Celtic from the West: Alternative Perspectives from Archaeology, Genetics, Language and Literature

Celtic from the West: Alternative Perspectives from Archaeology, Genetics, Language and Literature

by Barry Cunliffe
     
 

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This book is an exploration of the new idea that the Celtic languages originated in the Atlantic Zone during the Bronze Age, approached from various perspectives: pro and con, archaeology, genetics, and philology. This 'Celtic Atlantic Bronze Age' theory represents a major departure from the long-established, but increasingly problematic scenario in which the

Overview

This book is an exploration of the new idea that the Celtic languages originated in the Atlantic Zone during the Bronze Age, approached from various perspectives: pro and con, archaeology, genetics, and philology. This 'Celtic Atlantic Bronze Age' theory represents a major departure from the long-established, but increasingly problematic scenario in which the story of the Ancient Celtic languages and that of peoples called Keltoí 'Celts' are closely bound up with the archaeology of the Hallstatt and La Tène cultures of Iron Age west-central Europe. The 'Celtic from the West' proposal was first presented in Barry Cunliffe's Facing the Ocean (2001) and has subsequently found resonance amongst geneticists. It provoked controversy on the part of some linguists, though is significantly in accord with John Koch's findings in Tartessian (2009). The present collection is intended to pursue the question further in order to determine whether this earlier and more westerly starting point might now be developed as a more robust foundation for Celtic studies. As well as having this specific aim, a more general purpose of Celtic from the West is to bring to an English-language readership some of the rapidly unfolding and too often neglected evidence of the pre-Roman peoples and languages of the western Iberian Peninsula.

Celtic from the West is an outgrowth of a multidisciplinary conference held at the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth in December 2008. In addition to 11 chapters, the book includes 45 distribution maps and a further 80 illustrations. The conference and collaborative volume mark the launch of a multi-year research initiative undertaken by the University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies [CAWCS]: Ancient Britain and the Atlantic Zone [ABrAZo].

Contributors: (Archaeology) Barry Cunliffe; Raimund Karl; Amílcar Guerra; (Genetics) Brian McEvoy & Daniel Bradley; Stephen Oppenheimer; Ellen Rrvik; (Language & Literature) Graham Isaac; David Parsons; John T. Koch; Philip Freeman; Dagmar S. Wodtko.

Editorial Reviews

Current World Archaeology, Oct/Nov 2010 - Alex Lang
Its fair to say that this book succeeds in re-thinking preceding ideas about Celts in a very approachable (and visually satisfying) way. In the introduction the authors set themselves the challenge of 'stimulating a breadth of original thinking, rather than launching an Atlantic Celtic thesis as a manifesto'. The breadth of scholarly writing here ensures the volume achieves that aim with considerable gusto.'
SALON - The Society of Antiquaries Online Newsletter, No. 246, December 2010 - Christopher Catling
The arguments are complex, and involve, as Barry says, leaving the comfort and familiarity of archaeological concepts to try to understand the methods of linguists and geneticists, but the book presents a powerful body of evidence from these sources to suggest that proto-Celtic came from the eastern Mediterranean with Bronze-Age traders seeking metal ores, and that it became the lingua franca of the mining and trading communities of the Atlantic tin trade, which might help to explain the apparent anomaly of a Phoenician gene marker being found in DNA samples from people living on Anglesey.'
British Archaeology, Jan/Feb 2011 - Jody Joy
Its great strength is that it is multidisciplinary, consisting of chapters by archaeologists, geneticists and philologists... Overall, whatever you may think about the 'Celtic debate', this is an important book that provides easy access to multiple strands of evidence.'
Bryn Mawr Classical Review, Sept 2011 - Jurgen Zeidler
...Koch's analysis reflects the authors superior scholarship...'
Current Archaeology
Nominated for 2011 Book of the Year by Current Archaeology:

This agenda-setting volume suggests Celtic speakers came not from Iron Age central Europe but rather from the Bronze Age Eastern Mediterranean.'

2011 Current Archaeology
Nominated for 2011 Book of the Year by Current Archaeology:

This agenda-setting volume suggests Celtic speakers came not from Iron Age central Europe but rather from the Bronze Age Eastern Mediterranean.'

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781842174753
Publisher:
Oxbow Books
Publication date:
05/12/2012
Pages:
384
Product dimensions:
7.40(w) x 9.60(h) x 1.00(d)

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