Our 2018 autumn conference explores the Iron Age through its artefacts. Some of these are studied as “Celtic Art” – the range of metalwork bearing beautiful decorative devices, the swirls, spirals and other motifs contributing to La Tène aesthetic. Design (as in decoration, form, or manufacture) and Destiny (practical purposes, signals of identity, wear, tear and repair, and finally loss or deliberate deposition) tell us today something of the User and their status, the Makers and their skills, and the extended lifetimes of heirloom objects or utilitarian products.
Even within the British Iron Age, Celtic Art and decorative non-metal artefacts have several centuries of use, and changing fashions are in evidence. How were items worn? Are textiles preserved? New research has plumbed deeper depths into the possibilities of symbols and their meanings, the hidden faces, the sun and moon, the red colours, the swirls and cross-hatching, and the use of exotic components such as coral or glass. Utilitarian items inform us about potting techniques, food residues and wheeled transport. What systems of exchange or tribute, both social and sacred, bring items to their final place of preservation and recovery? How was coinage “used” when it appeared in Gaul and Britain?
Our speakers will bring varied perspectives on artefact research to enlarge our understanding of social influences and the economics of trade and exchange in this period as Britain was influenced by the events and upheavals from pre-Roman Gaul and the Roman invasion of Northern Europe.