Mr. Wilson Mr. Wilson Yes Dennis
What a Strange Dream that was..................I Need to get more sleep
Anything Can Happen In Dream
∆ Even the Truth
Why Investigators Must Take That Extra Empirical Step
Missouri Attorney General decides not to retry Ryan Ferguson after murder conviction overturned
The case has been known as the “Dream Murder”: as a full moon loomed overheard on a Halloween night two 17-year-olds, Ryan Ferguson and friend Charles Erickson, were drinking, illegally, at a college bar.
Just miles away Columbia Daily Tribune sports editor Kent Heitholt was found strangled in the newspaper's parking lot.
For two years the case went cold — until Charles Erickson came forward stating that he had been having “dream like” memories of the murder and implicated Ferguson as an accomplice in robbing and killing Heitholt.
A night custodian who was near the scene the night of the murder, also, remembered seeing two young men whom at first he couldn’t identity — but later testified to be both Ferguson and Erikson.
Ferguson was soon arrested and tried but repeatedly denied that he had any involvement in the murder, and has had fought to overturn his conviction from the beginning.
“What he said about being at the crime scene, me being at the crime scene, was all false,” Ferguson told Dateline in a 2012 interview.
The Sh*t They Toss At You
Notes So I Do Not Forget Your Ass Is Mine
March 2, 2007
Cultural Advance from the Steppe:
Kurgan and Scythian Cultures
The expanding Roamn Empire undoubltly had an influence on the new society develpoving north of her borders; hower, cultural changes from the western stepes of the Urkrine and Russia develople in western euope way before the Roman period and seem to thrive after the first failed attempt of mederain urbanization of The presence of the expanding Roman Empire seems to have had some sort of drastic effect on Tène culture and society. This is evident by the fact that so much of the cultural developments that made the La Tène D period unique came into prominence around the same time southern Gaul (Gallia Narbonensis) was occupied in 120 BC. Before going any further, however, it is important to analyze some notable Rome and Greek prosperity is sometimes attributed to colizatino and advancenet of Ancient socities of western Euoped during the Le tene priod societies of elite argicutual territories into early civization during Greek Roman urbanization e to more complex civilization
Intrusions from east to west form the steppe areas of what is now the Ukraine and Russia were major cultural events. Discuss Kurgan and Scythian Cultures in terms of their unique features, but also in terms of their influence on Western European cultures. Include linguist considerations consider the differential effect on two specific European Dobruja, or sometimes Dobrudja (Dobrogea in Romanian, Добруджа—transliterated Dobrudzha—in Bulgarian, Dobruca in Turkish, and Δοβρουτσά—transliterated Dovroutsa—in Greek), is an informal region shared by Bulgaria and Romania, located between the lower Danube river and the Black Sea, including the Danube Delta, Romanian coast and the northernmost part of the Bulgarian coast.
La Tene periods cultures.
Kurgan linguist considerations
Scythian linguist considerations
Hallstatt C 700 – 600 BC
Hallstatt D 600 – 475 BC
La Tène A 475 – 400 BC
La Tène B 400 – 250 BC
La Tène C 250 – 100 BC
La Tène D 100 – 20 BC
The Kurgan people p175., 167, 191, 192, 420,re an Indo-European culture existing during the fifth, fourth, and third millennia BC; they lived in northern Europe, from Russia across Germany, and various authorities have mounted a case for them being THE proto-Indo-European culture, from which all Indo-European cultures descend. Other researchers think it likely that later-day Kurgans were the "Sea People" who laid waste to the Holy Land around 1200 BC - traveling south along the Mediterranean in ships, with their women following them in wagons along the shore. The word kurgan means barrow or grave in Slavic and Turkic; Kurgan culture is characterized by pit-graves or barrows, a particular method of burial. They are also called the Pit-grave people, or Barrow people.
The Scythians 3, 175,374,389,399,391-3,405,407,420,452 (also Scyths, from Greek Σκύθης), a nation of horse-riding nomadic pastoralists who spoke an Iranian language, dominated the Pontic steppe throughout Classical Antiquity. By Late Antiquity the closely-related Sarmatians came to dominate the Scyths in this area. Much of the surviving information about the Scyths comes from the Greek historian Histories of Herodotus (c. 440 BC), and archaeologically from the exquisite goldwork found in Scythian burial mounds in the Ukraine and Southern Russia.
Also, since ancient times non-Scyths have used the name "Scythian" more broadly to refer to various peoples seen as similar or identical to the Scythians, or who lived anywhere in a vast area covering including present-day Ukraine, Russia and Central Asia — known until medieval times as Scythia.
The term Pontic-Caspian steppe summarizes the vast steppelands stretching from north of the Black Sea as far as the east of the Caspian Sea, from the central Ukraine across the Southern and Volga Federal Districts of Russia to western Kazakhstan. The area corresponds to Scythia and Sarmatia of Classical Antiquity. The Pontic-Caspian steppe is part of the Euro-Asian Steppe.
“Complexification” and “cosmopolitanization.” Two key terms discussed in this paper are “complexification” and “cosmopolitanization.” Social “complexification,” as explained by Patrice Brun, is: “…the process by which the number of different and interdependent elements constituting the social system increases…[occurring] through specialization and the establishment of a hierarchy of functions (1995:121).” This model, adapted from biology, suggests that societies, in the process of becoming more complex, develop from having relatively undifferentiated social functions and gradually adopt more specialized and distinct cultural and social institutions. In its biological parallel, organisms develop from having largely undifferentiated tissue and gradually develop forms with increasingly specified physiological functions (internal organs) (Brun 1995:121).
“Cosmopolitanization,” on the other hand, requires a bit more clarification. This is a term coined specifically for this paper in order to offer a possible explanation for the actual nature of the burial patterns found during the La Tène D period. Being “cosmopolitan” is generally understood as meaning to be worldly or under the influence of many ideas or cultures, and largely free from local or colloquial prejudices. The key in this circumstance is the notion of being open and susceptible to external and/or new ideas, and “cosmopolitanization” can thus be defined loosely as the development of a cultural attitude more susceptible to varying ideas, both internally and externally.
Important Terms. In order to fully comprehend much of the information provided in this paper, it is important to define and/or explain some key terms that will be mentioned and discussed throughout. These terms are “tumulus” (pl. “tumuli”), “inhumation,” “cremation,” and “cist grave.” Both “inhumation” and “cremation” are terms used to describe the treatment of the body for a burial; the former describing a normally interred and intact body, and the latter describing a body that has been reduced or partially reduced to ash due to incineration. A “tumulus” is described as a “mound of earth and stones, usually on top of a burial or burials” (Bahn 1993:518). Tumulus burials are fairly common at certain times during the La Tène and in earlier periods. A “cist grave” is described as “a grave, the sides of which are typically formes of stone slabs set on edge, but may be constructed of rubble or brick, and which is covered by stone slabs” (Bahn 1993:104). In other words, the remains are placed in a stone or brick box grave.
Around 475 to 450 BC, a new Iron Age cultural tradition, the La Tène, appeared and gradually overshadowed the previous Hallstatt culture. The La Tène culture is distinguished archaeologically as a shift in artistic and ornamental style to a more curvilinear form based on plant and mythical monster motifs, replacing the generally geometric designs on objects from earlier periods (Collis 1984:43-44, Wells 1999:42). These new motif styles were directly inspired from similar styles that had long been present in Greek and Etruscan artwork, and came into vogue around the time many such Greco-Etruscan objects were finding their way into temperate Europe (Wells 1999:43). The fifth century BC, however, was the beginning of a gradual diminishment of trade contacts between the Greek and Celtic world (Collis 1997:113). This may most likely have been result of Massilia being cut off from the rest of the Greek world as the competing Etruscan and Carthaginian civilizations’ power, influence, and mutual cooperation grew (McEvedy 1967:48-50).
. Regarding the scope of pre-Roman Europe, historians, anthropologists, and members of other disciplines studying this time period disagree about who the “Celts” were and how this term relates to both the La Tène culture and other central European traditions preceding it, such as the Hallstatt culture. Some scholars see “Celtic” as an ethnic term, others as purely linguistic (Arnold and Gibson 1995:2). According to Bettina Arnold and D. Blair Gibson (1995:2), different scholars from linguists to folklorists to cultural anthropologists, use the term in different manners, making the term itself “dangerously nonspecific”.
For simplicity sake, however, and because of the relative correlation with the general archaeologically recognized “beginning” of Celtic culture noted previously, the rise of the Iron Age seems a reasonable starting point. Iron technology reached central and western Europe around the eighth to seventh centuries BC, beginning with the Hallstatt C period (Collis 1984:40; Collis 1997:73-74; Haywood 2002). Despite the extremely important technological advancement iron is often portrayed to be, this adoption was gradual in nature (Collis 1997:73-74), and merely intersected the Hallstatt Period (roughly 1200-450 BC) (Haywood 2002). Although in most aspects the periods immediately following the advent of iron show simple cultural continuation of the preceding Urnfield (Hallstatt A and B) Bronze Age period, some shifts in technology, social structure, and burial rites were occurring (Collis 1997:73-74).
One important outcome of the particular trends of increasing social complexity and, for a select few, social status was the appearance of highly stratified settlements throughout western and central Europe between 600-400 BC (Hallstatt C and D, and La Tène A) (Arnold and Gibson 1995:5). These settlements, larger and more complex than simple farming villages, had generally denser populations than any previous settlement types in Europe, with a major portion of that population involved in manufacturing and commerce (Wells 1999:38). These sites were generally located on hilltops or other easily defended sites, and contained a fortified inner area with open outer settlements (Wells 1999:38-39). Both the advent of increased social stratification (sometimes expressed in the form of rich burials for the elite, but only in certain areas) and the appearance of large and complex hill-forts, hallmarks of this era, would again become common features of the Celtic cultural landscape. This second flourishing would come into play shortly before the conquest of Gaul by Rome.
The La Tène D period, the period of greatest social development and economic growth in pre-Roman Europe and of primary importance for the subject of this paper, officially began around 100 BC according to the Reinecke chronological system. In fact, social development during this period was so marked for much of the La Tène world that many scholars have argued that in the regions of central France immediately beyond the borders of the expanding Roman Empire state-level societies may have developed (Haywood 2002). What is clear is that this period was another economic and commercial “boom” time like that of the late Hallstatt/early La Tène period. The La Tène D period, however, largely surpassed the earlier Iron Age peak in both nature and scope.
It is at the peak of the early Iron Age trade boom that the La Tène A period (475-400 BC) appears in the archaeological record. Although the end of this period saw the nearly complete collapse of the settlement, economic and social patterns that dominated the thriving late Hallstatt period, in most ways the La Tène A period itself was a continuation of Halstatt C and D. Hill-forts continued to be in use, although a trend of population decentralization can be generally seen (Collis 1984:43-46), and it appears that the vast majority of these early Iron Age settlements did not last into the middle La Tène Period (B/C). The burial practice of interring the dead under tumuli, a common feature of the sociocultural scenarios.
Because the investigation of the society and culture of the Iron Age Celtic peoples of continental Europe is primarily an archaeological one, it is important to better understand issues within the realm of archaeology on the nature of social and cultural change. Because “no single social theory can serve all explanatory needs in archaeology” (Schiffer 2000:1), understandably there is a wide variety of such theories within the subdiscipline to choose from. In recent decades, the sheer volume of information on social theory in archaeology has ballooned to the point where it is next to impossible to keep up with much of the information available (Schiffer 2000:2). To make this situation more complicated, within the last decade factionalism has ruled the archaeological landscape, with such “camps” as processualism, postprocessualism, and behavioral to name but a few (Schiffer 2000:3). Additionally, large segments of social theory are delegated as being generally applicable only to either hunter-gatherer, intermediate, or complex societies, largely due to the fact that most archaeologists only deal with societies at one particular complexity level and rarely overlap (Schiffer 2000:4). Needless to say, pinpointing an “appropriate” social model to be used to solve the puzzle of the La Tène D burial patterns is no mean feat.
Within the realm of European archaeology, up until the 1960’s one of the standard synthesis on sociocultural development was V. Gordon Childe’s modified diffusionism, which saw prehistoric European cultural development in terms of ‘the irradiation of European barbarism by Oriental civilisation” (Chapman 1990:6, Childe 1958:70). More specifically, as explained by Chapman (1990:7), the Near Eastern “core” civilizations were the source of cultural development in “peripheral” Europe. Based on the correlation of major shifts in Celtic social development (the economic successes of the Late Hallstatt/Early La Tene and the La Tène D periods) with dramatic increases in the amount of Mediterranean goods found in the archaeological record at the same time as one example, it is easy to see how such a view as Childe’s would be compelling.
In the decades following Binford’s New Archaeology, new social theories and models have been applied to the La Tène culture area. One of the most prevalent in recent years has been the world systems theory. Initially proposed by Immanuel Wallerstein (1974) as an explanation for the overall state of the modern world (economic, political, etc.), he saw the sixteenth century A.D. as the great divide in human history between the pre-modern and fully modern world (Kohl 1989:218). Subsequent revisions and reapplications of this theory have been developed, such as the concept of a regional economic system as has been applied to early eastern Mediterranean states (Hittites, Minoans, etc.) and Greece, Etruria and the early Iron Age of central Europe (Brun 1987; Chapman 1990:6; Frankenstein and Rowlands 1978). World systems theory has even been applied to analyzing the severe shortcomings of the concept of the “pristine” (closed society, completely endogamous) development of West Asian state civilizations (Mesopotamia, Egypt, etc.) (Kohl 1989).
As far as the La Tène D period of temperate Europe is concerned, Patrice Brun has demonstrated the adaptability of the world systems model to this scenario as well (1995). Having already identified a world-system centered on Greek and Etruscan cities (Brun 1987), he has also divided the world of Gaul into three concentric rings based on a world-economy model (Brun 1995:122), although other scholars have noted this concentric “zoning” trend as well (Nash 1981; Cunliffe 1988). To the south, stretching from the Atlantic to Lake Geneva and closest to the Roman imperial frontier, lay a broad ring of large centralized states that were the ones that produced their own currencies, which were interchangeable with other Celtic state currencies and the Roman dinar. Further north, stretching from Armorica to Champagne were smaller states where coins were also produced and a fair number of Roman goods were imported (Brun 1995:122). This area is also noted for the presence of Roman vessels found in elite burials as status symbols, occasionally associated with chariot parts removed from funeral pyres (Brun 1995:122; Metzler et al. 1991). A third zone, in Britain and northernmost Gaul, can be identified with even less developed states and limited access to Roman products (Brun 1995:122). These zones were also somewhat distorted around areas where intensity of trade traffic was greater, specifically around the Rhone-Saone River region and the adjacent Seine, Meuse-Aisne-Some, and Moselle-Rhine River areas, which fostered greater social interaction and reaction in those places (Brun 1995:122) (for a modified map roughly outlining 2 of the 3 concentric zones, see Figure 5).
Somewhat connected to the world systems model was Frankenstein and Rowlands’ (1978) theory about the cultural significance of Mediterranean goods as status symbols in elite burials during the flourishing economy of the late Hallstatt/early La Tène period. According to their model, the political power held by the elites was connected with their control over the procurement and distribution of exotic, high-valued goods, like what would have been imported from the Mediterranean (Diepeveen-Jansen 2001:7; Frankenstein and Rowlands 1978). These prestige goods, functioning as symbols of power, would have been used by the elites in ritual contexts (i.e. burials) as a legitimizing basis of power (Diepeveen-Jansen 2001:7; Frankenstein and Rowland 1878). This theory may provide a key insight into certain late La Tene burial practices as well, as will be discussed later.
Anthropological Theory on Mortuary Practice
Like change, death is also an inevitably. Any living organism will inevitably experience it. Once again, humans, as living organisms, are no exception to this basic fact. Yet, despite its universality, within the human sociocultural realm a wide variety of responses to this phenomenon exist, from the treatment of the body to the ambiance of funerals (Huntington and Metcalf 1979:1). Although this variety demonstrates the more or less universal impact that death brings about, such reactions are never random but instead always meaningful and expressive (Huntington and Metcalf 1979).
Two important early and original works about the nature of the human reaction to death came to light with English publications of Arnold Van Gennep (1909) and Robert Hertz (1907) (Huntington and Metcalf 1979:8). Van Gennep argued that all rituals, particular rights of passage (which funerary practices seem to be), have beginnings, middles, and ends, with the concept of the middle being a liminal (transitional) stage bridging the transformation from one stage to the next (Huntington and Metcalf 1979; Van Gennep 1907). Strongly similar to Van Gennep’s perspective, Hertz recognized the prevalence of secondary burials and the liminal phase between them and primary burials (Huntington and Metcalf 1979; Hertz 1909).
In the early 1970’s, Louis Binford (1971) and Arthur Saxe (1970) both presented influential pieces of research focused on identifying social factors involved in variations in the nature of funerary practices (Brown 1995:3). Saxe’s goal was to investigate how mortuary practices interacted with other elements within a particular sociocultural system for the purpose of locating universal cross-cultural regularities of such interactions, and succeeded in generating some possible hypotheses (Saxe 1970). Binford’s goal, on the other hand, was twofold. For one, he criticized idealistic assumptions about the nature of cultural change and the diffusionist interpretation that all superficially similar elements of burial practices (ex. the practice of cremating a body in many cultures) ultimately all had the same origin (Binford 1971; O’Shea 1984:4). Second, and most important for the subject of this paper, he argued that there existed relatively universal regularities in the relationship between community organization, in particular degree of social complexity, and amount of differentiation practiced in mortuary traditions (Binford 1971; O’Shea 1984:4-5).
Much of the archaeological evidence available on the peoples of the late Hallstatt and La Tène periods of temperate Europe gives an extensive number of examples of a long-standing trend of Mediterranean influences on the culture over time. Since the advent of the Iron Age, Greek, Etruscan, and, at a later date, Roman goods, such as ceramic and metal vessels, pots, and amphorae were a fairly constant part of the archaeological record of the Celtic realm. This was particularly the case amongst the graves of the elite members of Celtic society. In fact, much of what was considered part of the trappings of elitism, seems to have had its origin in the Mediterranean world.
In addition, the economic fortunes and misfortunes of the insular Celtic peoples, along with the subsequent effects on their social infrastructure, ultimately seem to have paralleled events and circumstances along the Mediterranean, such as the isolation of Massilia from its eastern Greek compatriots during the fifth century BC. Important technological and economic innovations including the potter’s wheel and the adoption of currency modeled on Greek styles (Woolf 1995:340-343) in central Europe were also inspired by Mediterranean civilization. Even the advent of the La Tène culture itself is a result of Mediterranean influence, since the appearance of Greek and Etruscan design styles on local objects is the major identifying marker of this period in the archaeological record.
The point being made here is that there is an extremely large historical precedent for Mediterranean civilization being some sort of an influence on a large variety of cultural behaviors and institutions. In conjunction with the intensification of Roman-Celtic interactions, especially in central France beginning around the second century BC, the possibility of some degree of Roman influence having a role to play in the development of late La Tène burial practices seems credible. Naturally, this does not conclusively nor decisively prove anything. In particular, even if Roman influence was involved, there is still the question of “how.” Either the influence the Roman Empire was giving was more of an overt sort of cultural diffusion, or it was more indirect, such as the political and economic presence of the empire acting as a catalyst (but not a source) for change amongst the neighboring La Tène.
The fact that the Roman world may not have been the only external culture zone exerting influence on the late La Tène world, at least as far as the north Gallic burial practice is concerned, makes this question even more complex. Evidence of increased trade contact between northern Germany and the La Tène world aside, there seems to be a compelling possibility of northern German “Germanic” influences being involved in the development of the northern Gallic burial tradition. Déchelette saw the transition from inhumation to cremation in Belgium coinciding with the arrival of Germans in to the area (1927:543). Additionally, the Roman historian Tacitus, in his account of the peoples of Germany, stated that the Nervii and Treveri tribes of northeastern Gaul claimed German ancestry, which they felt made them superior to nearby fully Gallic tribes (Tacitus:52; Wightman 1971:17). Archaeological evidence from this region may strongly support this as a possibility (Wightman 1971:17).
Frankenstein and Rowland’s theory about the significance of Mediterranean goods found in elite burials during the late Hallstatt/early La Tène period (1978) may actually add some important further insight into why the pattern of late La Tène burials are the way that they are. The rite of Collis’ identified North Gallic tradition, with its regular and elite burials, is remarkably similar to that of the predominant burial hierarchy system during the late Hallstatt/early La Tène period, the first age of considerable trade contact with the Mediterranean. Additionally, Collis’ identified North Gallic tradition geographically more or less coincides with Patrice Brun’s designation of the outer concentric zones of interaction where Roman influence and imported goods were much less common. Subsequently, the “other” burial rites found in Gaul are located in the same approximate geographic region as Brun’s identified zone in the Celtic complex. This was the concentric zone containing the largest and most centralized states and the greatest degree of contact with the Roman world, as well as the greatest concentration of imported Roman goods (see Collis 1984:163 figure 9-22). Thus, because Roman goods were less common in the outer zones of Gaul, there is a greater likelihood that they may have still held the “exotic prestige” status that Frankenstein and Rowlands thought Mediterranean imports had in general during the earlier Iron Age trade “boom.” Further south in Gaul, where Roman imports were much more common (see Collis 1984:163 figure 9-22) and presumably more familiar, there would have no longer been this traditional prestige associated with the acquirement of Mediterranean goods. Elite burial practices, if they existed at all during this time period outside of the region of the northern Gaul, would have to have been defined by other criterion.
In general, the correlation in the shift in burial trends with degree of complexity and contact with the Roman sphere seems too convenient to be brushed off as mere coincidence. The presence of the expanding Roman Empire seems to have had some sort of drastic effect on Tène culture and society. This is evident by the fact that so much of the cultural developments that made the La Tène D period unique came into prominence around the same time southern Gaul (Gallia Narbonensis) was occupied in 120 BC. Before going any further, however, it is important to analyze some notable trends in the burial patterns of the La Tène world outside of the North Gallic culture.
What analysis of the burial data outside of the North Gallic culture showed was that the funerary practices of the La Tène D period were not quite as incoherent as they appeared to be at face value. With the exception of the smaller burial tradition in northern France, Belgium, and nearby regions, there were no obvious regional similarities in the overall structure of the burial (treatment and placement of the body, funerary artifacts, etc.). Individual or particular elements of burials, however, showed their own individual distributions over certain areas. In areas of southwest France to the south and west of the Massif Central, the two sites identified were both graves built under a tumulus, even though the contents and treatment of the body within each grave were dissimilar. In Switzerland, the Rhone Valley region, and parts of Alpine France, flat inhumation cemeteries most closely resembling the burial tradition of the previous La Tène B and C periods (flat inhumation cemeteries) and located outside the settlement area are more commonly found here than elsewhere.
In particular sites along the Rhone Valley, Switzerland, and Brittany, as well as commonly throughout the North Gallic tradition the placement of cremated remains into ceramic containers, varying from locally manufactured pots to Roman amphorae to Roman-inspired vases, is found. This particular tradition intriguingly resembles the elite Roman funerary practice of placing ashes into an urn that was common during the same era, especially considering that the Rhone Valley and areas of northern France were major trade thoroughfares between temperate Europe and the Mediterranean. At specific localities in central France, Switzerland, and possibly southeast Germany, human remains are often found in close proximity to or even within the wall surrounding the settlement. These, and numerous other examples just like them, show a general trend of overlapping funerary practices that in of themselves have limited ranges (see Figure 6). Some of these practices suggest Mediterranean influence, some from cultures to the north, while other practices suggest ties to earlier burial traditions, and others still are just plain new and unexpected.
In light of the question of how exactly social complexification and Roman influence shaped changes in the burial practices of the late La Tène peoples, it seems evident that despite the prevalence of these two factors accounting for a great deal of change in the socio-cultural lives of these people. Some characteristics of the cultural landscape of burial practices, however, cannot seem to be explained simply by being a result of these two processes taking effect, such as the overlapping ranges of varying burial practices and treatments. It is for these unaccounted-for aspects of late La Tène burial practices that the term “cosmopolitanization” was coined. This attitude shift would have allowed a “tolerance” for greater variability and flexibility in the use of mortuary rituals, thus allowing for the overlapping and localized burial traits. Despite the plausible nature of the concept of “cosmopolitanization,” actually identifying the existence of this cultural attitude amongst the archaeological record of the La Tène is complicated at best, and far beyond the scope of discussion for this paper. Additionally, a variety of other explanations involving changes in cultural attitude can be proposed in this scenario which would be equally valid. The reason that this idea is ventured, however, is due to the fact that because this shift in burial practice is associated with a growth in settlement size, and increased contact with neighboring cultures. The semi-urban and trade-oriented nature of the oppida give them considerable plausibility as sources of “cosmopolitanization” amongst the Le Tène (urban environments tend to be favorable places for the blending of cultures and the adopting of more cosmopolitan ideas). At this juncture, however, “cosmopolitanization” is a reasonable venture at an explanation, but nothing more.
Before coming to any final conclusions about the nature of La Tène D burial practices, one final bit of information, mostly literary, needs to be addressed. Whether or not the people of Gaul practiced sacrifice or not is a question that has been a long-standing point of contention amongst scholars. Strabo and Julius Caesar, among many other Greco-Roman authors, wrote about such practices (Crumley 1974; Wiedmer 1963). The accuracy of such documentation, however, is suspect, since many of the authors from the era had their own agendas or personal prejudices concerning the peoples north of the Mediterranean Sea. If sacrifice was practiced, however, this factor would certainly completely alter the scope of the analysis of the La Tène and their burial traditions. In addition to investigating the specific meanings of different burials in different locations and contexts, the existence of human sacrifice would also require identifying what particular mortuary practices amongst the La Tène were associate with it. This is especially difficult in the case of the La Tène D, when burials are already variable from location to location. Thus, burial practices associated with sacrifice may have been just as variable as well. Perrot and Perichon (1969b) thought that the frequency of cremation burials amongst children at the site of Aulnat may have beeh associated with a sort of sacrificial practice involving the use of children. This conclusion is doubtful considering Binford’s assertion that the practice of having special mortuary traditions for specific categories of death (ex. such as from sickness or in the death of a child) is a common feature among many cultures (Binford 1971). Additionally, according to Wells (1999), sacrifice is a practice that cannot be easily identified archaeologically in the late La Tène scenario. Until the presence of human sacrifice can be conclusively demonstrated in the archaeological record of the La Tène, however, this variable will only make interpretations of their burials that much more difficult and complicated.
First and foremost, it is clear overall that the nature of the shift in late La Tène burial practice is extremely complicated, and can only be understood by recognizing that the complex interactions of multiple processes and factors were involved. Additionally, different processes and factors may have been in play in certain regions in the La Tène world, such as the potential Germanic element in northern Gaul.
Overall, it seems that the nature of burial practices in Gaul can be divided into two general regions of certain similar characteristics. The most obvious is Collis’ north Gallic burial tradition, which basically geographically coincides with Brun’s outer concentric zones of interaction with the Roman Empire, and potentially was more influenced by contact with Germanic peoples than with people from other regions. Further south, in the concentric zone of greatest social development and interaction and contact with the Roman Empire, various local burial elements that overlap one another geographically (burials near/within settlement walls, inhumation cemeteries, etc.). Within this zone, however, two interesting subdivisions can be noted. To the west of the Massif Central, the general practice of burials with tumuli, possibly a an act of retaining older cultural traditions dating back to the late Hallstatt/early La Tène period, can be found. To the east, along the Rhone corridor and in Switzerland, settlement sites contain examples of both cemeteries outside the settlement area and individual burials within. Each of these designations are certainly not exclusive to one another, since many elements of burial practices overlap, but overall this general pattern seems reasonably compelling.
Unfortunately, numerous problems regarding the available information on late La Tène burials prevents the possibility of coming to a definitive conclusion about general trends in such practices. One is the complete dearth of burial information from most of southern Germany, as well as the extremely limited scope and availability of such information on La Tène practices further east. A full appreciation and understanding of the scope of the processes involved in the nature of burial practices during this time cannot be fully appreciated without such information. Another problem is the lack of availability and reliability of many of the original sources for much of the burial data from this time period. Much has never been published, or is largely unavailable in the United States. Some of the published information, however, was written as much as a century ago, when modern standards for archaeological analysis were not yet in place. Much of the literature is excessively narrative in nature, and tends to gloss over certain bits of relevant information and/or make inappropriate assumptions and conclusions based on information available.
Yet another problem with the available data on La Tène D burials is, because of the dearth of overall available data, there are considerable gaps in the temporal uniformity of much of the information over the full geographic area, even within the relatively short time span involved. There is the possibility that, if these gaps are subsequently filled in the archaeological record, the trends identified in this paper may be fundamentally incorrect. Yet again, there is even less information available from La Tène areas further east, in places such as Hungary. Finally, there is the question of whether or not human sacrifice was practiced by the late La Tène people. Whether or not such practices were truly in existence drastically changes the potential of interpretation for the overall nature and trends of late La Tène burial traditions.
Ultimately, it would seem that a combination of increased social complexity, the presence of the Roman Empire as a catalyst for change, random internal changes, and some degree of cultural diffusion were all involved in creating the burial scenario as it existed during the La Tène D period. “Cosmopolitanization” may have also had a role to play in this, but being able to identify whether or not this cultural attitude predominated amongst the La Tène peoples is questionable at best. As stated before, however, it is premature at this stage to try and propose any definite theories or conclusions about what was truly occurring during this time period. It is the ultimate hope of this author, however, that this paper succeeds in presenting a new and unique perspective that ultimately opens up new channels of dialogue and discussion about this particular question in the prehistory of continental Europe. From there, it may be able to open up new dialogue about changing cultures and societies on the borders of expanding states and empires.
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