Peter S. Wells and Naoise Mac Sweeney
Iron Age Europe, once studied as a relatively closed, coherent continent, is being seen increasingly as a dynamic part of the much larger, interconnected world. Interactions, direct and indirect, with communities in Asia, Africa, and, by the end of the first millennium AD, North America, had significant effects on the peoples of Iron Age Europe. In the Near East and Egypt, and much later in the North Atlantic, the interactions can be linked directly to historically documented peoples and their rulers, while in temperate Europe the evidence is exclusively archaeological until the very end of the prehistoric Iron Age. The evidence attests to often long-distance interactions and their effects in regard to the movement of peoples, and the introduction into Europe of raw materials, crafted objects, styles, motifs, and cultural practices, as well as the ideas that accompanied them.
Andrew P. Fitzpatrick
Migration has long been one of the defining themes of the pre-Roman Iron Age in Europe. Classical authors record migrations by Celtic peoples into Italy and Greece in the fourth and third centuries BC and their testimonies are corroborated by archaeological evidence. Much work has focused on these events and on mass migration in particular. As a result the archaeological study of migration and mobility is weakly theorized and the subject has been unfashionable in most recent western European scholarship. However, migration and mobility in the pre-Roman Iron Age took many forms, from individual marriages to the establishment of Greek colonies in western Europe and the mass migration of Germanic peoples in the second and first centuries BC. The reasons for mobility are varied, but the archaeological and historical sources are clear and consistent in showing that migration was a dynamic and important feature of the pre-Roman Iron Age.
Davide Marco Zori
The Norse discovery and settlement of Iceland in the late ninth century AD offers a test case for the study of human impacts on previously unoccupied landscapes and the formation of new societies under challenging conditions. The Norse Viking Age settlement of the island serves as a cautionary tale about the anthropogenic destruction of fragile environments, while simultaneously providing lessons about the strategic management of marginal ecosystems and nuanced examples of societal evolution and secondary state formation. Archaeological investigation of these processes is complemented by oral traditions preserved in the Icelandic sagas. Although researchers debate the proper use of the sagas, the strength of recent research is its interdisciplinary nature, combining a suite of available tools of inquiry.