Alternative Iron Ages examines Iron Age social formations that sit outside traditional paradigms, developing methods for archaeological characterisation of alternative models of society. In so doing it contributes to the debates concerning the construction and resistance of inequality taking place in archaeology, anthropology and sociology.

In recent years, Iron Age research on Western Europe has moved towards new forms of understanding social structures. Yet these alternative social organisations continue to be considered as basic human social formations, which frequently imply marginality and primitivism. In this context, the grand narrative of the European Iron Age continues to be defined by cultural foci, which hide the great regional variety in an artificially homogenous area. This book challenges the traditional classical evolutionist narratives by exploring concepts such as non-triangular societies, heterarchy and segmentarity across regional case studies to test and propose alternative social models for Iron Age social formations.

Constructing new social theory both archaeologically based and supported by sociological and anthropological theory, the book is perfect for those looking to examine and understand life in the European Iron Age.

We are so grateful to the research project titled "Paisajes rurales antiguos del Noroeste peninsular: formas de dominacion romana y explotacion de recursos" [Ancient rural landscapes in Northwestern Iberia: Roman dominion and resource exploitation] (HAR2015-64632-P; MINECO/FEDER), directed from the Instituto de Historia (CSIC) and also to the Fundaçao para a Ciencia e a Tecnologia [Foundation for Science and Technology] postdoctoral project: SFRH-BPD-102407-2014.

chapter |5 pages


ByInés Sastre, Brais X. Currás

part Part I|2 pages

Theory from and for the field

chapter 1|20 pages

Reconsidering egalitarianism for archaeological interpretation

ByInés Sastre, Brais X. Currás

chapter 2|21 pages

Interpreting the dialectic of sociopolitical tensions in the archaeological past

Implications of an anarchist perspective for Iron Age societies
ByBill Angelbeck

chapter 3|24 pages

Egalitarianism as an active process

Legitimacy and distributed power in Iron Age West Africa
ByStephen A. Dueppen

chapter 4|21 pages

Anarchy in the Bronze Age?

Social organisation and complexity in Sardinia
ByRalph Araque González

chapter 5|14 pages

Reconstructing Iron Age societies

What went wrong
ByJohn Collis

chapter 6|18 pages

Egalitarianism in the southern British Iron Age

An “archaeology” of knowledge
ByRichard Hingley

chapter 7|22 pages

Segmentary societies

A theoretical approach from European Iron Age archaeology
ByBrais X. Currás, Inés Sastre

part Part II|2 pages

The different Iron Ages

chapter 8|25 pages

All together now (or not)

Change, resistance and resilience in the NW Iberian Peninsula in the Bronze Age–Iron Age transition
ByCésar Parcero-Oubiña, Xosé-Lois Armada, Samuel Nión, Félix González Insua

chapter 10|23 pages

Hierarchy to anarchy and back again

Social transformations from the Late Bronze Age to the Roman Iron Age in Lowland Scotland
ByIan Armit

chapter 11|39 pages

Confusing Iron Ages

Communities of the middle Danube region between “tribal hierarchy” and heterarchy
ByVladimir D. Mihajlović

chapter 12|11 pages

A bit of anarchy in the Iron Age

New perspectives on social structure in the Dutch coastal area of North-Holland
Bymarjolijn kok

chapter 13|16 pages

Iron Age religions beyond warrior ideologies

ByAlberto Santos Cancelas

chapter 14|23 pages

Monumentalising the domestic

House societies in Atlantic Scotland
ByNiall Sharples

part Part III|2 pages

From the core of the state

chapter 15|13 pages

Social theory and the Greek Iron Age

ByJohn Bintliff

chapter 16|15 pages

The peasantry as a social theory, and its application to Celtiberian society

ByFrancisco Burillo-Mozota, Mª. Pilar Burillo-Cuadrado

chapter 17|22 pages

Social dynamics in Eastern Iberia Iron Age

Between inclusive and exclusionary strategies
ByIgnasi Grau-Mira