Fingerprinting the Iron Age: Approaches to identity in the European Iron Age: Integrating South-Eastern Europe into the debate [Hardback]

Cătălin Nicolae Popa (Editor); Simon Stoddart (Editor)

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ISBN: 9781782976752 | Published by: Oxbow Books | Year of Publication: 2014 | Language: English 336p, H240 x W170 (mm) b/w and colour images

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Fingerprinting the Iron Age: Approaches to identity in the European Iron Age


Archaeology has long dealt with issues of identity, and especially with ethnicity, with modern approaches emphasising dynamic and fluid social construction. The archaeology of the Iron Age in particular has engendered much debate on the topic of ethnicity, fuelled by the first availability of written sources alongside the archaeological evidence which has led many researchers to associate the features they excavate with populations named by Greek or Latin writers. Some archaeological traditions have had their entire structure built around notions of ethnicity, around the relationships existing between large groups of people conceived together as forming unitary ethnic units. On the other hand, partly influenced by anthropological studies, other scholars have written forcefully against Iron Age ethnic constructions, such as the Celts.

The 24 contributions to this volume focus on the south east Europe, where the Iron Age has, until recently, been populated with numerous ethnic groups with which specific material culture forms have been associated. The first section is devoted to the core geographical area of south east Europe: Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania, Serbia and Slovenia, as well as Albania and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The following three sections allow comparison with regions further to the west and the south west with contributions on central and western Europe, the British Isles and the Italian peninsula. The volume concludes with four papers which provide more synthetic statements that cut across geographical boundaries, the final contributions bringing together some of the key themes of the volume.

The wide array of approaches to identity presented here reflects the continuing debate on how to integrate material culture, protohistoric evidence (largely classical authors looking in on first millennium BC societies) and the impact of recent nationalistic agendas.

Table of Contents

1. Tribute to John Alexander
Simon Stoddart

2. Introduction: the challenge of Iron Age identity
Simon Stoddart and Cătălin Nicolae Popa


3. The Coexistence and Interference of the Late Iron Age Transylvanian Communities
Sándor Berecki

4. Identities of the Early Iron Age in North-eastern Slovenia
Matija Črešnar and Dimitrij Mlekuž

5. Royal Bodies, Invisible Victims: gender in the funerary record of Late Iron Age and Early Hellenistic Thrace
Bela Dimova

6. Mediterranean Wine and Dacian Conviviality. Ancient and Modern Myths and Archaeological Evidence
Mariana Egri

7. Sarmizegetusa Regia - the Identity of a Royal Site?
Gelu Florea

8. The Ethnic Construction of Early Iron Age Burials in Transylvania. Scythians, Agathyrsi or Thracians?
Alexandra Ghenghea

9. Negotiating Identities at the edge of the Roman Empire
Marko Janković

10. Tracing Ethnicity Backwards: the case of the “Central Balkan Tribes”
Vladimir Mihajlović

11. The Quest for Group Identity in Late Iron Age Romania. Statistical Reconstruction of Groups based on Funerary Evidence
Cătălin Nicolae Popa

12. Changing Identities of the Iron Age Communities of Southern Pannonia
Hrvoje Potrebica and Marko Dizdar

13 Indigenous and Colonist Communities in the Eastern Carpathian Basin at the Beginning of the Late Iron Age. The Genesis of an Eastern Celtic World
Aurel Rustoiu

14. Ancient Thrace between the East and the West
Nikola Theodossiev

15. ‘Hellenization’ and Ethnicity in the Continental Balkan Iron Age
Ivan Vranić


16. Central Places and the Construction of Collective Identities in the Middle Rhine-Moselle Region
Manuel Fernández-Götz

17. Fingerprinting Iron Age Communities in South-West Germany and an Integrative Theory of Culture
Oliver Nakoinz

18. Iron Age Identities in Central Europe: some initial approaches
Peter Ramsl


19. Negotiating Identity on the Edge of Empire
Louisa Campbell

20. Personal Adornment in Iron Age Britain. The Case of the Missing Glass Beads
Elizabeth Schech


21. Spoiling for a Fight: using spear typologies to identify aspects of warrior identity and fighting style in Iron Age South Italy
Yvonne Inall

22. Communal vs. Individual: the role of identity in the burials of Peucetia
Olivia Kelley

23. A View from the South (West). Identity in Tyrrhenian Central Italy
Simon Stoddart


24. Identity, Integration, Power Relations and the Study of the European Iron Age: implications from Serbia
Staša Babić

25. The Celts: more myths and inventions.
John Collis

26 Material Culture and Identity. The Problem of Identifying Celts, Germans and Romans in Late Iron Age Europe
Peter Wells.

27. Fingerprinting the European Iron Age. Historical, Cultural and Intellectual Perspectives on Identity and Ethnicity
Cătălin Nicolae Popa and Simon Stoddart.

Reviews & Quotes

"“Here we are offered a variety of approaches to identity… helpfully indexed, not just for names and places but themes.” "
Gocha R. Tsetskhladze
Ancient West & East (11/01/2019)

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