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From the ground up: Spatialized Practices of La Tène communities in the Paris Region

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The nature of Celtic civitates, as described by Caesar, has been a subject of ongoing debate among scholars since the 19th century. Discussions persist regarding whether these entities are primarily ethnic, political, economic, or a combination thereof. But the relevance of pursuing this argument has been challenged many times, and a shift away from textual analysis leads to an examination of Second Iron Age material culture through the lens of daily practices. The reconstruction of past practices represents an active, “hot” interpretation of the archaeological record, because it relates to how people experienced life and anchored themselves in the material world (Stig Sørensen 2014). This research focuses on practices of La Tène populations in the Île-de-France (province of Paris, France), based on the production and consumption of food products, vessels, coins, jewelry, as well as image consumption, funerary and mortuary rituals, and the spatial structure of the anthropic landscape. This presentation relies on a detailed approach to artifact analysis, considering typology, assemblage, and contextual meaning. Why the Île-de-France? Because intensive investigation in and outside of Paris these past 30 years has led to a total renewal of the archaeological body of knowledge. The good quality of data as well as the large geographical coverage enables us to correctly assess the significance of observed phenomena. Through the overlapping study of settlement patterns and material culture, the existence of several dynamic La Tène communities in the Paris region has been brought to the fore. Their evolution shows a more complex reality than allowed by the description of civitates alone.

Stig Sørensen, Marie Louise. 2014. « The archaeological culture concept: Hot or cold understandings ». In Med hjärta och hjärna: en vänbok till professor Elisabeth Arwill-Nordbladh, édité par Henrik Alexandersson, Alexander Andreef, et Annika Bünz, 247‑58. GOTARC series A, Gothenburg archaeological studies. Goteborg: Goteborgs Universitet, Institutionen for historiska studier.

This talk is part of the Later European Pehistory Group (LEPG) series.

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