1st Edition

The Human Body in Early Iron Age Central Europe Burial Practices and Images of the Hallstatt World

By Katharina Rebay-Salisbury Copyright 2016
    332 Pages
    by Routledge

    332 Pages 16 Color & 72 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    332 Pages 16 Color & 72 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Identities and social relations are fundamental elements of societies. To approach these topics from a new and different angle, this study takes the human body as the focal point of investigation. It tracks changing identities of early Iron Age people in central Europe through body-related practices: the treatment of the body after death and human representations in art.

    The human remains themselves provide information on biological parameters of life, such as sex, biological age, and health status. Objects associated with the body in the grave and funerary practices give further insights on how people of the early Iron Age understood life and death, themselves, and their place in the world.

    Representations of the human body appear in a variety of different materials, forms, and contexts, ranging from ceramic figurines to images on bronze buckets. Rather than focussing on their narrative content, human images are here interpreted as visualising and mediating identity. The analysis of how image elements were connected reveals networks of social relations that connect central Europe to the Mediterranean.

    Body ideals, nudity, sex and gender, aging, and many other aspects of women’s and men’s lives feature in this book. Archaeological evidence for marriage and motherhood, war, and everyday life is brought together to paint a vivid picture of the past.



    Theoretical Framework

    The Iron Age Setting

    Funerary Practices and the Body

    The Representation of the Body: Images and Imagined Worlds

    The Image and the Object

    The Hallstatt Body in Life and Death

    Motif networks


    List of sites included in the analysis



    Katharina Rebay-Salisbury received her PhD in prehistoric archaeology from the University of Vienna (Austria) in 2005 and subsequently worked as a researcher at the Universities of Cambridge and Leicester (both UK). Her research within the Leverhulme Trust funded project 'Tracing Networks’ centred on studying human representations, identities, and social relations in the late Bronze and Iron Age of central Europe. She currently investigates motherhood in prehistoric Europe at the Austrian Academy of Sciences (Austria).