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Atlantic Europe in the First Millennium BCCrossing the Divide$
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Tom Moore and Xosê-Lois Armada

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199567959

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199567959.001.0001

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Social Inequality during the Iron Age

Social Inequality during the Iron Age

Interpretation Models1

Chapter:
(p.264) 11 Social Inequality during the Iron Age
Source:
Atlantic Europe in the First Millennium BC
Author(s):

Inés Sastre

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199567959.003.0011

Recent archaeological research has proven the diversity of social structures in the European Iron Age. The model of hierarchical society controlled by a warrior elite can no longer be considered the standard for this period. Similarly, proto-history cannot be understood as a linear and continuous evolutionary process leading to the appearance of the state; it is fraught with conflict, crises, and reactionary movements against social stratification. This chapter draws attention to those studies that highlight the existence of nonhierarchized forms of social relationship or, as they have been defined recently, ‘non-triangular societies’. It shows that in some parts of the peninsular north-west, those of the segmentary castors, the second Iron Age could indeed represent the success of the process of resisting the exploitation documented at the beginning of the Iron Age. A productive system contrary to surplus production, together with exclusive communal identities and strategies of intercommunity relations conditioned by the search for isolation and egalitarian ethos, would form part of this success.

Keywords:   European Iron Age, hierarchical society, non-triangular societies, social structures

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