The Iron Age

Jody Joy

in The Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology of Ritual and Religion

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199232444
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Archaeology

 The Iron Age

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The popular image of Iron Age religion is of religious ceremonies, officiated by druids in sacred groves. Scholarly accounts utilize two main sources of evidence: literary and archaeological. Many are based on evidence gathered largely from classical texts and early medieval Irish and Welsh literature. This article refutes the existence of a single universal European Iron Age religion. Although regional and temporal similarities can be observed, the specific details of practice are different. Instead it argues that for the most part Iron Age religion was practiced on a local scale. Relationships with the supernatural were negotiated within systems of belief that were intimately bound up and connected with every other aspect of life. The chronological and geographical scope of this article stretches from 800 bc–first century ad and focuses on Western Europe, particularly Britain and France.

Keywords: European Iron Age religion; universal religion; local religion; rituals

Article.  7885 words. 

Subjects: Archaeology ; Prehistoric Archaeology

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