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THE PAGAN CELTS by Anne Ross is an older book, first published in 1970 and updated with more recent material in 1986. Ms. Ross, a scholar of Celtic antiquities, languages, and literature (University of Edinburgh), has written widely on her topic. The Pagan Celts Ross identifies are an ancient people associated with the whole of what constitutes modern Europe. The earliest evidence Ross presents comes from the `La Tene' and `Hallstatt' sites in central and eastern Europe, and the latest material she presents dates from the Roman period. She uses empirical evidence from archeological studies, literature from mostly Greek and Roman sources, and her knowledge of various languages to format her argument-the Celts had a homogeneous culture that spanned a large geographic area for hundreds of years. Ross has organized her material into several categories including, social organization, dwellings, defense, food production, language, the world of the spirit, and arts. For each of these topics, she presents material from a variety of sources. Ross does not limit her discussion to the British Isles. I found the entire book interesting, but the section on "Art and Adornment" most fascinating. One of the problems with material artefacts is determining what was made locally, and what was imported. Several thousand years ago, before the Greeks and Romans expanded their civilizations, the Celts apparently were trading with people from Asia. For example, a high-ranking individual found in a Celtic grave in central Europe (Hochdorf) dating from the Iron Age was discovered clothed in `Chinese' silk. Ross provides other examples of the incorporation of material from non-Celtic cultures to Celtic uses.Read more ›
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