Essay about Archaeological Evidence Against Mass Celtic Invasion

Essay about Archaeological Evidence Against Mass Celtic Invasion

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To begin with, the spread of the La Tène art style from continental Europe to Ireland does not withstand scrutiny against its traditional use as evidence for a mass invasion of a Celtic La Tène people. For one thing, archaeologists in recent years have asserted the utter fallacy in assuming that the spread of a specific style in material culture necessarily indicates a population movement associated with that culture. In fact, this connection between race and material culture grew in popularity in the early 20th century, as the German archaeologist Gustaf Kossinna equated the expansion of La Tène art with an expansion of a Celtic people. If one applies this logic to a modern day case, however, the miscalculation in Kossinna’s theory is obvious. For example, one cannot attribute the overwhelming popularity of Guinness Stout in Nigeria to a massive scale population movement of “Irish Guinness-drinking people” to Nigeria, but to a cultural phenomena more related to exchange networks than demographic invasion. Indeed, many archaeologists in the last decade have taken this stance, such as J.P. Mallory, who credits the spread of La Tène style into Ireland to the Irish elites adopting a fashionable style from nearby elites . In that way, the emergence of a new decorative style dubbed by early archaeologists to be ‘Celtic’ indicates more of a trend among the elite of Ireland rather than a massive immigration of Celts from the continent.
Further on the subject of La Tène, even if race could be traced synonymously with material culture, discrepancies still appear between the La Tène artefacts of Ireland and those of the continent. In fact, several features of those artefacts distinguish the overwhelming majority of Irish Early Iron Age di...


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... 1999. Print.
Mallory, J.P. The Origins of the Irish. London: Thames & Hudson Ltd, 2013. Print.
Mallory, J. P. and Ó Donnabhain, B. “The Origins of the Population of Ireland: a Survey of Putative Immigrations in Irish Prehistory and History.” Emania 17 (1998): 47–81.
Morash, Chris. "Celticism: between race and nation." eds T. Foley and S. Ryder. 1998.
O Donnabhain, B. "An appalling vista? The Celts and the archaeology of later prehistoric Ireland.” In A. Desmond et al. (ed.), New Agendas in Irish Prehistory: Papers in commemoration of Liz Anderson. Cork University Press, Cork. 2000: 189-196.
Sims-Williams, Patrick. "The visionary Celt: the construction of an ethnic preconception." Cambridge medieval Celtic studies 11 (1986): 71-96.
Waddell, John. "Celts, Celticisation and the Irish Bronze Age." Ireland in the Bronze Age, Dublin: The Stationery Office (1995): 158-69.

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