they jealously defended and reinforced with centralized. which. from the earliest farming villages to state societies. He asked scholars to offload the baggage of historic texts and direct inferences from the Mabinogion and Ulster Cycle. 1991). monumental graves were interpreted as rulers at the top of a local or regional vertical hierarchy.. Scandinavia. was somewhat explosive. Spain. Rowlands 1987. p. Germany. No one seriously imagined that the Iron Age could actually be different than the parameters within which it was conceptualized. In the 1980s. Haselgrove 1976. Collis (1994. Cunliffe 1976. The organizing principles of these ‘‘chiefly’’ societies (reified by the interpretation of Iron Age elites as chiefs or petty kings) were assumed to be either kinship based or politically based. Few would dispute that this standard new archaeology or processual interpretation was a vast improvement over what came before. Renfrew 1986. salt. debate. theoretical views. following the ideas of Service and Fried on the differences between chiefdoms and states (Chase-Dunn and Hall 1991. led to a spate of great activity. presenting Celts living across a territory stretching from Ireland to Anatolia as a coherent people. Iron Age societies across Europe— Britain. Molinos and Ruiz Rodriguez 1994. 31) offered an unabashed critique of this approach. in everything. whether due to this call or simply following a generational turnover. and with regionalized. Ruiz Rodriguez et al. the oppida. ideology. Frustration with these interpretations. and control. 1994. antiquarianism gave way to the ‘‘new’’ archaeology. Randsborg 1980. Peer polities created competition leading to complexity. Wells 1980b). discourse on the Iron Age was dominated by a small number of famous names in each region of Europe who favored primarily ecological and standard processualist interpretations. when it finally came. 1989. as long-distance trade created centers and peripheries that fueled the rise of marginal elite wannabes with prestige goods (Frankenstein and Rowlands 1978. Elites buried in rich. Miller et al. France. Enclosed hilltop sites characteristic of this period were labeled military elite ‘‘central places’’ that housed soldiers or sheltered people in times of war.

either of data or of approaches. some strongly revisionist. While these may be pan-European syntheses to a processualist. or limited to southern England for a contextual archaeologist. Many authors questioned long-held assumptions. and obscured by publication in uncommon languages. and a number of theoretical perspectives were introduced in order to investigate new ideas.or multiauthor regional compendia have appeared in the last 15 years. ostensibly because the only reliable generalizations were often so broad as to be meaningless. 1997. each in their own way attempting a kind of synthesis. correct only within specific contexts. one could detect a few voices calling for a reassessment. The first is the above-mentioned dichotomy between processualists and those who have beaten a retreat from generalizing explanatory models. testing. seeking to discover if a ‘‘different’’ Iron Age did indeed exist (Hill 1993. numismatics. this had become a major movement. Diaz Andreu and Keay 1997). Hill and Cumberpatch 1995). Unity and diversity: New directions and novel approaches It would be impossible in a review of this nature to include advances on every front and every topic studied by Iron Age scholars. These are cobbled together into regional overviews and reinterpreted to make sense of larger processes.J Archaeol Res (2009) 17:347–423 357 some 15–20 years ago. has been deposed by a move toward contextualizing local developments within a local framework and developing more humanistic theoretical approaches. there has been a strong move toward gathering together scattered and diverse material. a number of important edited volumes and single. trade. or offered only incomplete pictures. that others were incorrect. The vast majority of archaeologists lie somewhere in the middle of the continuum between earlier generalizing/comparative approaches and more recent contextual ones. culture history combined with strongly processualist theorizing remains one standard treatment (Balmouth et al. with an eye toward contrasting different cultures. previously compartmentalized within many national archaeological traditions. I also focus on two broad trends that have parallels across the discipline. and more. In Spain. moving into uncharted territory. for both broad regions and specific local traditions. Cunliffe and Keay 1995. I limit discussion to a few interrelated topics: sociopolitical development. some largely unchanged since the mid-20th century. by the mid-1990s. Despite these differences researchers have evinced a second trend: while there is a continuing tradition of national archaeologies. The spread of the Iron Age debate away from Britain. While great strides have been made in the study of production. sacred/ritual organization. and explaining. where it began. and regional group identities/ethnicities and their subsequent intercultural interactions. Hypothesizing. and into many 123 . although there are many exceptions discussed individually below. published only within a mass of inaccessible individual reports. An entire issue of the online journal e-Keltoi is devoted to the Spanish Iron Age and features both familiar and newer names (Alberro and Arnold 2004). In the late 1980s. These are highly interwoven and impossible to present in a strictly segregated group of subcategories.

Arnold and Wicker 2001. a number of thematic collections (e. Crabtree 2000. along coastal Atlantic France. Similarly. 2001. and post-Roman collapse (Bogucki and Crabtree 2004. proceeding from classical authors and the direct historical approach into the past in order to understand earlier periods. A dramatic increase in archaeology related to highway and commercial development has. GIS. 1999. substantially increased the data from French Iron Age sites (Milcent 2004). Recent work also underscores some extremely long distance unities. Gillings et al. through the regional archaeology of the century’s last quarter. Rieckhoff-Pauli 2006). the Atlantic coast of western Europe that stretches from Spain and Portugal. b).. the wealth of detailed empirical data is a valuable offering of such volumes. Theodossiev 2005. 2007). and then to ´ Britain. Vasks 1995. which is fairly clear from the Neolithic onwards and is textually 123 . Lock and Stancic 1995). Larsson et al. through which many Iron Age processes are traditionally modeled. 1992. 4)..358 J Archaeol Res (2009) 17:347–423 national contexts is also seen in recent German volumes. Parcero ˜ Oubina et al. Bailey et al. the Slavic and Baltic national ´ traditions of scholarship (e. 2001. 1992. not only assessing interactions over geographic space but the meaning imbued into the built and structured landscape on numerous nested scales.g. The methodological innovations of the last 15 years.g.g. Graudonis 1997. the artifact distribution. and Scandinavia (Cunliffe 2000. however. Tasic 2004. Such research may comprise wholly new surveys of large areas (Cherry 1994. Regardless of theoretical frameworks. Crumley 1989. combining survey. such as the cultural connections across the Atlantic facade. 1997.. pp. Several volumes reflect the ¨ ¨ continuing French tradition for late prehistory (Audouze and Buchsenschutz 1989. and other data classes that long helped fragment the record. although recent critiques have begun to bring this into a more contemporary context (Cumberpatch 1995a. and landscape analysis have been reviewed elsewhere (for Europeanist discussions. Ireland. Galaty 2005. Gonzalez Ruibal 2004). with an emphasis on fitting archaeological material into the contexts of classical texts and linguistic models. Important methodological developments parallel general developments in archaeology worldwide. Several encyclopedias have specifically targeted the Iron Age. Maier 2000). but which has seen substantial critique (e. Millett et al. This archaeological link. Hill 1989. see Ayala and Fitzjohn 2002. 2002) that include European archaeology contain important Iron Age chapters. One is the shift from the site-focused archaeology of the early 20th century. Hamilakis et al. 2000) or be reassessments of prior work through agglomeration and retheorizing (Corney 2000. Such projects typically attempt to integrate data on many social phenomena into the study of long-term change. the baffling variety of named cultures (Fig. Additionally. Roman. Crumley and Marquardt 1987. a paradigm that is still popular in much of Europe. Zoffmann 2000) are mainly culturehistorically oriented and descriptive. These reflect primarily traditional perspectives but often include discussions of current debates. This approach has inspired new fieldwork in many parts of Europe and has provided some escape hatch from the legacy of the overemphasized type site. Hamilton and Manley 2001. Biehl et al. where newer ideas mingle with older paradigms (Birkhan 2007a. 1995. 18–19). 1998). and finally to landscape archaeology that incorporates site and region.

If one examines primary Classical texts. In contrast. 2004) that show connections across the entire Atlantic facade as deep as the last Ice Age. it seems clear that the 123 .J Archaeol Res (2009) 17:347–423 359 Fig. closer examination of some neighboring regions (Harding 2006) has recently emphasized the vast differences in both material culture and probably social and political organization between southern and northern Britain. 4 Some traditional ‘‘named cultures’’ of the European Iron Age. they cannot be analyzed or understood within the same frameworks as in the past because large parts of the north had a long aceramic era as well as an ‘‘Iron Age’’ that. not all contemporary or necessarily agreed upon noted for the Iron Age. has recently been supported by genetic studies (McEvoy et al. Changing interpretations of organizational frameworks Perhaps some of the most significant developments lie in the area of sociopolitical organization. as in Scandinavia and some Slavic regions. lasted well into the first millennium A.D.

’’ Despite this decentralized system of power. According to modern historiographic interpretation of the accounts of Caesar.360 J Archaeol Res (2009) 17:347–423 ‘‘barbarian’’ Celts. Tacitus. and others. were somewhat chaotic. in addition to Scotland and Ireland. Pan-regional alliances were made under the authority of an elected paramount when outside enemies threatened but were dissolved as soon as possible to prevent the emergence of ‘‘kings. These have revealed that what traditionally have been recognized as leaders were men primarily in charge of warfare. religious specialists. Eventually. has material aspects that can be detected archaeologically (Hedeager 1992). never was conquered. barbarian Europe toppled a weak and collapsing Roman Empire over the course of the 4th and 5th centuries A. and they had both an elected judiciary and an assembly. was so chaotic. reported for both groups by Tacitus. has found its way into numerous disciplines and contexts.C. and a group of people eligible to vote in the assembly. ‘‘chiefs’’ of the Iron Age were uniformly characterized as autocratically ordering all of society from the top of centralized hierarchies. 2007). in encounter after encounter they were able to deal masterfully with more organized. (MacDevitt 2005. The warlord was limited by their consensus and could not act without their support. and others.D. has been retheorized to fall more in 123 . Crumley introduced heterarchy to archaeologists in her long-term regional work with cultural landscapes of pre-Roman Iron Age Gaul in Burgundy. Caesar. Cassius Dio. and rulers frequently appear to take orders from their subjects. France (Crumley 1984. with its relatively weak elites. the many related groups had no overarching leaders among their tribes. Despite the textual evidence for fragile and decentralized leadership. Crumley and Marquardt 1987). They had some religious functions but did not run the religious hierarchy. and Britons. 68–90) and the later battle of the Teutoburg Forest (Wells 2003) in A. complex peoples. most notably at the siege of Alesia in 52 B. each equal and independent yet part of a unified organizational structure. new fieldwork and a look with fresh eyes at extant data suggested different interpretations—a generalizing but still radically different social theory for Iron Age Europe. where a group of Germani handily crushed a vast Roman force? While the Gauls and southern Germans eventually were conquered. Pliny. What exactly were the roles of pre-Roman Iron Age ‘‘chiefs’’? Beginning in the 1980s. heading a hierarchy with power over the rest of society. where eligible voters gathered at regular intervals to discuss issues and the trajectory of group life and to vote on actions to be taken. such as the Druidic system described by Caesar. 1995. Germans. how did the barbarians defeat or withstand the organized and powerful Romans in so many instances. Thus the centralized. a term coined in 1945 by neurophysiologist Warren McCulloch to describe the parallel pathways of neural networks. Subsequently. If leadership.D. in terms of their reported actions and organization. autocratic elite. 2001. Archaeologists use it to describe sociopolitical systems in which several groups or institutions horizontally share power and authority. based on political or kin relations. the major portion of Germania. 9. during the heyday of processual archaeology. characterizing both Celtic and Germanic Iron Age societies as having at least three free-standing nexuses of power: warlord/warband. she used the concept to discuss the long-term interaction of Rome and Gaul within the paradigm of historical ecology (Crumley 1994. Pliny. Heterarchy. This structure. as recorded by Roman writers. pp.

similar traditions have been studied in southeastern Europe and the Balkans (Parkes 2004). with innate. Ehrenreich ´ 1991. Gonzalez-Ruibal 2006. aspects of the same type of contradictions. Before Crumley’s incorporation of heterarchy. and advertise their status with all the trappings of wealth and/or prestige. ostensibly to be instructed in adult ways and expectations. 1996). Such societies are characterized by less elite power. scholars repeatedly tried to model the Celts and Germans as hierarchies and to compare them with Rome. However. as noted for Britain by Collis (1995b) and Haselgrove (1995). Sastre 2002) has been proposed to better explain the contradictory data of ˜ monumental architecture and apparently low social stratification (Parcero Oubina ´ and Fernandez 2004). If one only looks at traditional ‘‘centralizing’’ models. Blanton et al. 2006). but when considering the constraints that heterarchy puts on elite attempts at domination. also are less puzzling when viewed from within a heterarchy model for the Iron Age. older models of the pre-Roman Iron Age were initially replaced with those highlighting continued hierarchies and elite power as holdovers from the Bronze Age into the early Iron ´ ˜ Age (Parcero Oubina and Fernandez 2004). In light of Gosden’s (1985. heterarchic society (Fernandez-Posse and Sanchez-Palencia Ramos 1998. 1989) work on the importance of kinship-based alliances and gift exchange as structuring principles in northwestern European societies. proposed a continuum of modes of power. Ehrenreich et al. Blanton et al. 123 . At the other end lie societies where power is devolved away from centralizing rulers toward a more equitable distribution among groups or institutions within society. the network end dominated by centralized elite who have monopolies on power. the skew is predictable. and it is perhaps a better sociopolitical model for the Iron Age (Dietler 1995a. Roymans (1990) has explored such pre-Roman social organization in Gaul and the impact of Roman conquest on the social milieu. Recently. recently the idea of a more ´ ´ horizontal. Once these ‘‘disorganized’’ groups are modeled as heterarchies. this is far more easily understood. Wailes 1995). 2005. and other cooperative relationships were not breached. 1995. support that power by creating a network of relationships with other elites.J Archaeol Res (2009) 17:347–423 361 line with a less powerful and less centralized elite who had to negotiate with other sectors of society. An important component of European heterarchy is evidence for the practice of fosterage in the Iron Age (Karl 2004a. often superior (more flexible) organizational qualities. but with an important role as a leveling mechanism and in assuring that alliances. For Celtiberian Spain. or at least less emphasis on its appearance. or corporate/network theory (Blanton et al. a form of fictive kinship common in northern and western Europe (Gerriets 1983) in which the heads of elite households traded their children. Garnering praise from some European archaeologists (see Shennan 2003). Parkes 2003. (1996) posit that most societies are in a constant state of tension between these poles. Similarly. this work is adding to a new corpus on social mechanisms that may have complemented the aggressive behavior of a warrior class. decentralizing practices. the material record seems significantly askew ¨ ¨ (Buchsenschutz 1995). 2005a. display. and manifestation. termed the dual-processual continuum of power. Coevolving with the hierarchy/heterarchy framework is a more specific model dealing with political power.

Hamilton and Manley (2001) synthesized data on over 40 hillforts in southeast England. and latest of all. Many sites with dissimilar features were lumped into this category: walled.’s ‘‘corporate/network’’ and Crumley’s ‘‘heterarchy’’ allow postulation along continua that are less likely to lead to narrow and presentist views. as opposed to what was assumed. were oriented toward the sunrise. those with empty interiors.362 J Archaeol Res (2009) 17:347–423 The corporate/network concept has enabled some bridges to be built between processualists and postprocessualists by enabling a generalizing study of many phenomena underscored by postmodernists. enclosures around a few houses. complex societies (Cunliffe 1983. Additionally. it is now confirmed that at least several of these (Bowden et al. Few such sites have ever been excavated at all. Detailed examination of what was actually found at well-investigated sites in Britain. a concept that soon spread across Europe. During the 1960s and 1970s. and Late Iron Ages. provides the best example of new understandings. with shifting uses encompassing first the integration of many small communities and later acting as regional ritual and symbolic foci. p. can be periodized to the Early. One type of site that has undergone much recent reappraisal is the hillfort. some containing religious features. where hilltop enclosures were initially uniformly interpreted as military-elite central places (Cunliffe 1976. even fortified towers. Britain. 1982). 34) that ‘‘several distinct types of hillfort-using society can be isolated’’ just in southeast England. with any changes attributed to the ever-widening power of rulers. finding that their purpose. 1984. New Archaeologists asserted that they represented elite military strongholds related to the rise of hierarchical. construction. performance and embodiment. other ideas have been reexamined. and if so. and has found utility in the work of archaeologists worldwide. 1991. these were originally conceptualized as strongholds defending against continental invaders during the early Iron Age (Hawkes 1931). They also note (Hamilton and Manley 2001. 2005) were preceded by underlying Bronze Age religious structures. such as agency and experience. Gent 1983. Centralized versus decentralized conceptualizations of Iron Age society With the realization that Iron Age societies may have been organized in wholly different ways than once expected. whose ditches. Gent and Dean 1986). reflected in their differing locales.’’ Were there any such things. of several kinds of sites under the same rubric. In Britain. the idea that they represent fortifications is still in evidence (Ralston 2006). illustrates the impetus behind recent reconsiderations (Lock 2007). In Britain. One of these is the concept of the ‘‘central place. and later partially enclosing walls. and features. Middle. some taking on aspects of elite centers. which has seen more revision than other regions. and that in other parts of Britain. they were assumed to have functioned similarly through time. in extant literature. what were they central to? Further complicating matters is the frequent conflation. hillforts either were constructed and emplaced differently or were never built. centralized. These clearly had no defensive 123 . with only a handful having seen extensive long-term work. those that have are known mainly through small tests. high-elevation towns. Frameworks such as Blanton et al.

and Iron Age pits of grain. some were occupied for long periods. are now coming to light in Britain. Poole 1995. and Fitzpatrick 1997. feasts. reflecting a centralized political hierarchy with control of prestige-goods trade. Brunaux and Meniel 1997. 1993b. and elsewhere in Europe. In the earliest periods. Haselgrove 1995. Iron Age components at the extensively excavated site of Danebury lack elite residences in any period. or rural enclosures that sometimes 123 . Germany. fragments of funerary-type horse gear and weaponry were taken as evidence for a resident warrior elite. Menez 1997. with elite-attached craft specialists. large.J Archaeol Res (2009) 17:347–423 363 purposes but were incorporated into later Iron Age features. This suggests that they were not military or governmental central places but were places for assemblies. 175). Spain. Ralston 2007). Hill 1995b. Currently. walled and unwalled population centers in Britain. also have been reexamined. France. Despite a desire to find elite within the town. long resisted reinterpretation of his initial findings. Many other small pits containing bones also are far too small to match previous interpretations as food waste buried by garrisons of soldiers. Williams 2003). Grant 1984. p. Smith 2001. While there is sometimes later evidence of an upper class (Ralston 2007). Buchsenschutz and Richard 1996. Sievers et al. it is instead common to find elite ‘‘villas’’ or rich farms at the oppidum’s periphery or in its hinterland ´ ¨ ¨ (Arnold 2002. which had increasingly important political functions in Iron Age society (Ralph 2007). sites with similar features. once called storage features. 1998). 1989. yet he too eventually accepted modification of the ‘‘elite-controlled central place’’ model (Cunliffe 1992. 1995b. Both types of pit are now interpreted as ritual offerings (see below. ¨ Harding 2001. there is little to infer any social hierarchy within them (Almagro-Gorbea 1995. creating difficulties in interpretation (Sievers 2000. Smith 2001). Hill 1989. who carefully excavated at the Danebury hillfort for many years. oppida were interpreted as relatively uniform. yet unwalled and in nonhilltop contexts. c. Kohler 1995. none contain palatial residences. Sievers et al. many (Collis 1995a. 1998) through urban cultic structures similar to Viereckschanzen. Work at Manching and Bourges has revealed the presence of religious specialists (Ruffier 1990. as new work confirms they were not uniform in form or development. possibly in roles similar to that of henges in the Neolithic (Bradley 2003). while others are lightly infilled and enclose expansive uninhabited areas (Lorrio and Ruiz ´ ´ Zapatero 2004. 1995b. 1996. Woolf 1993) express doubt that oppida form a class of settlement either. c). are so small and few that they are now interpreted offerings to chthonic deities (van der Veen and Jones 2006. and ceremonies. Further work may indicate that some indeed housed rulers or had other functions altogether. Recent archaeobotanical work (van der Veen and Jones 2006) supports this model. perhaps for several communities (Hill 1989. single-component heaps of cattle bone in surrounding ditches are interpreted as deposits from civic or ceremonial feasts (Fitzpatrick 1997. 2000). others very briefly. the term used by the Romans to describe both flatland and high-elevation. Traditionally. Archaeological remains of oppida. Some display urban-like settlement. Wilson 1999). Sievers 2000. suggesting similar purposes yet without the distinctive enclosures that originally defined a class of site (Wigley 2002). in Germany. Just as importantly. Ruiz Zapatero and Alvarez-Sanchıs 1999). elite-controlled urban centers. b. Cunliffe. although burials themselves are lacking. At Manching.

the well˚ ˚ published site of Uppakra (Hardh 2000) was a slightly later but similar settlement with an array of high-status items. and interpreted as the domain of an important chiefly line in the early first millennium A. perhaps paralleling the newly recognized nonhillfort ceremonial sites in Britain (Wigley 2002). and the remains of feasts (Munch et al. games or competitions (Armstrong 2000). 1994. 1997). domestic structures. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s. In southern Sweden. along with a nearby port. Hedeager 1992). The site. a part of Germania that was never conquered. Storli 2000). Stilborg et al. Oppida were once considered to be unique to Celtic but not Germanic groups. revealing that while the warrior hierarchy was indeed important in Iron Age Scandinavia. Roman disruptions may have brought about a domino-like collapse of eastern oppida. center versus periphery. 1994). placenames indicate that they were the sites of unifying social activities: judicial (assembly) locales also used for feasting. Built in a single phase and occupied intermittently. 2001. ceramics. along 123 . Located near strategically important areas and close to elite mortuary complexes and farming estates. commercial. 1988. This parallels earlier skewing in Continental Europe due to a major bias toward the contents of rich or monumental graves. and subsequently a different form of organization (Wells 2001.D. 2003). Murray 1995). and overall the sites appear to have been nexuses of varied activities (Milcent 2004). as well as intermittent trade. the people that Caesar called Germani may have been equally indigenously urbanized. The site of Gudme (an Iron Age toponym meaning ‘‘home of the gods’’) was initially investigated and published in the 1980s (Thrane 1985. ritual. and prestige goods economies (Randsborg 1980. and military functions. scattered workshop areas (Augier et al.g. they too have been reanalyzed (Grimm and Stylegar 2004. also was long theorized through models of centralized hierarchies. craftworking activity. Once interpreted as military barracks. is now known to form a religious..364 J Archaeol Res (2009) 17:347–423 incorporate offerings and ceremonials (Bradley 2003. this is not surprising. ‘‘court sites’’ from the same period are found: large circular complexes of houses with central mounded features containing hearths. Collet and Flouest 1997). Wells 2001) notes. however. There it was not the presence of fortified sites that led to traditional models of social and political organization but the fact that theories were based on the distribution of bog offerings of captured weaponry and the distribution and content of elite graves. it was not society’s only ruling sector. In Norway. Solberg 2002. Given our understanding of a typical symbiosis of warrior. that before Roman aggression. they have no detectable ordinary households and no storage facilities. Randsborg 1990. religious and secular institutions. 100–101). pp. new types of data emerged from large-scale projects and syntheses. The idea that crafts production was limited to elite-controlled urban areas has been transformed by discovery of many extra-urban. skillfully analyzed to wield great interpretative power for the structure of the warrior-band (e. and a cult house with gold offerings of a type associated elsewhere with elite farms. the abandonment of most cereal farming. and chiefly complex so large and multifaceted that it will be published for many years (Fabech 1994. Nielsen et al. Roesdahl 1982). The unintentional preponderance of evidence dealing with warrior life led some to interpret them as the top level of a pyramid-shaped society. Scandinavia.

There is little doubt that Nordic groups actively promoted heterarchic principles. others high-elevation towns. using the assembly and its legislative/judiciary function to counter the power of rulers. Internal organization sometimes diverges from former expectations (Lorrio and Ruiz Zapatero ´ ´ 2004. and instead toward places that combined warriorcentered displays. These interpretations are being challenged (Burillo Mozota 2005). 1998. seen through Roman and indigenous textual records. and some are castros. a long-time focus on purely descriptive and taxonomic work has led to a situation where ‘‘even though northwestern Iberia has produced the largest number of excavated settlements. Rios Gonzalez and Garcia de Castro Valdes 2001) in which oppida are ideological expressions of an aristocratic social class that wielded the primary authority in Iberian society. Parcero Oubina 2000. Larsson 2001. as well as completely dominating trade and production. as a parallel for the reinterpreted hillforts in Britain and some oppida on the continent (Magnusson Staaf 2003). Such Scandinavian sites developed when oppida and hillforts were at their peak. Larsson and Lenntorp 2004). sacred places. Elite-focused centralized hierarchy models continue ˜ ˜ to be published (Grau Mira 2003. p. Ruiz Rodriguez 1993. and hinterlands by disentangling elements of the formerly conflated hillfort category. 906). Ruiz Rodriguez et al. A deposit of nearly 50 spearheads was interpreted as a votive involving warfare (Helgesson 2004). and community activities. other interpretations are now offered. the data interpreted as proof that one sector (warlord) had co-opted the others (religious and legislative) (Fabech 1994). others are turres or towers. using a medieval-derived model. and the lack of detectable centralized political authority until the beginning of the second millennium A. with walls enclosing religious statuary and altars and habitations built outside (Lorrio and Ruiz Zapatero 2004.D. after a long period of more egalitarian conditions following the collapse of local Bronze Age power structures. Ruiz Zapatero and Alvarez-Sanchıs 2002). These were often labeled peasant villages (Burillo Mozota 2005). political sites. Ruiz Rodriguez and Molinos 1993.J Archaeol Res (2009) 17:347–423 365 with the remains of large-scale feasting (Back Danielsson 2002. as centers for multiple activities and different types of actors. dividing the landscape into jealously guarded territories Brunet 1998. enclosures containing houses but where no class or status difference can be detected architecturally or in mortuary treatment. 123 . rites performed by religious specialists. Evidence at Gudme and Uppakra (and many others) may one day be reexamined in the same way as at Danebury. While elite wealth is clearly apparent and there is no doubt that leaders were making attempts to increase their social and political power. away from assertions of chiefly control. These sites and others like them still ˚ often are interpreted through traditional centralization models (Hardh and Larsson 2003). Some are empty of structures. Others see multiple activities within a single complex as ˚ substantiation for the opposite view. 1991) and extracting support from peasants who were tightly controlled. The founding of such places has been suggested. almost nothing is known about hillfort social organiza´ tion’’ (Ayan Vila 2008. ´ ´ Ruiz Zapatero and Alvarez-Sanchıs 1999). toponyms reflecting many assembly places. Parcero Oubina and ´ Fernandez 2004. alternately. In Spain. Extensive field projects over the last two decades can clarify some of the differences between population centers.

and that new forms were not adopted uniformly across Spain. posited that the Slavs originated in swamplands. Rose (2003) also has examined the way in which Roman technologies— the use of written inscriptions—were similarly incorporated into extant symbolic systems. 965–966). Reimao Queiroga (2007) suggests that the large. theorizing that consensual inequality among relatively horizontal societies can quickly become institutionalized and involuntary (Bender 1985. challenging the ubiquitous concept of a hierarchic society focused on aristocrats. Sastre (2002) applied the heterarchy model to the Castro culture. she conceptualized Castro as a segmentary agrarian society in which kin groups and households manipulated social structures and practices in order to benefit themselves—completely leaving out the idea of social class. Keay (1997) approaches institutionalized patronage in Iberia. democratic social and political structures that were subject to complexification only through contact with Rome. Instead. rather than strictly autocratic relationships. Saitta and Keene 1990). and ˜ elaboration of inequality. In eastern Europe. Such ideas still appear in archaeological works on 123 . Parcero Oubina and Fernandez 2004). inference based on linguistics and nonarchaeological data. describing mutual obligations between sociopolitical elites and their clients. maintenance. Others approach Iberia from the perspective that its social institutions display corporate concepts. inspired by idealism. a perspective in line with Gosden’s much cited (1985. house-filled urban centers dating to the early Roman era were in fact built by or at the behest of Romans. 1990. eliteness. communism. transformed away from ´ an indigenous tradition only under Roman influence. autonomous. accumulated data indicate that even densely populated oppida initially contained little to infer any social hierarchy or presence of powerful rulers (Almagro-Gorbea 1995. Roman decolonization during Rome’s collapse was emphasized to correlate with the ethnic politics of modern states. Depending on shifting political conditions. 1989) work that stresses the importance of kinship. Saitta 1994. attempted to produce work proving this historical-linguistic confabulation in order to avoid political persecution (Milisauskas 1997a). with an impact on social and political interaction. For many decades. walled. becoming imbued with native meanings and inferences that reflect earlier social concepts. Finally. 175). especially under the Soviet regime. such as the practice of ritual hospitality (Sanchez Moreno 2001). archaeologists attempted to play up or diminish regional roles as Roman provinces or satellites. and other traditional explanations for the origins. pp. In some cases. and more egalitarian castros.366 J Archaeol Res (2009) 17:347–423 The material contents and spatial relationships between these dissimilar sites lead some to now suggest that they were symbolically unifying structures that created ´ ´ focal points for disparate interacting communities Fernandez-Posse and Sanchez´ ˜ Palencia Ramos 1998. which stretched from the late Bronze Age to the Late Iron Age. Slavic archaeologists. poor agricultural conditions led to cooperative. For Portugal. p. Ayan Vila (2008) confirms that only late in the Iron Age is Roman impact seen in changing social aspects of architecture. ´ representing expediency rather than a changing worldview (Ayan Vila 2008. and strategic gift-giving. and later. and the local population was encouraged to move to them as a way to control and acculturate a population previously scattered in small. alliance. nationalism.

these small sites may have been contributing participants to intergroup religious and social activities at hillfort and oppida locales. Gwilt (1997) presents an everyday landscape of daily life. 1995. Joyce 2000 for general 123 .g. ca. This follows a theoretical trend seen in a wider European context. In Romania. Dolukhanov 1996) the Iron Age gets short shrift (but see Bogucki 1990). Ladomersky et al. The ´ ‘‘house society’’ theory proposed by Levi-Strauss (1987) and newly invigorated in anthropology and archaeology (Gillespie 2000. In 1989. In traditional models. the post-Roman era has recently been reinterpreted away from earlier models of depopulation toward evidence for the continuity of complex society (Ellis 1998). Often conceptualized as similar to serflike medieval peasants.. nucleated settlement from the early Iron Age.. 19–20) called on archaeologists not only to reinterpret the impressive and monumental but the ordinary place. 800 B. 2005). 2004. b). Given this situation and the focus of many researchers on Paleolithic and Neolithic cultures (Milisauskas 1986). activities. Hill (1989. a remarkable collection of perishable materials was preserved. Fitzpatrick (1997) convincingly situates us within the ordinary experience of the farm. seasonality. As at hillfort sites. in several Slavic regional compendia (e. Current work is concerned mainly with ´ preservation issues (Babinski et al. and access to resources. paralleling a shift in which settlements began demarcating and distinguishing themselves from their neighbors. The famous Polish site of Biskupin. or accepted paradigms are reiterated. Similarly. Slavic frameworks could stand some revision. relating the social and natural cycles of life to everyday activities and how these might shape people’s cognition of time. Due to wet preservation. skewing all interpretations (Piotrowska 1997). Bailey et al. some now hypothesize Iron Age people as having potential for economic and political autonomy.J Archaeol Res (2009) 17:347–423 367 Slavic origins (Curta 2001a. demonstrating a shift of focus from outside the household in daily activity areas to the house itself. a walled. taking them out of the questionable presentist construction of Iron Age peasants and into a real examination of what people were doing and why. either the elite strata or a ‘‘clan’’ leadership controls power. pp. but the site was excavated in the 1930s in the context of Nazi conquest and later associated with a now-discredited concept of an Early Iron Age proto-Slavic culture. Elite versus community approaches to the Iron Age Increasing realization during the 1980s that little was known about nonurban or nonelite settlement has led to a larger corpus on presumably more ordinary places: nonenclosed towns. various kinds of depositions and the arrangement of domestic architecture at ordinary farms is now viewed as encoding supernatural beliefs (Fitzpatrick 1997.C. Another new focus of research is on the household as a unit—not only of production but a political unit as well. but such formerly politicized views are only slowly being deconstructed. production. Oswald 1997). and the harvest in relation to themselves and the supernatural. and single farms (Gerritsen 2003). villages. might shed further light on social organization in Iron Age eastern Europe. eventually institutionalizing new forms into new norms. After World War II it became the focus of extreme nationalism. Gwilt hypothesizes a structuration process where changes in practice reinforced simultaneously shifting social structures.

1991). ¨ ¨ hillforts.. Haselgrove 1990. Ordinary villages were long studied in Scandinavia but often given a descriptive treatment (e. perhaps constituting resistance to elite domination that the demographic agglomeration of village life enabled (Hill 2000. and in some areas as recent as A. when their possible use-life was clearly not over. and protourban places. Rindel 1999). ˜ 2003. Similar patterns in the Netherlands (Gerritsen 1999a. Parker Pearson et al. but similar. In Scandinavia. 51. tower-like sites found in Scotland. other publications represent new work (Genin and Lavendhomme 1997. no earlier than the 3rd to 2nd century B. Newer theories explore the fact that some were walled while others were not and that they are a relatively late phenomenon. 187 for European Iron Age examples).. pp.g. and. Ruiz Rodriguez 1993. largely unregulated by elites who were busy with warfare. Iron Age villages were never established. as part of an entire social system. Gilmour and Cook 1998. specialized ceremonials. has been the topic of new research (Callmer ¨ 2001. Ruiz Rodriguez et al. on a landscape level. Hill 1995b. individual farms were the only settlement form. Gonzalez-Ruibal 2006. In Norway. 1996a. Others discuss the abandonment of houses for unknown reasons. b. which may have been inspired by both material acquisitiveness and a quest for increasing status and power. the ‘‘magnate farm. Ridderspore 1988). p. villages. see Tringham 1991). 500. Lavendhomme and Guichard 1997). Sharples and Parker Pearson 1997). Jørgensen et al. Along more traditional lines.. despite unchanged agricultural or landscape conditions. for a different period. Several books (e. Crumley and Marquardt 1987. involving everything from subsistence to ritual. freestanding units. Callmer 1991. b) have invoked empirical studies combined with interpretive analyses on the ‘‘biography’’ of the house. or other extraordinary sites (Buchsenschutz and Richard 1996. Keeley 1996. which revolves around disagreements over whether they are residences and power bases of traditional elites or of independent households akin to ‘‘house societies’’ (Armit 1997a. Hingley 1995.. Audouze ¨ ¨ and Buchsenschutz 1992. Into this discussion one can fit the debate over the meaning and use of brochs.C. They may have been independent. Reimao Queiroga 2003) and edited volumes on prehistoric 123 . 157. assessing its place in the landscape as distinct from ordinary farms. 1996. has seen a good deal of discussion in recent publications.’’ associated with wealthy and elite households. as it did elsewhere in Scandinavia (Porsmose 1981. Some focus not on individual sites but on the landscapes surrounding well-studied oppida. there have been attempts to create a unity from a large array of published material on nonelite Iron Age settlements (e. Some now theorize about social conditions that would have inhibited village formation. Ridderspore 2003. as the unit of production and the main ´ sociopolitical ‘‘building block’’ of society (Blanco et al. Callmer 1986). 1999. Lillehammer 1999).g.D. in Scandinavia and elsewhere (Gerritsen 1999a. made up of kin and nonkin members embedded in a farm. walled. 209–210). from its birth to its death. b. no one disputes that warriors and warfare existed in the Iron Age.g. Soderberg 2003). The violent and aggressive activity of Iron Age rulers.368 J Archaeol Res (2009) 17:347–423 interpretations) has been used to reinterpret the independent household. and some types of trade. 2003. some interpret them as the ideological expressions of independent households. Contra purely environmental theories of the past. As noted. p. p. the dislocation of entire settlements (Jensen 1982.

materially visible response to a ‘‘socialization for fear’’ in a warlike nonstate society. Recent studies have tried to newly include private and personal practices and those embedded in daily routines (Jonuks 2005). the public. Jørgensen et al. through artifacts. The Iron Age also is represented substantially in Parker Pearson and Thorpe (2005). Carman 1997. Massive votive deposits of wellused weaponry in many Iron Age societies (Ilkjær 2002. the global political climate of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. structures. provides a venue for Iron Age scholars. many authors note that the conduct of ritual activity appears to be in some cases public but in others well blended into the domestic sphere. and the type of access seen within a community through time. This new spate of publications on ancient conflict also has drawn some critical thought regarding the reasons behind the sudden interest in this topic (Gilchrist 2003. Eliade 1964. Today. organization. The Journal of Conflict Archaeology. 1965. Gilchrist 2003. the study of rituals and rites. with offerings on the iconography of warrior ideology in Iberia (Freire 2005) and the role of conflict as ´ ´ an elite strategy in Iron Age society in Spain (Aranda Jimenez and Sanchez Romero 2005). not only theoretically but with revised philological understandings of Greek and Roman accounts (Hofeneder 2005). manifest in house construction. 2003) attest to the fact that social elites were actively engaged in conflicts and provide opportunities for discussion and analysis. McCartney (2006) interprets changing settlement in Iron Age France as a distinct. and landscape relationships. Osgood et al. namely. The archaeological study of religion often has focused on the obvious: the monumental. the existence of nonhierarchic traditions such as shamanism and individual or household practices has been recognized along with more formal traditions.J Archaeol Res (2009) 17:347–423 369 warfare have appeared in recent years with extensive representation of Europe (e.g. Since a number of scholars now believe that religious elites or specialists may have had important parallel powers—perhaps even corulership—alongside secular leaders within heterarchically organized Iron Age societies.g.. has finally led to reconsideration of the degree to which people divided the sacred from the 123 . Karl (2003) discusses weaponry and war vehicles. A new journal established in 2005. 1978). religious and ritual activity has been recharacterized (Maier 2006). Deconstruction (e. Goody 1990) of the long-cherished idea of innate human religious dualities (Durkheim 1995. has taken on new meaning. while other authors ¨ (Bishop and Knusel 2005. Bekker-Nielsen and Hannestad 2001. 2000). 2005) discuss the paleopathological and osteological evidence for Iron Age warfare and the practices such data reflect. Vandkilde 2003). Theorizing the sacred Along with other significant revisions to our conceptualization of the Iron Age. 1969.. Iron Age religious practice was once understood through normative models as mainly largescale display-oriented ritual focused on bending the commoner to elite will. Craig et al. Some authors postulate a high degree of warfare but also note that it can be largely ˜ invisible (Parcero Oubina 1997) and must sometimes be inferred from iconography and defensive structures.

with its prominence in the landscape and wealth often contained within. Oswald 1997). the ritual from the ordinary. Several large overviews of Iron Age religion or its form among the Celts have appeared (Aldhouse-Green 2001a. Marco Simon 2005. while the poor may surround themselves with privileges for the afterlife that were not theirs while living. Whitley (2002b) and Pitts (2003) have continued the debate over the status of ancestors in past societies. there may be change in burial practices and in the relationships between the living and the dead over time. The unusual patterning of garbage deposition and the arrangement of domestic architecture at ordinary farms is now viewed as encoding supernatural beliefs (Fitzpatrick 1997. b. as did speculation about the representation of supernaturals on various artifact classes. as among many contemporary peoples (Bradley 2003.370 J Archaeol Res (2009) 17:347–423 profane. Some have argued for a transition between ritual modes: the co-option of previously open ritual practices and their transformation into elitecontrolled. funerary feasting. Roman descriptions of Celtic sacrificial practices similarly spawned endless early treatises. 123 . Pitts’ notion that it has proved a useful and fertile ground for building new frameworks is also true. exclusionary systems. Recently. and bloody druidic rites are perhaps the oldest and stalest topic within Iron Age archaeology. 12). or if they did so at all (Bradley 2003. seeking new lines of evidence to test interpretations. p. Iron Age agriculturalists are newly imagined as individuals who saw few divisions between ritual and daily practice. The archaeology of death The quest to draw meaning from the rituals surrounding death has long preoccupied archaeologists. While mounds. many new takes on the context and meaning of death and afterlife rituals—built and natural locales. we have already noted the reinterpretation of pits and structures within some hillforts. ´ ˜ Brunaux 2000. Additionally. Parker Pearson and Richards 1994). Whitley’s observation that archaeologists disproportionately model ancestor worship as a structuring mechanism of past societies is reflected in the Iron Age literature. Others argue against this. 1996. Social theories surrounding religious syncretism also have been introduced into the study of the widespread cultural mixing and melding seen throughout the Iron Age. while others treat more specific areas or topics. who may have experienced deity in everyday activities. found in various forms across Iron Age Europe. Parker Pearson (1995) has noted that more traditional archaeologists are now acknowledging the critique of both functionalist explanations for mortuary ritual as well as the now-recognized possibility that the rich and powerful can disguise the status of their dead for social. grave goods. and others—incorporate a series of new approaches. Oswald 1997). captured the imagination of earlier generations. or ideological reason. sacrifice. Archaeologists continue to struggle with these issues. Sopena 2005). The monumental burial. within the same culture (Parker Pearson 1993. A growing sophistication is reflected in the shift from study primarily of structures or artifacts to identifying the ‘‘process of ritualization’’ over time (Bradley 2003. Fitzpatrick 1992). political. offerings.

animals. Brunaux (1988. Preliminary results indicate that the osteological sexing of some burials was in error and that there may have been demographic exchanges between different Hallstatt regions. Arnold and Murray 2002). Offerings and sacrifices Many researchers continue the longtime tradition of studying sacrificial practices and the deposition of votive or other offerings—objects. b).J Archaeol Res (2009) 17:347–423 371 The burial mound itself has been removed from the antiquarian realm and is being used to answer more contemporary questions about kinship and religious practice and how they interfaced with other aspects of life. Arnold and Wicker 2001) has approached the built landscapes of the dead as ‘‘mortuary communities’’ that reflect relationships among the living and between the living and the dead. textual. single-elite mounds to large communal burials for some order of social unit whose type is as yet unknown. this would give clues as to whether Iron Age polities were chiefdoms or states (Arnold 2002. 2001) 123 . p. authority. Most agree that human subjects were a rare but regularly offered sacrifice. indicating that Iron Age people were using or curating objects or remains that had ritual value (Hingley 1996). This does not necessarily indicate continuity. Changes in the location of mound cemeteries in relation to settlements probably reflect social and political changes. The most extensive treatment of human sacrifice is perhaps the work of Aldhouse-Green (2001a. especially the shift from small. Some changes may be less political and more purely religious. 132). or mystique of earlier groups. intermarriage. The development of aDNA studies has provided insight on whether groups buried around the primary ‘‘chiefly’’ burial in Hallstatt Iron Age mounds were kin groups or political followings. Iron Age burials in Scandinavia also have been found with ‘‘anachronistic’’ grave goods taken from earlier contexts. 2005. perhaps through fosterage. and people—in special contexts. perhaps with notions of ancestry. perhaps to co-opt the power. such as shifts in the conception of how the living interact with those already in the afterlife. as well as Roman and Greek practices. 2000. Unlike many other authors. and archaeological data to examine such practices across Europe in the later Iron Age. about whom there are Roman accounts. Arnold and Kaestle 2002. but various evidence for the Germanic/ Nordic regions. much as megalithic avenues might have forced people to see certain vistas and think about them in particular and intentional ways. p. Aldhouse-Green (2001a) discusses not only Celts. The ostentatious display of many ancestors in monumental tombs may have been a keen reminder of past and present relationships as one approached a settlement site (Arnold 2002. Arnold (2002. Green 1998a. which uses ethnographic. 131). per traditional interpretations. the reuse of the ancient or mysterious can simply support or amplify later unconnected practices. or slavery (Arnold and Kaestle 2002). Iron Age materials found inside Neolithic chambered tombs appear to be ritual substitutions for bones or objects removed from the megalithic context. similar to Hingley’s (1996) findings for Britain. or new burial treatments were developed that may have been aimed at keeping the dead ‘‘in their graves’’ and away from haunting or bringing ill fortune to the living (Arnold 2002.

Tollund Man. 1993b. 282–283. Jerem 2003.372 J Archaeol Res (2009) 17:347–423 also surveys many topics associated with sacrifice. also contain ceramics and other small artifacts thought to be part of offering rituals (Fitzpatrick 1997. 47): strangulation. Poole 1995. sometimes in symmetrical patterns. 123 . Ross 1995). Germany. located in structures or sites that appear to have special purposes. Turner 1996. Many ABG species match textual descriptions of animals important in Iron Age sacrificial contexts: bulls (Brunaux 1988. p. once interpreted as ordinary trash pits. The remains. were then carefully rearranged. van der Veen and Jones 2006. where a Celtic colony is well attested. Ralph 2007. often interpreted as the result of intentional arrangement or mixing. beheading. horses (Aldhouse-Green 2004b. as perhaps representing the effects of dismemberment in warfare rather than as a religious rite. c. stabbing. which have been called ABGs. animals. Grant (1984. 1996). p. Brunaux 2000. celebrations. Wilson 1999). Cunliffe 1983. Specific beliefs of some kind are represented in some practices such as the gendering of animals placed in human graves as offerings (Jerem 2003. Smith 2001). 14–18. Other more local or specific studies of human ¨ offerings and excarnation rites have been made by Carr and Knusel (1997). and dogs (Aldhouse-Green 2004a. 1989) discusses ABGs appearing within offerings of grain. now interpreted as resulting from feasting events. pp. There are many archaeological examples of animal sacrifice across Iron Age Europe (Green 1992. 2002. 9–13. the Netherlands. 1992. p. in manners textually described as in sacrificial ritual (Dandoy et al. others carefully arranged as ‘‘clusters of human bones from bodies that had been dismembered. some thrown in pits. and grain have been found in Britain and France (Aldhouse-Green 2001a. Lambot 1998. associated bone groups (Wilson 1999). and juvenile victims of violence (Selinsky 2005). 2000. 1993a. 494– 495) and at Anatolian Gordion. Delattre 2006. Many sites display small pit features containing bones of certain animal species combined in repeated ways. Hill 1989. female. p. Wilson 1999). Poole 1995. 15). p. are also linked to practices subsequent to animal sacrifices (Fitzpatrick 1997. 2004b. and Britain—both Celtic and Germanic regions— display signs of ritual dispatch similar to what classical authors relate. pp. Poole 1995. on an outside ground surface with shallow depressions. or religious ideologies. 544). many of these. pits of grain once described as storage features are now interpreted as offerings to chthonic deities (Cunliffe 1992. 1995b. especially when compared with pits that much more clearly resulted from food preparation (Hill 1995b.’’ Similar combinations of bound or dismembered people of various ages and sexes. reflecting feasts. 283. Van der Sanden 1996) in Scandinavia. pp. Williams 2003). 544) or the repeated mixing of specific species (Fitzpatrick 1997. these features. and blunt force. Bog bodies such as Lindow Man. comingled with animal bones. and Grauballe Man (Briggs 1995. 1993a. Smith 2001). Cunliffe 1983. Gordion recently yielded several areas with skeletal material from multiple male. Craig et al. Examples of decapitated or dismembered bodies are found across Europe (Wait 1995. pp. Some large cattle-bone middens at hillforts and other sites of social activity. du Lesley 2000. (2005) examine fragmented human remains. Similarly. Jerem 1998. Milcent 2004). Turner and Scaife 1995. Conversely. but largely restricted to ‘‘Celtic’’ contexts. have now been reassessed.

D. Cool 2000. of the organization of military groups. but sometimes on land. dating to around A. beyond the Rhineland frontier yet still within the sphere of interaction. has been ´ discussed by Fulford (2001). of intergroup relations within the region. and to which indigenous deities they were to be given. such as in the case of red deer sacrifice (Jerem 1998. There. The equipment for drinking and beverages is included in elite burials (Witt 1996) and in nonburial ritual depositions of various types (Pitts 2005). The persistence of such depositions. and RomanGermanic relations. booty. Parker Pearson 1996. 317–319) offers interesting discussion of Romano-Celtiberian inscriptions that detail the offerings. and why they were deposited. important in the performance of sociopolitical feasting (Arnold 1999. excarnation). Sanchez Moreno 2001). how water was conceptualized as a gateway to the supernatural world. and their display in sanctuaries and shrines (Grant 1989. 1990. 2003). Wilson 1999). Many studies concern deposition of weapons. Hill 1996. Alcohol was probably a primary component of secular displays of generosity necessary for Iron Age leaders in the maintenance of their roles and their relationship with the community. Dietler and Hayden 2001. 1996. pp. 1990. burial. and personal effects of defeated soldiers) and its context. religious beliefs. Concerned with a need for source criticism. wealth. Votive objects can be unusual objects or simple domestic materials. 2003) approaches the entire corpus of weapons offerings sites. Much research addresses ritual disposal of offerings in water or bogs. and disarticulation patterns. 104). Of note is a study of the Illerup Adal weapons sacrifice site. how. the events they were held at. some preserve riches or weapons. Rausing 1997). Marco Simon (2005. Hedeager 1999. Crawford 2004. Alcoholic beverages also were mind-altering substances used in rites and rituals when religious elites entered the trance state described by Classical authors and indigenous myths. cremation/ burning. some runic inscriptions. a number of authors have challenged the status of some reputed hoards and the difficulty of distinguishing votive deposits 123 . Iron Age deposits in Scandinavian bogs were clearly ritual depositions. often with religious overtones. Thurston 2001. p. but some contain farm tools and wooden plates and bowls that would have held simple food offerings (Becker 1971. Woodward and ˚ Woodward 2004). An even more encompassing edited treatment (Jørgensen et al. Ritual hospitality and feasting are important sociopolitical strategies (Salinas 2001. 200 (Ilkjær 2002). a picture is drawn of Iron Age Scandinavia. Pitts 2005. perhaps as dedications to deities. and seasonality as an indicator of annual rituals. Others have studied the partitioning of animals after death. even after Roman rule was established in the provinces. and relationships between the Roman world and Scandinavia. which may be related to afterlife beliefs or to the presentation of the objects to the gods or ancestors (Bradley 1988. or status objects in religious contexts. Other simple offerings associated with house foundation construction are not often recognized as such (Paulsson-Holmberg 1997). the use of their remains as deposits in burials and domestic areas. Jerem 2003. creating a void in the study of where. which for many decades in Europe were classified by type rather than the context of the finds (Osborne 2004). Dietler. method of offering (consumption.J Archaeol Res (2009) 17:347–423 373 Animal sacrifice also has been studied in terms of dispatch based on cutmarks. through the material (weapons. 1999. breakage.

These rectangular earthwork enclosures in Germany and Bohemia. This can be achieved by examining the builders’ less obvious intentions of marking religious differences and controlling the sacred by clearly differentiating it from the everyday (Izzet 2001). the Netherlands. cooked. 132) notes that Viereckschanzen are often closely associated with earlier mound cemeteries near enclosed hilltop sites. Wilson 1999). Others are content to call them special-use structures that were not as separated from daily ¨ life as previously believed (Bradley 2003. where many feel that over time religious practice was more and more governed by secular elites than by religious specialists. for example. Arnold (2002. related to social rules on appropriate victims and their presentation to the gods on behalf of the community. Buildings. in the form of depictions of deities pressed from thin sheets of gold. But as noted above. This is seen in the transfer of offerings and votives from long-used ‘‘natural’’ places to the compounds of political leaders: small structures with offerings. landscapes. 1998). perhaps using the sacred to structure growing social differences within a society that was becoming more politically complex. This debate hinges on the definition of sacred or ritual space: some archaeologists determine religious activity by an exclusive use of structures or areas for rituals. In a similar vein. elite farms. areas to store food for redistribution. Johns 1996). 2005. suggesting that different treatments of sacrificed human bodies (raw. or even shifting over time from sacred to ordinary uses (Venclova 1993. for southern Britain. Fitzpatrick 1992. Oestigaard (2000) goes further. A type of structure once considered to clearly represent ritual architecture. Others have attempted to add categories. Larsson 2004).374 J Archaeol Res (2009) 17:347–423 from wealth repositories and caches of treasure that were unintentionally abandoned (Aitchison 1988. Germanic. this was not always the case. 1997. Evidence for shrines or ritual buildings has recently been published in Scandinavia (Callmer 2001. were classified as shrines in the 1960s and 1970s based on limited excavations. and structured religions Although Celtic. Smith (2001) attempts to demonstrate that despite reinterpretations of the hillforts themselves. perhaps as part of their commemoration. Fabech 1994. accompanied by clear votive objects (Venclova 1993). asking whether new cremation rites and urn burials in Roman Britain constitute votive offerings of the dead themselves (Williams 2003). ritual enclosures in British hillforts represent co-option of ritual by elites as a part of their ongoing efforts to take control of society. and burnt) represented the offering of a varied cosmological feast to the deities. p. enclosures called Viereckschanzen. and Belgium. are often found directly adjacent to elite compounds (Lundqvist et al. recent thought considers the revelation that many societies practice less separation between ritual and daily life and that a fusion of the ritual and domestic 123 . Watt 2004). recently has been questioned by some skeptics (Venclova 1993). with parallels in France. 1993. Bruck 1999). Reanalysis indicates they are less similar than once thought and they appear to have varied functions (Bradley 2003) such as feasting sites (Murray 1995). and Nordic groups are often understood as holding rituals at natural places such as groves and lakes (Green 1992.

Bradley 2002. Paasztor et al. Theorists incorporating embodiment and performance approaches ask: Did they sing and dance at such places? Did they use public processional performances or private ceremonies? What do such variations mean about society and does practice change through time? Work ranges from descriptive analyses of processional materials (Pare 1989) to phenomenological or cognitive studies of the experience and ´ meaning of public ritual performances (Newman 2007. political. there is evidence that cosmology may have played some role in the architectural and structural ¨ organization of chiefly complexes as a whole (Soderberg 2003). or other perceived category. a perspective well known in Neolithic studies. One research thread follows the ways in which ritual practitioners direct participants through landscapes (both built and natural) that are conceptually integrated with a belief system. Parcero Oubina et al.. Gosden et al. 2000). In addition to religious structures. or as integrative institutions necessary for the maintenance of newly urban cultures (Izzet 2001). and bronze ritual ‘‘spoons’’ found in British male and female mortuary contexts as well as hoards may indicate druid burials (Fitzpatrick 2007).g. factions within polities. 1998. The study of ritual landscapes ranges from locational analyses of their organization across space to phenomenological studies of how they ˜ would have been experienced (Newman 2007. Ralston 2007). Lillios 1999. Some authors integrate understandings of how religion functions. Milcent (2001) has approached regional mortuary data as a funerary landscape (although again. A recent study of ritual enclosures in French late Iron Age sites (Verger 2000) takes a holistic landscape approach. those tending the offering place also may have lived there and maintained their own households. Several archaeologists have examined if and how this phenomenon can be seen archaeologically in Iron Age Europe (Blake 1998. Prent 2003).J Archaeol Res (2009) 17:347–423 375 characterizes much Iron Age settlement (Cavers 2006. see Robb [1998] for a critique of the sacred landscape concept). this may be incorrect for much of the ¨ Iron Age (Bradley 2003. who suggests that the concept of ‘‘social forgetting’’ regularly explored by ethnographers should also be of interest to archaeologists. p. faction. Tilley and Bennett 2001). The debate over what constitutes sacred space spills over into the question of who directed activities at such locales. 1998. kin group. One strategy is to identify them. social. and how they honor or resurrect the past for many purposes—religious. attempting to identify all parts of a local sacred landscape and rejecting a more standard French approach using classical textual sources as a main interpretive tool (e. the study of how people collectively recognize an agreed-upon past for their political unit. both practically and symbolically within society. they also see a debate as to the use and misuse of the concept between Last (1998) and Mullin (2001). miniature weapons. A research area closely related to phenomenology is that of social memory and commemoration. now used for both the Bronze Age and Iron Age (Izzet 2001. 123 . Tilley and Bennett 2001). Oestigaard 1999. 389). Thus studies of the structure and practice of organized religion in Iron Age societies have become more multifaceted and are no longer hypothesized as merely a function of competing polities. Bruck 1999). headdresses. While Romans may have later influenced conceptualization of temples or shrines as places reserved only for special activities.

some scholars have a harder time imagining a complimentary shamanistic practice. addressing questions of whether freestanding shamans practiced synchronically with more organized groups. 1999). for whom the term ergi was reserved (Blain and Wallis 2000) and for whom Odin. The orientation of doors and village enclosure openings. p. was later described textually as requiring a folding seat and carved staff. Lindstrøm and Kristoffersen 2001). Aldhouse-Green and Aldhouse-Green 2005. Ullen 1994. continued along with other more structured religions. Shamanic beliefs also are indicated by textual fragments of ritual songs and ¨ inscriptions on amulets with references to personal spirit guides (Shkala 1990. 1996) for embedded beliefs about deposition.376 J Archaeol Res (2009) 17:347–423 Other religious systems Institutionally organized or structured religions coexisted with other forms in the European Iron Age. Aldhouse-Green and Aldhouse-Green 2005. They are probably depicted on Iron Age picture stones from Sweden as ritual-performing figures with normative male beards but women’s clothing and gestures (Andreeff 2006). Textual sources also reveal that seidr was practiced by transgendered males. Several scholars assert that shamanism. archaeologists seek evidence for domestic rites and rituals in community or household contexts. Their formal ‘‘priesthood’’ may have been more of a Roman ethnocentrism than an Iron Age reality. 74). preceded by more part-time or casual practice (Fitzpatrick 2007). Oswald 1997). The study of druids also has seen renewed interest. and the idea that these systems could have coexisted among continental groups has been sharply critiqued in some quarters. Green 1998c). and time. transformation motifs involving animals and humans are common (Aldhouse-Green 2001b. Where druids and temples are attested. shamanism among the Celts and Britons is now an important topic of inquiry. Domestic architecture and associated features have been reexamined ˚ (Fitzpatrick 1997. Despite this. 123 . Fitzpatrick 2007. or perhaps it was only in the late Iron Age context of conflict with Rome that druids became highly organized and specialized. This is now fairly well accepted for Scandinavia. direction. and possible creation of entoptic art (AldhouseGreen 2001b. a shamanistic tradition practiced by women. where seidr. or if druidic practice included shamanistic trances. Strom 1990). combined with the orientation of nearby burials. 12). indicates that some patterns apparently encode beliefs shared across broad areas (Fulford 2001. narcotic use. Tangherlini 1990). The ceremonial functions of hillforts are reflected in farmstead features that suggest feasting. Stalbom 1997. p. By studying the development of community ritual. or shamanic-like rites and rituals. With the understanding that sacred activity was not always structured by a religious hierarchy. Oswald 1997. In both Celtic and Germanic art styles. Creighton 1995. was patron (Solli 1997. and similarly consistent ‘‘structured depositions’’—ABGs of birds and mammals—must reflect a domestic ritual context. Shamanism also may be reflected in the ubiquitous ‘‘imagery of the space where the bard finds himself before the event of the vision’’ in Celtic myths ˘ ¸ (Balinis teanu 2003. one can glean something of their social or political integration (Bradley 2003. space. and recent years have seen an increase in the study of such data. which are indeed found in some protohistoric women’s burials. in his transvestite and seidr-practicing incarnation (Hedeagar 1997.

both as created by indigenous people and as used by Rome as a strategy for integration through interpretatio. One of 123 . Thus the organization of both more or less structured religious practices has been studied through new analyses of built environments. they grew to have religious meanings encompassing fertility and continuity but were placed in a public sphere and may have included performances (Bauman 1986. may be worthless for understanding anything except their actual cosmopolitan contexts. and other religious art. Sedgwick and Parker 1995. Earlier concepts of syncretism that assumed a ‘‘peaceful blending’’ have been rejected. invigorated through study of historic imperialism in which syncretism masks conflict or helps negotiate unequal and unsatisfactory sociopolitical conditions (Webster 1996. or the purposeful pairing of Roman deities with local supernaturals (Webster 1995a. to extensive mound groups or cemeteries. often used to interpret pre-Roman beliefs. Reflecting the hallmark of the later Iron Age—colonial and imperial interactions between the Mediterranean and ¨ Europe—syncretism has been the focus of much recent writing (Haussler 2001. in which ritual and other elements are studied in an integrated manner. Webster 1997). interwoven by long-term contact. 1997). and Mediterranean ideas that were the culmination of a mixed culture that incorporated traditions from all over the empire. from homestead to temples. it may have created a culture of resistance rather than compliance. domestic contexts. shrines. who suggests that all cultic and ritual traditions within Roman Europe were the result of centuries of amalgamation of various indigenous traditions. there are many indications of ritual patterning in ordinary communities. syncretism is seen primarily as an active process controlled by local people more than an imposition by Rome. is one mode of interaction between neighboring and distant peoples but not its only context. Derks (1998) suggests that while such processes may have played an integrative role in areas closer to Roman heartlands. Turner 1969. reliefs. p. 1986). Bradley explains the ritualization of the domestic sphere within the bounds of ordinary life as reflecting the fact that rituals grew to accompany important events and ‘‘emphasized key transactions in ancient social life’’ (Bradley 2003. Thus early provincial Latin inscriptions and material culture. b). The huge literature on Roman provincial religion is outside the scope of this article but a few notes on early interactions are offered. the focus on formal processes and places caused researchers to overlook alternative formats. Interaction theories Warfare and conquest. to whole landscapes. 20) such as harvest or sharing food. as occurred during the Roman expansion. Schechner 2002. and seemingly utilitarian practices that may conceal ritual meanings.J Archaeol Res (2009) 17:347–423 377 Recent studies in France (Verger 2000) show a similar pattern: in addition to clear shrine structures normally studied in French sites. or ritual enclosures. Romano-Celtic and ¨ Romano-German traditions are further deconstructed by Haussler (2001). Studied through inscriptions and the iconography of statues. In the past. in outlying areas such as the northern reaches of the empire. despite the existence of the interpretatio policy.

Haselgrove [1987]. continue to find utility but also have seen substantial critique and are no longer the only perspectives. For later periods it was recast and promoted as Romanization in which a type of cultural imperialism. such as in mortuary practices. past. Sherratt 1995. for elites who commanded substantial wealth and influence in their communities? Were they indigenously complex or did they become so through interaction with outside groups. once seen only as receptors of more ‘‘advanced’’ cultural traditions. Core and periphery. diffusion. or merging of cultural repertoires. This shift was ushered in together with the agency concept. The revisionist cutting edge of the 1970s and 1980s thus comprised the application of processual concepts to these interactions. Fulford 1992). while displaying evidence. through postcolonial theory for example. Beginning in the era of the New Archaeology. present. the ways in which Iron Age people differed from neighboring empires is in part explained through the heterarchy concept. and the selective adoption of new ideas. Many of their underlying assumptions have been questioned and rejected. and where the progress of imperialism was considered a top-down process only (e. and by corporate/ network theory. or some combination of these factors? Should such ideas. 1942). In recent years. relates to the role of various interactions in the development of politically complex societies. 1992]. on top of political imperialism. Even in the 1970s. which has permitted archaeologists to theorize not only dominant groups and empires but independent and/or smaller-scale polities.g. 1999 for reevaluations). creating a new focus on local developments. was assumed. the drivers of cultural change have been substantially retheorized away from standard 20th century interaction theories. where the adoption of all things Roman at the expense of all things local was a given. 123 . and migration were those of Childe (1936. many carryovers from earlier impressionistic studies were still rife in the literature. be done away with entirely? These questions have been examined in different ways and with different means over the last 30 years. Many studies focus on groups (and individuals) within local European frameworks as vigorous actors in the rejection. Hedeager [1987. the concept of ‘‘Hellenization.378 J Archaeol Res (2009) 17:347–423 the most active areas of research. continuity. Why did Iron Age Europeans manifest as materially different than the Greek and Roman state societies in terms of centralized leadership. even under conditions of colonialism. and probably future. many turned to the concept of the prestige-goods economy (Blanton and Feinman [1984] and Earle [1987] in the general literature. As noted. domination and resistance. popular throughout the 1970s and 1980s. acquisition. Frankenstein and Rowlands [1978]. which might demonstrate how differences can be characterized between the internal gestalt of Mediterranean groups on the ‘‘network’’ end versus their more corporate counterparts elsewhere in Europe. Yet the clear interaction of indigenous Europeans with other regions must have had impacts.. and world systems theory. which illuminates the ways in which decentralized societies function in relation to rival states. The earliest modern archaeological concepts of European interaction with distant civilizations through trade. Momigliano 1975. for example. the prestige-goods economy.’’ presumably the process by which non-Greek peoples were made more or less Greek and acculturated or assimilated into Greek culture and language (Hannestad 1993.

applied through the notion of self-Romanization. Such models.g. The era’s typical economic model for the Late Bronze Age and the Iron Age hypothesized the development of an administrative hierarchy to control production of various commodities such as salt and metals (Alexander 1982) or to administer trade and centralize distribution (Frankenstein and Rowlands 1978. While rare items may initially be controlled through interelite trade. and that when Rome began to intrude into neighboring regions. and Romans. Wells 1989. but opening the door for elites themselves to become risk-taking entrepreneurs in a quest for personal wealth rather than prestige (Kipp and Schortman 1989. with their leaders reliant on imports to bolster their primitive or inchoate political ambitions. p. In terms of interaction with the Romans. for example. before the 1990s the complex organization of a robust urbanized society was typically attributed only to interaction with various entities such as Phoenicians. already established tradition ´ ˜ (Parcero Oubina and Fernandez 2004). p. The protection of trade also enables rulers to assemble military forces that can then be used for other purposes (Hodges 2000). suggested that the intrusion of a marketplace facilitates the consolidation of chiefly power and helps transform it into state power through the creation of political economies of trade and the coercive force to protect it. Frankenstein and Rowlands 1978.. G. 1987).J Archaeol Res (2009) 17:347–423 379 Shennan [1982]. p. using the example of Roman–European interactions. Greeks. p. The horizon concept also was liberally. placing first Hallstatt then La Tene groups in the position of periphery. Woolf (1997. In the great archaeological tradition of overly direct extradisciplinary pilfering. the data point to an earlier. ` Rowlands et al. This theory describes the trader initially as the servant or messenger of an elite. Woolf 1997) that modern colonial processes could be used as analogs for those in the ancient world (e. 375). an idea rooted in 20th century capitalism rather than in the expansionist impulses of the ancient world. 339) points out that like many modern proponents of globalization. 535. with their implicit oppositions—core/periphery and domination/resistance (Champion 1989)—characterized the relationship between indigenous Iron Age Europeans and the Greeks (Dietler 1989) and then Romans as a prestige-goods-dependent economy (Cunliffe 1988. although upon examination. Dyson 1985). much of this new theorizing came from an assumption (G. changing the power of luxury imports to bestow elite status. Kipp and Schortman (1989. 340) notes that the New Archaeology assumed Rome’s primary economic goal was to reduce its own costs while increasing its revenue. 1996a). in which local leaders sought out 123 . Woolf (1997. Haselgrove 1987. such theorists contended that an impoverished local culture was being replaced by something new and improved. Sherratt 1972. Bartel 1980. Such ideas helped build a political economy model that was applied liberally to Iron Age groups throughout Europe. Wells [1980a. p. though tacitly. In Spain. they often eventually can be bought and sold by anyone with money (Kipp and Schortman 1989). G. the anthropologically described process of colonial acculturation was occurring (Okun 1989). To study this. b] for European Iron Age examples) to explain the connections between interregional interaction. archaeologists typically measured locally made artifacts against imports from Italy. 379). and power. wealth.

380 J Archaeol Res (2009) 17:347–423 symbols of Roman life to better fit into and take advantage of the Roman hierarchy (Millett 1990a. mainly due to their assumption. Gebhard 1995. This represents a substantial shift toward convergence of scholarly traditions within Europe (Rowley-Conwy 2001) and some earlier transatlantic divides. at least for North Americans working in Europe. which in turn interacted with a Mediterranean core. 2004. cloth. Dietler (1997a. Kristiansen 1994. A look at the Greeks themselves as peripheral to other world systems also has been offered (Morris 1996). Schneider 1977. which today most would hold as unlikely (G. For France. thus equalizing them in many ways and explaining why continental Europeans might have been less concerned with aping the Greeks and Romans and more likely to selectively borrow from them. van den Broeke 1995). Gunder Frank and Thompson 2006). core/periphery. p. and precious metals sought by Mediterraneans and controlled by indigenous groups. World systems theory also initially placed barbarians in the periphery/dependency category (Randsborg 1992) and soon became a primary explanatory model for the interaction of Europeans with Phoenicians. Several authors have argued that trade in both directions was equal in volume and impact (Briggs 2003. especially furs. Alternatives to the prestige-goods model are found in arguments that goods and raw materials flowing out of Europe and toward the Mediterranean (furs. the Tartessians in Spain (Gamito 2005). that the era pitted one ethnic group against another in a cultural conflict: Celts versus Greek or Romans.g. and the local context and historical contingency of the record—into the study of interaction.. as with earlier ideas of Hellenization and Romanization. agency. A major development over the last 15 years has been an increasing incorporation of perspectives once considered exclusively postmodern—the study of identity. literal applications and the subsequent overuse of the concept were followed by more considered and nuanced interpretations of this theory (Wells 2005). Wallerstein 1974. Gunder Frank and Thompson 2006. see Bilde and Engberg-Pedersen 1993. b) 123 . as if such nationalistic concepts existed in the ancient world. Woolf (1997) notes that these were vast improvements over earlier ideas but still problematic.g. However. e. b). even for elite-associated materials (Cumberpatch 1995a. Studies at some oppida show that a large portion of trade was local rather than long distance. Wells 1996b). ethnicity. G. and domination/resistance models linking the social and political development of European society almost exclusively to trading interactions has been extensively critiqued. and Romans. metals. Greeks. for European Iron Age examples. Cunliffe 1988. Wells 1996a). Nash 1987. in some cases self-critiqued by those who had liberally applied them. Briggs 2003.. amber. Woolf 1997. The use of world systems theory. Early. slaves) were as important for the status of Mediterranean elites as those goods flowing to European leaders were to them. prestigegoods studies paved the way for the slightly later and highly popular incorporation of world systems theory (e. By initially placing barbarians in the role of passive prestige receptors. Gebhard et al. Several authors have proposed that Europe was/is peripheral only in Roman eyes (Sherratt 1993) and that the Celtic and Germanic spheres formed their own economic cores (Boenke 2005. the appearance of exotic materials far from their origination points can be seen through other lenses. amber. 340).

age. indicating that extant groups of the Italian peninsula were already highly complex and engaged in economic exchanges with northern Europe by the late Bronze Age. an emergent synthetic tradition spread backward over the empire to its core. Millett 1990a. Romans were especially influenced by outsiders at frontier locations such as trade or military outposts far away from core regions (Cabrera 1998. in addition to economic exchanges. typically purported to show local dependence on foreign prestige items. One continually evolving and expanding theme is how. McCarthy 2005. Following a trend seen in general archaeological theory (e. altering or eradicating what earlier Romans would have recognized as their own traditions. The appearance of Roman ornaments in areas later associated with the Balts. Many have introduced evidence that Mediterranean culture was substantially or equally impacted by the cultures of Celts. b). Freeman 1993. Lightfoot and Martinez 1995. it also involved hegemony. p. leading to a pan-imperial culture that was diverse over its vast extent. 1999). some have proposed that imperial culture not only eventually subsumed pre-Roman provincial cultures but earlier Roman culture itself (G. has been argued convincingly (Sidrys 2001) as reflecting payments by more southerly ‘‘barbarians’’ to those in the north for cheap raw amber materials that were then fashioned by middlemen into trade goods bound for the Roman market. appear to have often been in contrast to their identities as state representatives is a condition recently explicated through archaeology and inscriptions (Hope 2003).J Archaeol Res (2009) 17:347–423 381 found that while major colonies had a large impact on their immediate regions. drawn from all over the empire. to a reassessment of the nature of preRoman Italy. Imperial Rome is here seen as a system of structured differences varyingly based on region. Small (1999) points to unresolved issues of integrating textual and archaeological data among classicists as the primary obstacle to a better understanding of earlier Greek and Phoenician interactions in Europe. p. Wells’ (2005) review article addresses this on the Roman Danube frontier. Aubet et al. Although the spread of Roman culture involved conquest. Carroll 2001.g. When in the Iron Age the Roman state began to rise. Finally. from Scotland to Syria. (1996) have argued that many communities failed to be integrated into the systems of eastern Mediterranean 123 . and Britons. many smaller Mediterranean trade enclaves had lesser impact and different sets of interactions with locals. class. social status. Germans. Roman impact is not the only interaction being reassessed. Schortman and Urban 1992). That the individual identities of Roman soldiers. Some indications of trade with Rome may not in fact represent interaction at all. 341). variously structured interactions impact not only one but all interacting groups. since their everyday needs (including sexual encounters) would have been drawn from local contexts (Allison 2006).. 341). in recent years. rather than the ‘‘subjugation of one ethnic group or national community to that of another’’ (G. Celtiberians. Woolf 1997. and gender (G. As the empire encompassed more distant exotic places and ever more foreign ideas. For Spain. introducing the concept of commensality as an alternative descriptor for the relationship between Iron Age communities and classical cultures (Dietler 1996. it was in the context of many already complex urban societies such as the city-states of Etruria (Biette Sestieri 1997). Woolf 1997). Kurchin 1995. Woolf 1997. This rethinking also has led.

they have a fairly broad distribution and may represent a more horizontal society responding more uniformly through general contact rather than special elite ´ control of trade or objects of power (Babic 2002. Hall 2004). Whether such objects were the result of gift exchanges or represent the agency of acquisitive and power-seeking ´ individuals within the Balkan communities is still a topic for research (Babic 2002. p. who display relatively light influences from neighboring Greek colonies. The reexamination of trading impacts also has led to a reassessment of slavery in Iron Age Europe. Leighton 2005). 1984) through structuration theory. Additionally. classes. in what is usually considered to be a period where external trade contacts and colonial Greek impacts were overwhelmingly significant to indigenous people (Kolb and Speakman 2005. 81). in which he unified the concepts of agency and structure. 2005). sometimes simply disregarding them. some authors apply agency. the roles of agency. numerous new studies describe evidence that the Greeks did not dominate local populations (Burgers 2005) but established egalitarian relations with locals (Fitzjohn 2007). practice. New evidence points to high levels of internal trade between local Iron Age groups on Sicily. who saw more than a catch-phrase in the idea of ‘‘duality of structure’’ and the perspective that both societal rules (structure) and human practices (agency) form the context for human 123 . and the shared nature of meaning in cultural production was further developed by Giddens (1979. which are then quickly normalized over generations into new conventions. Babic (2002) has argued that in some contexts. sometimes resisting. which differed substantially from Roman traditions. Several authors examine how indigenous concepts of unfreedom. While Bourdieu (1977) introduced the idea of the agent. and factions within society through creeping or sudden shifts. Similarly. what have been read as cores of emerging barbarian elites may not be cores or elites at all. and structuration concepts to situate forces of change in the competing internal agendas of various groups. recent work has examined the material culture and iconography of enslavement and its use in conveying political and social agendas (Aldhouse-Green 2004b. identity. p. Greek wealth or prestige objects appearing in Balkan princely graves of the early Iron Age may not denote particularly high status for those buried with them. ethnicity. were transformed through intercultural contact that drew entrepreneurial Celtic groups into a slave trade with different notions of dominant/subordinate social relations (Taylor 2001). especially those of elite households. some have discussed whether colonists were more influenced by their host cultures than by their own ´ homelands (De Angelis 2003. This stems from what some see as a correction of the tendency to reduce social and political development following intercultural interactions to dependency models. Internal models of cultural change Instead of attributing most or all cultural change to external contact. These ideas were first suggested as relevant to anthropology and archaeology by Ortner (1984). Nash Briggs (2003) discusses the impact of slaves as contributors to domestic economies. 83).382 J Archaeol Res (2009) 17:347–423 colonizers.

features. Material culture may reflect some of these shifts. and meaning. It thus removes the assumption that ‘‘barbarians’’ were passive receptors of a superior Greek or Roman culture. Practice and structuration theories are useful for describing how individuals shape. some domains become institutionalized while others become fluid. materiality. this produces a more sophisticated view of how and why people might incorporate foreign categories of both ideational and material things into their daily lives—some utilitarian. This work effectively ties the concepts of what archaeologists confront as artifacts. 2001). and then they can be interpreted within local and regional contexts. Instead. has recently been explored in this context (Aldhouse-Green 1998b. Objects. each expressed in different daily contexts. p. outside influence was sometimes minimal (Dietler 1995b. and landscapes to sociological theories of materiality and meaning. the social worlds they inhabit through a constant recursive process involving daily life. Recent studies assert that material evidence tells us there were periods when Iron Age groups were remarkably ‘‘declarative’’ of their own traditions. Randsborg 1992. The popularity of deconstructing dependence and theorizing selective adoption and transformation of Mediterranean culture led to studies indicating that even in terms of style. Agency theory considers the role of groups (or individuals) who use whatever means they might have to take actions that influence. Thurston 1999. and other archaeologically observable phenomena can be interpreted by archaeologists through practice and structuration theory (Bender 2002. Recent work on interaction is based on the realization that individuals display multifaceted identities. as active agents they are now often viewed as having ‘‘managed’’ the penetration of people and ideas from other contexts. can be monitored through time as proxies for change in the power of particular iconographies and styles or for continuities from times past. Gosden 2005). an approach that originated in the work of ¨ Swedish geographer Hagerstrand (1982. imbued with important symbolism and sometimes power. In the context of interaction between two very different groups. This provides a way for highly intangible elements to be linked to the material record: through people’s interactions with other people and material things. Gerritsen 2003. for example. provoke. sites. 1985) and was disseminated by Pred (1984. institutions. that people and groups can be culturally ambiguous. and belief systems they represent. these can be couched within the study of changing site use and shifting landscapes and compared against differing sociopolitical regimes over time. there are many such markers to observe and interpret. and are shaped by. or abandonment of things. and whole classes of objects. even during 123 . While cultural meaning is impressed onto artifacts and features. both for their own messages and the practices. some social or political. The original idea of practice and structure within communities has more recently been theorized across communities (Østerlund and Carlile 2005). Another inroad to understanding substantive changes in group agency and internal change and conflict over time has been the incorporation of space and place into both practice and structuration theories. La ` Tene peoples and Romans. Derks 1999. or initiate social change. changes in landscape use and the maintenance. 17) and has been overinterpreted by certain classicists and those using their paradigms. 1986). places.J Archaeol Res (2009) 17:347–423 383 cultures. establishment. The role of artifacts. Similarly. and that there can be selective or balanced interactions. Applied to the Iron Age.

archaeologists translated this into mortuary customs. 14–16. and foodways. and the form and decoration of artifacts. 2006. Kohl 1998a. Arnold and Hassman 1995. 1997a). These ideologies. Germanic. Comaroff 1985. Out of these perspectives. He suggests that social and political stratification may have been the result of interaction in the ‘‘tribal zone’’ (Ferguson and Whitehead 1992) and the propulsion of weak local elites into positions of more centralized power through the necessity of dealing with entities like Rome. b. Milisauskas 1990. dress.. interest. pp. kinship. has been prolific on this subject (Wells 1998. states. and the archaeology that supported them. Scott 1985. Identity. p. 1978.g. p. found full expression under fascism and communism. Miller et al. 2001). 1990) and its incorporation into archaeological theory (e.and early-20th-century scholars with erroneous and sometimes disastrous results. and empires depends on investigating indigenous identity and the archaeological data that may mark it. Eriksen 2002. Barth’s ideas soon were 123 . most archaeologists working in Iron Age. Archaeological studies of identity and ethnicity were first attempted by 19th. 120. or Celtic studies ignored or were ignorant of both the critique and debate. 79). Roymans models the development of Batavian identity as significantly a product of interaction with Rome (Roymans 2004). expecting each group to look like a well-defined trait package. debates on ethnicity within cultural anthropology influenced many archaeological frameworks. Epstein 1978) and it continues to attract criticism (Banks 1996. 1989). or opportunity while also maintaining their own traditions. who earlier focused on prestige goods and world systems. and socially constructed affiliative groups If we accept that indigenous Europeans were not completely unequal partners in interaction. Okihiro 1986. Despite the critiques of Barth’s isolationist approach as a naive theory of ethnicity. Determining the impact of interactions with other peoples. Morris et al. in his study of modern human communities. Cohen 1994a. stressed differences. and incorporated expectations that such isolation would produce distinct groups of traits. ethnicity. who accommodated change and accepted the new in relative proportions according to need. Galaty and Watkinson 2004. This dovetails with earlier resistance models from anthropology and other social sciences (Colburn 1989. Wells. a subject explored in recent publications (Arnold 1990. the paradigm most attractive to Iron Age scholars was Barth’s (1969) widely disseminated approach. Drawing on the concepts of tribalization (Ferguson and Whitehead 1992) and agency. music. we immediately face issues of identity and ethnicity. 2002). False assumptions about the nature of how ethnicity is materially expressed were combined with nationalist and racialist ideologies that hypothesized a variety of ancestral European homelands or hearths. which viewed ethnic groups as evolving in relative isolation. referred to things like mythology. this approach was challenged soon after it was proposed (Cohen 1974. house plans. In the 1960s. he has pointed to the use of material culture as a proxy for the study of interactions. Barth. Yet among ethnographers. Similarly.384 J Archaeol Res (2009) 17:347–423 periods of intense interactions (Morris 2003.

For Iron Age Europe. it was an ethnic trait and pointed to an ethnic group. or even aesthetic preferences.. 1979. 1978. and political organization and change. 1983) and have been valuable in the study of many regions (e. 1991) generated reviews of major European works that took either the irate tack or an utterly dismissive approach (e. the focus on local and subregional traditions has enlivened the study of ethnicity and cultural identity within this broadly interacting region. Thackeray 1989). Times have changed: it is no understatement to say that identity and ethnicity have been topics of much interest to North American archaeologists over the last decade (Gleason 1983). when it differed it was an ethnic boundary. These ideas formed a main tenet of Hodder’s contextual archaeology (Hodder 1977. and more time is dedicated to understanding continuity from 123 . such as Milisauskas (1998). the patterning of artistic motifs or decorative patterns.. Madsen and Simms 1998. Kimes et al. 1989. the contributors raised new specters: what constitutes evidence? Is archaeology any more reliable than indigenous myths? How can we dodge the dangerous tendency to reconstruct the past in our own image? These ideas that so irritated American scholars at the time (e. When an art style was shared. Njemps. Within societies. age. is equally likely to represent the communication of internal differences in the status. where he studied the use of material culture among the Tugen.J Archaeol Res (2009) 17:347–423 385 used to account for or explain stylistic differences or sharing. where the new paradigm originated.. 1978. Hodder (1977. Approaching issues of identity theoretically and methodologically.g. and studies around the identity and ethnicity of groups. In Europe. ethnicity. interaction. or Wells (1997).g. who delivered both critique and praise in a serious manner (but see Kohl [1998b] for a thoughtful review from a non-Europeanist). Hodder found that there was little correspondence between language.. economic. or even utilitarian artifact types. Similarities that would typically be interpreted archaeologically as clear ethnic markers were equally or more likely to mark trade. and material culture. and gender as any other affiliation. which deemed it impossible or unnecessary to seek archaeological evidence for selfdesignated categories like ethnicity and identity (although see Schmidt [1983] and Schortman [1989] for exceptions). the archaeological study of ethnic and other kinds of identity was already being explored in Shennan’s 1989 edited volume. Stone 2003. Archaeological Approaches to Cultural Identity (Shennan 1989) that included a global array of authors but few North Americans.g. 1979) was carrying out and publishing the results of his ethnoarchaeological work in the Baringo district of western Kenya. As noted. Redman 1991. Americans working in Europe remained concerned with indicators of ecological. This work grew parallel to the New Archaeology of the 1970s and 1980s. factions. Fotiadis 1998) for many years. While Barth’s model was undergoing critique among ethnographers. 1982. and even individuals are now fashionable. religion. This can be compared with reviews of such works by Europeanists in America. They are particularly pertinent to Iron Age studies where there are many questions about the relatedness of indigenous groups and their interactions with each other and outsiders. the long-enshrined notion of Romanization has largely been expunged. e. Watson 1990. emulation. Ethnicity is so apparent (although often misinterpreted) in Roman textual records that it cannot be ignored.g. 1990. and Pokot.

The Romans were studied through a wealth of texts and the modern acceptance of ancient propaganda on what it meant to be Roman. and are likely to review archaeological data separately from textual sources. and the unfree. while the Romans were understood to have incorporated much of this Celtdom by the end of the 1st century A. continuous areas that Celts were traditionally presumed to have inhabited. p.e. The hierarchies once supposed to have controlled Europe were almost exclusively male. and language would eventually have a tremendous impact. ‘‘self-Romanization’’ was a popular incorporation of the horizon or interaction sphere model. formed powerful blocs as senior sociopolitical arbiters or authorities and as a huge and well-exploited junior labor force that was also the target of enculturation and the vehicle of structuration. Ethnicity The three vast cultural groupings long assumed by traditional Iron Age archaeologies. On the other hand. As opposed 123 . Finally. Celtic people were believed to have originally stretched over much of the continent. religion. ethnicity. social. the debate over Celtic identity has been heated. Sims-Williams 1998). we find several new studies of the roles of the unfree in economic. long-absent from consideration of the past (Scott 1997). it assumes that Iron Age elites ‘‘valued [glory] mainly for its convertibility into political success with its consequent material rewards’’ (G. these have undergone some revision to include textual suggestions of matriliny or matrifocal practices in some groups and the contributions of ordinary and elite women to European societies. the Germans. Both scholars and the public have contributed to what has been described as Celtomania (Collis 1997a. Today. and religious life. and historians have overcome this deficit. yet it also has been questioned. the historic and archaeological records of the Iron Age also were liberally infused with the mythos and mystique of the Celts. make good use of the social science literature. were long viewed as coherent ethnic groups. social identities within interacting regions also has been an active area. built up over centuries of romanticism and tinged with politics that introduced passionate emotions over the Celtic consciousness. For the large. philologists. In the 1990s. Woolf 1997. Some of these comprise gender studies. p.386 J Archaeol Res (2009) 17:347–423 pre-Roman into colonial times as well as multiethnic amalgams of the Roman era. Hodder’s Baringo studies on the linkages between material culture.D. While the study of Germanic ethnicity was long deemphasized following World War II. something that is highly doubtful in light of current understanding of Iron Age warrior ideologies. i. ´ Pereira-Gonzalez 1999. the Celts. alternative genders.. While ethnic identity continues to articulate with the research of many scholars. age and youth. 196. It took a long time for Romanists and Celticists to consider that empires are multiethnic by nature and that antique authors were subject to historiographic agendas. Other important work on identity includes the construction of male gender identities. If the ethnographic literature is to be a guideline. 340). and the Romans. many classical archaeologists. a potent combination deeply ingrained and perhaps reified to some extent among many Celticists. these groups.

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to the imperial Romans, who are a ‘‘dead’’ historical entity by almost any stretch, the history and prehistory of anyone called Celtic has relevance for many living Celtic-speaking people or those with Celtic heritage. As has been long debated and understood, the use, misuse, and manipulation of prehistory by any and all parties, and the existence of multiple alternative ‘‘pasts,’’ has tremendous implications for events and conditions in the present. In a worldview that was building accretionally throughout the 20th century, by the mid-1980s there was a general Celticist consensus about a pan-European Celtic culture that had once dominated Europe (e.g., Ellis 1990). Given the changing archaeological paradigms then emerging, there was soon a backlash. Partly an outgrowth of the critique of Celtic identity issues in the disciplinary debates of literature and history (e.g., Lloyd 1985; Witoczek 2002), it began as a growing doubt as to whether the Hallstatt horizon, or the later seemingly more distinctly ` Celtic La Tene phase, actually represented people with shared ethnicity, and if so, whether that ethnicity was one and the same as the Celtic ethnicity described by the Greeks and Romans. Additionally, if there had been such a thing as Celts in the preRoman era, was an entity that defined itself as Celtic primarily limited to Gaul, parts of Iberia, and other regions with which Caesar was familiar? Perhaps the shared styles, aspects of religious beliefs, and even the Celtic languages that were clearly widespread were more akin to the conditions around Lake Baringo (Hodder 1977) than representative of a unitary ethnic identity. A number of archaeologists began to question ‘‘Celticity’’ altogether (Champion 1987; Hill 1989; Merriman 1987), proposing that the Greek term Keltoi was merely an ancient ethnocentrism that describes many different non-Greek and non-Roman groups under one erroneous rubric. Were the literate Greeks, and later Romans, simply labeling as ‘‘the other’’ all Europeans beyond the Mediterranean littoral? Similarly, in describing their societies, did they do so only within the context of their own familiar worlds (Champion 1985; Dunham 1989, 1995; Gwilt 1996)? Even more significantly, archaeologists asked if Celtic style and other supposed unitary traits really were all that similar over large regions (Parzinger 1995). The famous Gundestrup cauldron, a ‘‘Celtic’’ artifact found in Germanic Denmark, has graced the covers and pages of endless books on Celts. It was once believed to have shown pre-Roman Celtic deities (Green 1995b, p. 468) but has recently been reinterpreted as an import of Thracian or even South Asian manufacture (Bergquist and Taylor 1987; Kaul et al. 1991; Taylor 1992). Some specific stylistic motifs ` associated with La Tene Celts are shared by Germanic groups of the same era who ´ have never been considered Celtic (Hulthen 1991). Dietler (1997b), in his summary of Mediterranean interactions with southern France, noted that this region is ` recognizably neither Hallstatt nor La Tene during those respective eras. Archaeologists in Europe had long maintained that there were local variants of Iron Age material culture: the Villanovan culture of central and northern Italy, the Castro culture on the Iberian peninsula, the Billendorf, Milograd, and Pomeranian cultures in eastern Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Ukraine, and on ad infinitum (Fig. 4). Previously, most of these were considered to be small-scale packages within the greater trait package imagined as Celtic. Revisionists assert that a reexamination of material culture in light of new ideas on ethnicity might indicate



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that previous lumping could benefit from some splitting both temporally and spatially, proposing that there are differences between people who share a group of related languages, people who share material culture, and people who self-identify as an ethnic group with an acknowledged shared history, origin, or traditions. The discussion of these concerns opened a floodgate of critique. First was the enormous geographic extent of the traditional Celtic culture area, which stretches from northwestern Britain and the Atlantic facade through eastern Europe to Turkey, where in Galatia migrant Gauls did indeed settle in historic times. In the absence of a Celtic empire, which certainly did not exist, how could such distant regions, over many centuries, share more than the vaguest of cultural connections, perhaps only remnants of shared heritage rather than a unified culture? Or, could Iron Age Europeans, like modern Arabic speakers across the Islamic world or Spanish speakers in the Old and New Worlds, have shared a language and possibly a religion for historic reasons yet had different ethnicities, traditions, and local social and political organization? As the debate progressed, some more fully embraced the critique (Hill and Cumberpatch 1995) and rejected the entire idea of Celticity, seeking to embed local archaeology within local contexts, leaving aside attempts to force all interpretations of material culture, for example, at the British hillfort, into a mold of Celtic social structure cobbled together from various sources. Other scholars, while acknowledging difference, still proposed that even in Britain, where Celts were never described in antiquity, there was some level of conscious Celticity, perhaps as an effect sometimes referred to as ‘‘cumulative Celticity’’ (Hawkes 1973) that supposes an epiphenomenal ethnicity developing in later times rather than a primordial ethnicity held over from earlier times. Karl (2008) has advised that those more ‘‘separatist’’ among Iron Age archaeologists are too reactionary and should step back from an utter rejection of a Celtic culture in Britain, at least at some level. Many Celticist archaeologists also now recognize that ‘‘ethnic boundaries are fluid, blurred and mutable; language cannot be used to define populations with any precision; specific artifacts [sic] and settlement types can spread through channels other than those of their use by ethnically definable groups’’ (Green 1995a, p. 6). The complexity of Celtic ethnic identity has been well surveyed (Morse 1996). Taking the broadest possible definition of ethnicity, as it is studied among contemporary people, Megaw and Megaw state (1994) that the mention of ethnic or political entities by classical authors must have some basis in reality, and they examine ethnographic manifestations of ethnicity to assess how prehistoric identities might be understood. They point out a distinction (Megaw and Megaw 1994) between earlier attempts at analyzing the traits associated with Celtic art and a new direction of reading it for cultural content. They hope that a clearer understanding of who the Celts were can be obtained by ceasing to continually ` compare La Tene artifacts with classical material culture to assess ‘‘degree of influence,’’ and by introducing ethnographic analogies that illuminate the various ways that identity and ethnicity manifest within cultures. Another argument leaves the ethnicity of people aside but posits a clearly Celtic system of sociopolitical structure that can be studied (Pittock 1999). Similarly, Karl (2004b, 2005b, 2006) argues against ‘‘Celtoskepticism’’ along these lines, stating


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that too much of political organization and law is shared in common across Iron Age Europe to be coincidental; this of course can be explained by other than ethnicity, since similar structures also are shared by Germanic-speaking peoples. One can argue that this sociopolitical structure exists but is better defined as an Iron Age structure since it transcends anything narrowly called Celtic (Thurston 2009). Karl (2005a) also has posited that the widespread elite practice of exchanging their children and youths may account for similarities in material culture and social institutions across large, continuous regions. Others (Megaw 2005; Megaw and Megaw 1994, 1995a, b, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999) have argued vigorously against what they see as political aspects of an antiCelticity stance, suggesting that English archaeologists are trying to deny and undermine the identity of modern indigenous people oppressed by English conquests of Ireland, Wales, and Scotland and to support the suppression of Celtic minorities in modern Spain and France. While some view the Celtic debate as a dull squabble among the English and their neighbors, it in fact reflects an important general question in archaeology of whether archaeologists continue to misuse various concepts of ethnic identity and whether the ‘‘archaeological culture’’ is still a viable concept. Kohl (1998b) questions the utility of such debates. Although he pioneered the concept of critical theory in archaeology, he notes that ‘‘it does not take the archaeologist very far in terms of trying to make sense of moot and mute material remains’’ and that the emphasis on the imperfect correlation between identity and material culture does ‘‘not lead us out of the interpretive quandary occasioned by this more sophisticated perspective on ethnicity’’ (Kohl 1998b, p. 173). Due to these and other considerations, many scholars now make a clear distinction between their discussions of Celtic language speakers, Celtic materiality, or references to Celtic or other ethnic identities (Koch 2007). For reasons other than the ethnographically visible issues raised by Baringo, the issue of whether Iron Age Germanic groups had ever formed a united, selfconscious ethnicity and what that might have comprised had already been explored and rejected due to the actions taken by the Nazis based on the ‘‘scholarly’’ findings of Himmler’s Ahnenerbe that linked with the assertions of Kossinna and his peers ¨ (Gamble 2000; Harke 1992, 2000, p. 378). This resulted in a reluctance by most German archaeologists to deal with the topic at all. Much was published on social analyses of grave goods, mortuary contexts, and the like, but the goods were interpreted primarily as marking individual or family social status or wealth and ¨ economic power (Harke 2000). Not until very recently has this begun to change; German archaeologists (e.g., Burmeister 2000a, b; Siegmund 1999, 2000) have recently begun to return to the study of regional groups and migration and are proposing interpretive approaches involving social factors such as kinship, ritual, and gender in the political process rather than descriptive or quantitative tracts on ¨ ¨ artifact types or skeletal material (Harke 2000). Harke (2000, p. 376) suggests that this was influenced by the work of colleagues in Scandinavia. Scandinavians were less inhibited by recent European history and conceptualized the Germanic tribes as something like segmented lineages, where each group saw itself as distinct, but when threatened by outsiders could quickly link up with others deemed closest to


and authors 123 . second. Serb to Illyrian [Vasic 2004]) through material ˜ culture. by the communist imposition of guidelines for what constituted proper socialist interpretations. b). Vedru 2004). and field data and linguistic assertions must be carefully teased apart. and (mis)reading of classical authors. it has already been with us for several centuries and may outlive us. Slavic vocabulary. a practice punctuated by sporadic critiques (e. Ilves 2004. The question of how and why this worked was approached more through the paradigm of structural Marxism (Hedeager 1992) than what was developing in Britain as the contextual archaeology of Hodder. 1990. In eastern Europe. first by preventing intellectual cross-fertilization between scholars of different regions and. As noted previously. The impact of traditional or fantastic interpretations and the lack of revision in the presentation of the Iron Age to the public was the subject of Piccini’s (1996) critique of the television and film industry. was initially almost entirely constructed from 19th century linguistic works that postulated an Iron Age proto-Slavic culture based on place names. few ideas stemming from these debates have penetrated or they have made little impact except to provoke a dismissive stance from self-styled amateur historians and antiquarians. Recent insights on ethnicity and identity Neither critique of naive ethnic constructions nor some adherence to older models has led to stagnation in the area of ethnicity and identity studies.D. Some contemporary linguists (e. For this large and diverse group. Despite almost superhuman efforts by some remarkable scholars to overcome the system. perhaps due to their close ties with many theoretically progressive Scandinavian researchers.390 J Archaeol Res (2009) 17:347–423 them. they were hypothesized as able to use a segmentary-like system to overcome almost any internal divisions and unite against common enemies for short time periods. some national schools of archaeology are still debating how one can clearly and reliably trace modern ethnicity to Iron Age people through direct use ´ of classical sources like Strabo (e. they were more affected by the long reign of communism in the relevant regions. In the Baltic region. The archaeology of ethnicity in areas later inhabited by the Slavs and Balts was somewhat impacted by the issues the Germans have grappled with. much work is critical or revisionist of ¨ similar earlier research traditions (Erdosi 2002. Again. as constructed by scholars in modern Slavic regions. Matasovic 2005) are still concerned with proving when such languages. Much Iron Age archaeology from regions that were to become Slavic in the first millennium A. and thus cultures. and neopagans that most Iron Age researchers have encountered. Celtomaniacs.g.g.. the Iron Age.g. these seemingly local problems tie in to discussions on the role of the public in archaeological debates as an undeniable stakeholder in various visions of the past (Bender 1998).. When threatened by truly alien elements such as the Romans. the creation of a hierarchic bureaucratic structure within universities and museums effectively suppressed ideas that were contra these agendas or that simply did not interest or convince those in power (Galaty and Watkinson 2004. We may never overcome this tradition. Oanþa-Marghitu 2003 on Romanian archaeology). came into existence in the region.. are characterized as prehistoric Slav. Milisauskas 1986. 1997a.

or at least not the best. age. He instead shifts study to an entire cemetery as a unit of analysis. 2000) asserts that artifacts are the wrong. to the introduction of Roman overlordship. measured by increasingly marked indigenous burial customs and continued use of pre-Roman material culture. and economic groups. As they reconsider the idea of Romanization across the Romano-Celtic world (Hingley 1999. Other important reconsiderations of the relationship between material culture and identity ´ ´ are found for Iberia (Dıaz-Andreu 1998. has been Jones’ (1997) The Archaeology of Ethnicity.J Archaeol Res (2009) 17:347–423 391 continue to approach the topic from various perspectives (Jones 1999). many scholars have noted that acculturation is often uneven. political. focusing on burial ritual as a whole rather than on objects as offerings. Dıaz-Andreu and Tortosa 1999) where. ethnographically.. other forms are accepted into local repertoire but transformed into distinctly barbarian interpretations. syncretic art and formal norms are as likely to represent resistance 123 . further analyzed in terms of public and private spheres of activity. attempts are being made to create a more sophisticated understanding of the links between the style and decoration of artifacts. rather they reflect people’s use of objects to make territorial statements during periods of social transformation. Webster 1995b. this approach is a complement to rather than a replacement for more pragmatic economic or political studies of interaction. Scott and Webster 2003). in Mediterranean France. Hingley 1999. Especially well suited to the debate over classical descriptions of barbarian peoples and the material record. within the context of colonial encounter between Britain and Rome. Recent discussions of ethnicity are not limited to only pre-Roman identity but to the period of Roman preconquest interaction (e. in both Celtic and Germanic areas. 1997). Along these lines. Acknowledging that ethnicity is a highly contingent phenomenon in which multiple identities overlap. Siegmund (1999. especially in times of relative hostility between indigenous Europe and Rome. Wells (1999) also considers local reactions. and other social categories such as gender. Similarly. Wells (1988. Jones advocates study of specific types of locales. in revision of or addenda to traditional Spanish culture-historic traditions. which rejects both the characterization of ethnicity as too complex to study and the idea of ethnicity as merely a functionalist category marked by a set of objects or symbols. and class. in both Europe and elsewhere. characterizing different social. Diepeveen-Jansen (2001) has asserted that unlike most earlier interpretations. The study demonstrates that Roman culture was differentially adopted and that people expressed British or Roman identity differently in different contexts. religious. locals were very slow to adopt Roman culture (Dietler 1997b) and were resistant even after conquest. late Hallstatt and early ` La Tene rich burials do not reflect a culturally determined social structure that can be interpreted for elite roles and relationships. One of the most influential works. He sees a strengthening of local identities in the face of Roman hegemony. In contrast to some classes of Roman material that were quickly integrated into local assemblages. 1995) adopts Hodder’s notion of material culture as an active bearer of identity and ethnicity. unit of analysis for determining ethnic identity in mortuary contexts.g. especially the critique of overly simplistic attempts to link peoples or cultures to distributions of certain classes of archaeological materials. cultural identity.

22). ‘‘The body—as metaphor for society. comfort. class. which Turner approaches in part through interpreting iconographic and monumental images of the body in various eras. The turn from generalizing social theories toward historicity and an explicit focus on embedding data within regional or even local traditions has led to many new ideas on other kinds of culturally constructed identities that I summarize briefly below. it attempts to discuss ancient multivocality and its correlates in a heterogeneous past. virtue. Woolf opts for a more contextualized understanding of how aspects of Roman traditions were absorbed and used for local purposes and how they functioned in society. p.392 J Archaeol Res (2009) 17:347–423 as assimilation. People may have been largely unaware of any insidious Roman influences penetrating their local cultures. interest in such ideas would have been limited. especially the differential adoption of Roman traditions. and homosexuality (e. gender ambiguity. Carroll (2001) discusses Roman assimilation of the Germans.g. 2002). embodied archaeology seeks to convey the lived experience of past people in a way that is not imbued with presentist views. 1981. and experiencing the body indicate membership in culturally constructed categories of many types. such as work by Berger (1980. Different ways of adorning. Had this review been written a decade ago. This has been furthered by many authors. Turner (1984) described human society as ‘‘somatic’’.g. Instead. Dowson 2000. all in turn shaped by other socially constructed categories: ethnicity. who is concerned with ‘‘ways of telling’’ and ‘‘ways of seeing’’ that transcend the external and aim for immersion in the daily ‘‘lived experience of the oppressed’’ (Dyer 2001. 1990. as instrument of lived experience. and as surface of inscription—has come to occupy a central place in contemporary social theory’’ and within archaeology. mutilating. Wright 1996) and is now utilizing anthropological advances (e. religion.. 20). Moore 1994) that include the cultural construction of both femininity and masculinity. and gender. all of which can change through time. Hamilakis et al. xi). Embodiment As Joyce (2005) has recently pointed out. and its central role in the mannerisms of self-identity and the traditions surrounding death. In one sense. 123 . p. This is no longer the case. which has moved beyond the original issue of reintroducing women into the human past (Gero and Conkey 1991. notably Shilling (1993) who discusses the socially constructed body in various ways: the body as physical capital through its ability to work or labor. Embodiment approaches are much inspired by anthropological and sociological thought. the body is discussed as a nexus of practices surrounding religion. and later people merely accepted hybrid traditions as their own known universe (Woolf 1998. who rejects not only the idea of Romanization but also of resistance. 1999). Another monumental study of this topic was undertaken by Woolf (1998). Embodiment has found utility in the archaeological study of gender. 1982. the body as a locus for and expression of social inequality.. since it incorporates what he sees as flawed concepts of domination and dependency (Woolf 1998. p. Influence also has come from visual studies. in another sense. presenting. Many are relatively new or emergent areas.

Gender One area producing a large body of new work on Iron Age Europe has been gender archaeology. reflected by changes in the cultural practices surrounding the body. occasionally to reassess their everyday roles (Bietti Sestieri 1992. This approach also has been used in Scandinavia (Oestigaard 1999. Olivier (1999) has taken an embodied approach to Hallstatt burial mounds. en masse. such as grave offerings. might have symbolized a whole sequence of embodied events representing the personhood of the deceased that may have been interlocked in the minds of the peers who carried out their mortuary treatment. seen archaeologically in the way people publicly presented themselves. the impact of newly available objects that materialized institutions of Roman life. Aldhouse-Green (2004a) addresses symbolic animal iconography and its relation to various kinds of identity. This subject is the topic of Eckhardt and Crummy’s (2006) examination of Romano-British toiletry artifacts in the Roman tradition. usually considered as only a receptacle. not only among some elite group but across a wide spectrum of social classes and contexts. Allinger (2007) examines Celtic symbolic systems for evidence of gendered iconography. to examine both the status and the power of prehistoric women. Whitehouse 1998). This subtle change in practice was enabled by Roman imperialism and (recursively) further enabled changes in other aspects of social structure. The elaboration of the flesh by Iron Age Europeans was once attested solely through classical textual references but is now being investigated archaeologically. Hill (1997) investigates the Romanization of the body through the incorporation of a foreign hygiene and toilet ritual into British life and the institutionalization of Roman ways of presenting the self. and the personal motives of many individual agents who. Sørensen 1987. Some authors continue with traditional areas of study. The study of gender in the European Iron Age has seen contributions that encompass many standard and new topics and debates. This was accomplished through a complex mixture of imperial cultural hegemony. in indigenous pre-Roman and Roman contexts. while for broader reaches of northwestern Europe. identity. Birkhan (2007b) has attempted to reconcile the overused textual record with archaeological data on body art. Female roles have been addressed through ancient DNA studies of primary and secondary mound burials in search of evidence for related versus nonrelatedness of 123 . 1997) examines both gender and age as social structuring principles in cemetery ¨ populations. analyzing them as a series of time-embedded events experienced by the deceased and the living. and their change or persistence can be signs of other processes. shifted social reproduction significantly. including male and female gender. Oestigaard and Goldhahn 2006). where burial within an urn or a mound. yet unique to Britain. others (Gebuhr 1997) have compared similar mortuary evidence with Roman texts such as that of Tacitus. Body beliefs are often culture bound. as evidence of a syncretic embodied identity not entirely Roman yet substantially different than the indigenous. Carr (2005) examines material evidence for body painting and tattooing as a multifaceted practice that encompassed gender. and ethnicity.J Archaeol Res (2009) 17:347–423 393 Colonial interactions have been studied through the perspective of embodiment. Derks (1993.

in e some cases including texts (Morris 1999). 1996). proposing that Vix was a ritual specialist with substantial social power. Arnold has used aDNA studies combined with the application of ethnographic models of male versus female migration patterns (Arnold 2005. while there was more differentiation among males. leading to its current acceptance as female. One may refer to work dealing with the same subject for the late Bronze Age as relevant to Iron Age studies (e. The possibility of female leaders and rulers of what may have been matrilineal societies in Celtic regions and in Britain has been suggested. Vaitkunskien_ 1995. Alt and Vach (1995) used inherited odontological traits to discover at least one ‘‘family mound’’ of the Hallstatt Iron Age. Potrebica 2001. Arnold and Kaestle 2002) to suggest political alliances over long or short distances. Perhaps the roles for some elite males were more symbolic than sometimes modeled. b) attempts to study gendered activity areas.g. through reinterpretations of who and what is ˜ represented in rock art (Bevan 2006) and grave offerings (Parcero Oubina 1997. for Greece. Woolf. this increases the number of studies significantly. and religious roles of Anglo-Saxon and Viking women through both conventional and innovative approaches (Jochens 1991. while Therkorn (1987a. If one expands the Iron Age for northern Europe and the Slavic regions a bit further into the first millennium to include the still largely prehistoric late Roman and early post-Roman eras. incorporating work that examines the economic. but not necessarily a woman chieftain. while men with warrior status rarely showed physical trauma of any kind. 1996. A differing but somewhat complementary ¨ analysis of Vix is offered by Knusel (2002). Both richly and poorly furnished women suffered equally from ill health and physical stress. There have been a number of publications that focus on exactly what constituted male identity in the Iron Age. Arnold also proposes that in certain periods when local men outmigrated as mercenaries for Mediterranean states. 1997) rather than mortuary evidence. Thorpe 2004. Several authors suggest that male gender was differently conceptualized and negotiated in Iron Age Europe than presentist paradigms have 123 . Hingley (1990) considers the role of gender in his work on the household as a central institution. Arnold initially questioned earlier interpretations of the chiefly late Hallstatt burial at Vix as male. (2001) use paleopathology to test expectations that physical stress was increased in those with poor or no grave offerings. 1995. Whitley 2002a). who provides detailed analysis of Vix’s health and age. perhaps women of all classes experienced hard lives. In addition to modeling rich versus poor. Treherne 1995). Robb et al. women took on chiefly roles (Arnold 1991. 1999. Lucy 1997. leaving injury and death to soldiers of lower status. Other work has been concerned with domestic (A.. social. especially by Arnold (1991). Stoodley 1999a. Vida de Navarro 1992). Vida de Navarro 1992. b. this work yielded some unexpected results. temporally shifting relations between male and female gender roles have been surveyed (Morris 1999). Morris 1991. 2000).394 J Archaeol Res (2009) 17:347–423 interments. in which close kinship only along the female line suggests matrilocal exogamy. cemented by marriage or concubinage. and also inspired others to reassess the correlation of gendered grave offerings with biological sex (Effros 2000.

but particularly women. they seek to overturn a predominant approach that is overly focused on male warrior culture to the exclusion of other types of maleness. 2004. 2005. 2001. several volumes on gender and childhood include offerings related to Iron Age Europe (Crawford and Shepherd 2007. 2005a. however. and for oversimplifying the roles of age and gender as direct correlates of status (Karl 2004a). Nash Briggs (2003) discusses the unlooked-for impact of women and children slaves on the economies of Gaul and Italy. Children also have been studied as political entities through their role in fosterage (Karl 2004a. Scott 1991. Childhood and children as social actors in the past are new topics of interest. Solli 1999). Transitions in the life course (the aging process) have been patently ignored despite the huge impact they have ethnographically in the structuring of social relations as well as economy. but at the onset of adulthood. In addition to numerous journal articles. Burmeister has been critiqued for oversimplifying assumptions about gender. Gowland (2006) also provides a 123 . Burmeister (2000a) attempts a detailed look at age. Lillehammer 1989. all of which had substantial representation of Iron Age materials (e. Childhood has specifically been addressed by several conferences and workshops in recent years. gender.e. This creative use of older data is commendable.g. religion. as well as a current understanding that in many parts of the modern world children constitute a significant labor force (Kamp 2001. finding that people in midlife (20–40 years old) of both genders. i. Karl (2004a. Some topics currently being studied are children’s participation in society as heirs of elite lineages and their roles as apprentices (Karl 2005a) and laborers. 1993). while some subset of males retained status into old age. conferences. Moore and Scott 1997. this was probably related to changing labor requirements. and symposia (Moore and Bevan 2004). Perhaps this phenomenon is an outgrowth of current generational attitudes about how childhood experiences impact adult outlooks and hence society. and status in Hallstatt burials. had the most mortuary prestige goods. age—young and old—has become the subject of many publications. Age Recently. Mays 2000. Sofaer Derevenksi 2000). (2001) discovered that in Iron Age Italy childhood across status classes was not physically difficult.J Archaeol Res (2009) 17:347–423 395 suggested. Dommasnes and Wrigglesworth 2008). Schwartzman 2005) and fulfill military functions (Boyden and de Berry 2004.. not only as valuable commodities sold at premium prices but as economic contributors to general domestic economies and the ability of elite households to produce. 2006) and as sacrificial offerings (Aldhouse-Green 2001a. life became physically stressful for the poor. Mazurana and McKay 2001). Other researchers address not only youth but age as a social factor. 2005a) examines the interplay between youths and elders during the practice of fosterage and apprenticeship. Evidence for gender categories such as third/fourth genders that might represent ritual gender shifting or homosexuality have been explored for Scandinavia (Blain and Wallis 2000. and politics. 2005.. Robb et al. associating female status at midlife only with fertility (Arnold 2002). Parkes 2003.

Woolf 1997. In fact. Woolf 1997. Woolf (1997. While some find this divide impossible to bridge. Those holding differing theoretical perspectives often engage in bouts of mutual criticism. noting that age must be equally incorporated into our understanding of social roles. and old and young within their societies. 343) described Iron Age Europe as having two key components: a ‘‘broadly common cultural vocabulary from which each society drew’’ and the ‘‘highly local scale of the groups that chose their own selection and combination from that range. and religious organization. and the idea that relative relationships of core and periphery structure the interactions between neighboring societies. architectural conventions. and defensive structures. the constitution of ethnicity and identity. some clarity? The last 20 years of European Iron Age archaeology have seen both a continuation of traditional areas of research and a questioning of traditional interpretations of political. there are few research topics about Iron Age Europe that have not been reexplored. monumentality. This issue also has been addressed by James (1999. p. for many others a synthesis does not seem too difficult. the roles of women.e. Europe was not a single large vague area of shared culture or ethnicity. as some such differences are manifest between peoples in close proximity (G. the division between the sacred and profane. p. or literary studies. This divide parallels new understandings of the European Iron Age. men.’’ According to Woolf. stylistic motifs and mediums used for art. the general shape of cultic and religious behaviors. p. other differences represent choices rather than the result of constraints and were not merely a factor of distance decay. social.. Many newer ideas have roots in intellectual traditions broadly recognized by some Europeans but not well known in North America. and some aesthetic traditions. Some scholars embrace or at least consider new frameworks and paradigms. 2000) who discusses sometimes perplexing indications of simultaneous continuity and discontinuity. but it did share features across a ‘‘wider Iron Age European culture that is undeniable yet difficult to define’’ (G. and the future holds promise for both traditional areas of study and new directions. i. Such problems have plagued the Anglophone versus continental European scene as well as the trans-Atlantic debate in the past. at least not among archaeologists. 342).396 J Archaeol Res (2009) 17:347–423 look at evidence for age or elderhood in the Iron Age. is sometimes reviled by those who see little or no relationship between archaeology and sociology. art history. Broad differences include the adoption of literacy and coinage to which all were exposed but only some responded. and other genders. agricultural practices. the implicit expectation of hierarchic relations between rulers and subjects. warfare strategies. especially from outside of our own disciplinary milieu. Conclusions: Out of these mists. 341). Shared aspects include technologies (including metallurgy). others willingly adopt ideas from disciplines where concerns closely parallel our own. The unfamiliar idea. G. as has gender. elite and nonelite. He notes that while ecological diversity led to some broad regional differences in subsistence and architecture. 123 .

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