The Iron Age Essay

The Iron Age Essay

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The Iron Age has been perceived of as a period filled with war and conflict due to the writings of classical authors. War, as defined by the Encyclopedia of Social and Cultural Anthropology, is “a particular type of political relationship between groups, in which the groups use, or threaten to use, lethal force against each other in pursuit of their aims.” The warfare that took place in Iron Age Britain could have been more the threatening of, rather than the actual infliction of violence. Prehistoric people might have viewed combat more as a ceremonial practice. Ceremonial warfare would have demonstrated that the warrior or community was brave and willing to fight. Also, any actual violence that took place might have been in small skirmishes not full blown warfare. By examining the evidence of weaponry and injuries inflicted on interred individuals, it can be theorized that they were not conducting warfare for the main purpose of vanquishing their enemies.
Small skirmishes in the Iron Age might have taken place, but rather than being wars they were probably more like raids. It would have occurred most likely between communities that were located near each other. The haphazard skirmishes that occurred would not have prepared them for, nor been anything like what they faced when the Romans invaded and started perpetrating actual warfare. The Romans brought with them the type of violent action, which is thought of as warfare today. Due to the dependence on sources like Tacitus and Caesar, archaeologists and historians have developed a skewed view of warfare in the Iron Age. However, how much of this warfare was took place and for what purpose can and should be debated. The actual amount of fighting that happened can only b...


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...itisharchaeology.ashmus.ox.ac.uk/highlights/wittenham-sword.html>.

Avery, M. 1993. Hillfort defences of southern Britain. British Archaeological Report 231
Bowden, M. and McOmish, D. 1987. The required barrier, Scottish Archaeological Review 4: 76-84.
Giles, Melanie. A forged glamour: landscape, identity and material culture in the Iron Age. Bollington: Windgather, 2012. Print.
JAY, M., HASELGROVE, C., HAMILTON, D., HILL, J.D. and DENT, J. (2012), CHARIOTS AND CONTEXT: NEW RADIOCARBON DATES FROM WETWANG AND THE CHRONOLOGY OF IRON AGE BURIALS AND BROOCHES IN EAST YORKSHIRE. Oxford Journal of Archaeology, 31: 161–189.


British Museum - The Kirkburn Sword . 2013. British Museum - The Kirkburn Sword . [ONLINE] Available at:http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highlights/highlight_objects/pe_prb/t/the_kirkburn_sword.aspx. [Accessed 12 December 2013].

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The Iron Age Essay

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