Who were the Iron Age peoples of Europe? Celts, Germans, Scythians and others are among the names that come to mind. But such names, and the characteristics associated with them, come to us from outside observers - Greek and Roman writers - not from the native peoples themselves. To understand how late prehistoric groups constructed and expressed their identities, we need to examine the rich archaeological evidence left by Iron Age Europeans themselves. Recent theoretical and methodological advances in anthropology, archaeology and history, together with results of archaeological research all over Europe, provide the basis for a new approach to the problem of the identities of Iron Age peoples. Peter Wells uses patterns of identity revealed in the archaeology to interpret the commentaries of Greek and Roman authors who conveyed their own perceptions of these non-literate groups. Finally, he examines ways in which Iron Age Europeans responded to the Greek and Roman representations of them. The result was an ever-changing mosaic of complex and dynamic identities among the diverse peoples of Late Iron Age Europe.
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Author Biography - Peter S. Wells
Peter S. Wells is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Minnesota. He is the author of several books, including Settlement, Economy, and Cultural Change at the End of the European Iron Age (1993) and The Barbarians Speak: How the Conquered Peoples Shaped Roman Europe (1999).