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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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Boundaries, Status, and Conflict

Boundaries, Status, and Conflict

An Exploration of Iron Age Research in the Twentieth Century

Chapter:
(p.668) 33 Boundaries, Status, and Conflict
Source:
Atlantic Europe in the First Millennium BC
Author(s):

Niall Sharples

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199567959.003.0033

This chapter argues that the sub-discipline of Iron Age studies has a distinctive history that differentiates it from other sub-disciplines of prehistory. In contrast to the established view of this history, which emphasizes radical transformations of our understanding of the archaeological record, there is a remarkable degree of continuity in the interpretation. The structure of the sub-discipline, the personality of the individuals that dominated debate, and the nature of the archaeological record has resulted in contrasting views on Iron Age society. It is either dominated by an all-powerful elite who occupy important centres of population, such as hill forts, or is an essentially egalitarian society where consensus is negotiated and self-sufficient households occupy relatively small enclosures. The chapter presents an alternative narrative based on a structuralist understanding of academic practice.

Keywords:   Iron Age, archaeology, history, academic practice

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