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date: 21 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The long Iron Age in northern Europe (c.500 BC–750 AD) was characterized by centuries of gradual development, punctuated by major episodes of transformation in the first century BC and the mid-first millennium AD. This chapter adopts a thematic approach, starting with the economy, envisaged as the intertwining of subsistence, exploitation of natural resources, and external acquisition. These lead to wider issues such as land ownership, social stratification, and over-exploitation. A second theme is warfare, ranging from small-scale fighting in earlier centuries to the battlefields of the Roman Iron Age. Next, the implications of key changes in material culture are examined, from domestic artefacts, to grave goods, and architecture. The final theme covers narrative, belief, and ritual, as manifested in lakes with votive and war offerings, founder graves, magical use of runic inscriptions, and the ideologically tinted myths relating to Iron Age societies preserved in poems written down in later centuries.

Keywords: agriculture, house, farm, hall, field, stratification, martiality, Roman contact, offering, poetry

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