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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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Exploring Status and Identity in Later Iron Age Britain

Exploring Status and Identity in Later Iron Age Britain

Reinterpreting Mirror Burials

Chapter:
(p.468) 21 Exploring Status and Identity in Later Iron Age Britain
Source:
Atlantic Europe in the First Millennium BC
Author(s):

Jody Joy

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199567959.003.0021

Mirror burials have been viewed as the female equivalent to male warrior burials. As mirrors were relatively rare until modern times and often impressive objects, they have been seen as indicators of status and mirror burials are most often interpreted as the graves of wealthy or high-status women. However, recent data has shown that this dominant interpretation may be overly simplistic; that it does not reflect diversity in the burial data. As a regional case study of later Iron Age burial practice, this chapter reinterprets the archaeological evidence. It suggests that people were buried with elaborate objects such as mirrors for multiple reasons and that mirrors were not just a passive reflection of status. These objects played an active role in graves in the creation and reformulation of identity in the later Iron Age.

Keywords:   British Iron Age, mirrors, mirror burials, archaeological evidence, burial practices

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