The Iron Age in Europe was a period of tremendous cultural dynamism, during which the cultural values and constructs of urbanised Mediterranean civilisations clashed with alternative webs of identity in ‘barbarian’ temperate Europe. Until recently, archaeologists and ancient historians have tended to view the cultural identities of Iron Age Europeans as essentially monolithic (Romans, Greeks, Celts, etc). Dominant narratives have been concerned with the supposed origins and spread of peoples, such as ‘the Celts’ and their subsequent ‘Hellenisation’, or ‘Romanisation’ through encounters with neighbouring societies. Yet there is little to suggest that collective identity in this period was exclusively or predominantly ethnic, national or even tribal. Instead, we need to examine the impact of cultural encounters at the more local level of the individual, kin-group or lineage, exploring identity as a more dynamic, layered construct.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 291827.

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