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date: 20 May 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter provides an overview of the origins and development of Iron Age studies in Europe and outlines the main research themes explored in this book. The period is understood to begin when iron first came into general use, between 1000 and 600 BC in different regions. It is the final recognized period of prehistory, continuing in lands outside the Roman Empire until the arrival of Christianity in the later first millennium AD. The archaeology of the Iron Age shows intensification of subsistence production, manufacturing, and trading, as iron came to be applied to many economically important tasks, populations increased, and interactions between communities grew. Larger settlements of the period are thought to indicate the beginnings of urbanism. Settlement sites, cemeteries, and deposits of different kinds are abundantly represented, their material remains generating a rich picture of lifeways, social organization, economic activities, and ritual practices across the continent.

Keywords: iron, settlement, urbanism, interaction, migration, cemetery, transformation

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