Alternative Iron Ages: Social Theory from Archaeological Analysis, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Alternative Iron Ages

Social Theory from Archaeological Analysis, 1st Edition

Edited by Brais X. Currás, Inés Sastre


400 pages | 69 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9781138541023
pub: 2019-09-19
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Alternative Iron Ages examines Iron Age social formations that sit outside traditional paradigms, developing methods for archaeological characterization of alternative models of society. In so doing it contributes to the debates concerning the construction and resistance of inequality taking place in archaeology, anthropology and sociology.

In recent years, Iron Age research on Western Europe has moved towards new forms of understanding social formations. Yet these alternative social formations continue to be considered as basic human social formations, which frequently imply marginality and primitivism. In this context, the grand narrative of the European Iron Age continues to be defined by cultural foci, which hide the great regional variety into an artificially homogenous area. This book challenges the traditional classical evolutionist narratives by exploring concepts such as non-triangular societies, heterarchy and segmentarity across regional case studies to test and propose alternative social models for Iron Age social formations.

Constructing new social theory both archaeologically based and supported by sociological and anthropological theory, the book is perfect for those looking to examine and understand life in the European Iron Age.

Table of Contents

List of figures

List of tables

List of contributors

Introducing remarks

Preface by Timothy K. Earle

Part 1. Theory from and for the field.

1 Reconsidering egalitarianism for archaeological interpretation

I. Sastre and B.X. Currás

2 Interpreting the Dialectic of Sociopolitical Tensions in the Archaeological Past: Implications of an Anarchist Perspective for Iron Age Societies

B. Angelbeck

3 Egalitarianism as an Active Process: Legitimacy and Distributed Power in Iron Age West Africa

S.A. Dueppen

4 Anarchy in the Bronze Age? Social Organization and Complexity in Sardinia

R. Araque González

5 Reconstructing Iron Age Societies: what went wrong

J. Collis

6 Egalitarianism in the southern British Iron Age: An ‘archaeology’ of knowledge

R. Hingley

7 Segmentary societies: a theoretical approach from the European Iron Age archaeology

B.X. Currás and I. Sastre

Part 2. The different Iron Ages. Critical insights in a comparative perspective.

8 All together now (or not). Change, resistance and resilience in the NW Iberian Peninsula in the Bronze Age - Iron Age transition

C. Parcero et al.

9 Characterising ‘communities’ in the Early Iron Age of southern Britain

D. McOmish

10 Heterarchical communities in Iron Age Scotland

I. Armit

11 Confusing Iron Ages: communities of the middle Danube region between ‘tribal hierarchy’ and heterarchy

V.D. Mihajlovic

12 A bit of anarchy in the Iron Age: new perspectives on social structure in the Dutch coastal area of North-Holland

M. Kok

13 Iron Age Religions beyond Warrior Ideologies

A. Santos-Cancelas

14 Monumentalising the domestic: House Societies in Atlantic Scotland

N. Sharples

Part 3. From the core of the State: new visions on Mediterranean societies.

15 Social Theory and the Greek Iron Age

J. Bintliff

16 The peasantry as a social theory, and its application to Celtiberian society

F. Burillo and P. Burillo

17 Social dynamics in Eastern Iberia Iron Age: between inclusive and exclusionary strategies

I. Grau-Mira


About the Editors

Brais X. Currás’s (Coimbra University) research employs both landscape archaeology and anthropological perspectives to understand the social and territorial organization of Iron Age communities with the onset of Roman domination in northwestern Iberia. His particular interest is also in gold mining of the period.

Inés Sastre (CSIC) chairs the Social Structure and Territory, Landscape Archaeology unit. She also serves as director of the Archivo Español de Arqueología and the Bibliotheca Praehistorica Hispana. Her particular research interest is the evolution of social structures in pre-Roman and Roman rural territories of the northwestern Iberian Peninsula.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Archaeology

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Archaeology