The "Iron Age" designates the 800 years preceding the Roman conquest of Europe. This period represents the latest social and cultural development of indigenous European societies before the annexation of much of temperate Europe into the Roman Empire and the final phase of cultural change before the beginning of local traditions of written history north of the Alps. Our understanding of the Iron Age has changed substantially over the past 30 years, as a result both of recent discoveries and of new perspectives. Much recent research has focused on specific themes such as changing social structure and patterns of ritual behavior. I attempt here to provide an overview of current understanding and debate on some of these topics in Iron Age archaeology. The subject and its literature are vast, and my treatment is selective. The references will guide the interested reader to the wider literature.
- Iron Age
- social structure