Headhunting and the Body in Iron Age Europe

Headhunting and the Body in Iron Age Europe

by Ian Armit


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Across Iron Age Europe the human head carried symbolic associations with power, fertility status, gender, and more. Evidence for the removal, curation, and display of heads ranges from classical literary references to iconography and skeletal remains. Traditionally, this material has been associated with a Europe-wide “head-cult,” and used to support the idea of a unified Celtic culture in prehistory. This book demonstrates instead how headhunting and head-veneration were practised across a range of diverse and fragmented Iron Age societies. Using case studies from France, Britain, and elsewhere, it explores the complex and subtle relationships between power, religion, warfare, and violence in Iron Age Europe.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780521877565
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 03/19/2012
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 6.90(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Ian Armit is Professor of Archaeology at the University of Bradford. The author of more than eighty academic articles, he has also written numerous books, including Anatomy of an Iron Age Roundhouse, Towers in the North: The Brochs of Scotland and Celtic Scotland.

Table of Contents

1. Detached fragments of humanity; 2. A remarkable spiritual continuity?; 3. Shamans on the march; 4. Pillars, heads, and corn; 5. Neither this world, nor the next; 6. From the dead to the living; 7. Gods and monsters; 8. Bodies of belief.

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