Headhunting and the Body in Iron Age Europe

Headhunting and the Body in Iron Age Europe

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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.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 272 pages
  • 185.42 x 254 x 20.32mm | 612.35g
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 76 b/w illus. 6 maps 5 tables
  • 0521877563
  • 9780521877565
  • 2,114,912

Review quote

'... carefully crafted and theoretically situated ... this book is a tour de force ... I would recommend [it] to anyone interested in ancient European cosmology, ritual, power, and identity.' Miranda Aldhouse-Green, European Journal of Archaeologyshow more

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.show more

About Ian Armit

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.show more

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