Iconoclasm and Later Prehistory: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Iconoclasm and Later Prehistory

1st Edition

By Henry Chapman


234 pages

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Hardback: 9781138038707
pub: 2018-02-16
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Iconoclasm, or the destruction of images and other symbols, is a subject that has significant resonance today. Traditionally focusing on examples such as those from late Antiquity, Byzantium, the Protestant Reformation and the French Revolution, iconoclasm implies intentioned attacks that reflect religious or political motivations. However, the evidence highlights considerable variation in intentionality, the types and levels of destruction and the targets attacked. Such variation has been highlighted in recent iconoclasm scholarship and this has resulted in new theoretical frameworks for its study.

This book presents the first analysis of iconoclasm for prehistoric periods. Through an examination of the themes of objects, the human body, monuments and landscapes, the book demonstrates how the application of the approaches developed within iconoclasm studies can enrich our understanding of earlier periods in addition to identifying specific events that may be categorised as iconoclastic.

Iconoclasm and Later Prehistory combines approaches from two distinct disciplinary perspectives. It presents a new interpretative framework for prehistorians and archaeologists, whilst also providing new case studies and significantly extending the period of interest for readers interested in iconoclasm.


In Iconoclasm and Later Prehistory, archaeologist Henry Chapman applies the theoretical frameworks of iconoclasm research to illuminate analysis of first millennium BCE northwestern European material culture. Chapman does an outstanding job of categorically arranging the archaeological evidence in order to provide a comprehensive picture of prehistoric northwestern European culture. He effectively balances abstract theoretical frameworks with an abundance of concrete examples in order to provide the reader with a satisfying reconstruction of prehistoric northwestern European society.

-Craig Evan Anderson, Claremont Graduate University

Table of Contents

List of figures

List of tables


1 Iconoclasm

2 Breaking objects

3 Breaking bodies

4 Breaking monuments

5 Breaking landscapes

6 Iconoclasm and later prehistory?



About the Author

Henry Chapman is Reader in Archaeology at the University of Birmingham. His principal research interests are later prehistory, bog bodies, iconoclasm, wetland archaeology and the application of digital technologies to the study of the past. He is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Archaeology