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Anthropology 305
The Celtic World

Fall 2012
M 5:30-8:10 SAB G90

  Instructor: Professor Bettina Arnold
Office Hours: Sabin 229, M 2:00-4:00 or by appointment; x4583 or x4175
Class Reflector:

TA: Lara Ghisleni Office: Sabin G71

  READINGS: There are TWO textbooks for this course:
James, Simon 1993 (2005 ed.) The World of the Celts. London: Thames and Hudson, Pb $24.95.
McCaffrey, Carmel and Leo Eaton 2003 In Search of Ancient Ireland: From Neolithic Times to the Coming of the English. Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, Pb $11.30.

COURSE READER (Golda Meier Library Electronic Reserve) Access: See

Selections from:
Collis, John 2003 The Celts: Origins, Myths, Inventions. Stroud: Tempus.
Cunliffe, Barry 1997 The Ancient Celts. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Darvill, Timothy 1996 Prehistoric Britain. London: Routledge.
Davies, John 1994 (2007 ed.) A History of Wales. London: Penguin.
Green, Miranda (ed.) 1995 The Celtic World. London: Routledge.
James, Simon 1999 The Atlantic Celts: Ancient People or Modern Invention. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.
King, John 2000 Kingdoms of the Celts. London: Blandford.
Moscati, Sabatino (ed.) 1991 The Celts. Venice: Bompiani.
Pennick, Nigel 1996 Celtic Sacred Landscapes. London: Thames and Hudson.
Raftery, Barry 1994 Pagan Celtic Ireland. London: Thames and Hudson.
Rees, Alwyn and Brinley Rees 1989 Celtic Heritage. London: Thames and Hudson.
Tanner, Marcus 2004 The Last of the Celts. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Wells, Peter S. 1981 The Emergence of an Iron Age Economy: The Mecklenburg Grave Groups from Hallstatt and Stična. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Make use of these citations when referring to these readings in your written work!


European Archaeology web sites

arrowArchaeological Resource Guide for Europe
arrowBUBL Link: British archaeology - general
arrowThe Anthropological Index of the Royal Anthropoloical Institute


  Course Description:
The Celtic-speaking peoples of continental Europe and the British Isles have left us a rich archaeological, historical and mythological record. During the pre-Roman Iron Age the remains of their settlements and burial grounds can be found from Spain to the Black Sea, one of the reasons that they have recently become a focus of research funded by the European Community. This course will trace the archaeological beginnings of the Celtic tradition from its late Neolithic/early Bronze Age roots to the western-most outposts of the Celtic world in the British Isles. From fabulous gold jewelry to mysterious bog bodies, the archaeology of the ancient Celts has it all! We will explore this legacy through the archaeological, historical and literary records, with reference to sites, monuments and written texts from the Mediterranean world and the British Isles. The course will also explore the historical and political construction of the concept of “the Celts”, which has become the metaphor for the emerging, and contested, European community. How is ethnicity defined, appropriated, debated? Various nationalist movements, including those in Wales and Ireland, make use of the Celts as a vehicle for their contemporary concerns. The course will consider the notion of “Celticity” in the post-industrial era as well as its prehistoric roots.

Evaluation and Grading:
1. Midterm: 40% of grade
2. Final: 40% of grade
3. Short Paper: 15% of grade
Students will be expected to read all material, but must cite at least 10 sources from the e-Reserve Course Reader in their 10 pp. minimum Short Paper. See attached guide to preparing short papers. Penalty for late papers: One full point per day.
4. Attendance: 5% of grade
Extra Credit: Up to 3 points for attending public lectures on archaeological topics during the semester. See the following Web sites for lecture days and times:
AIA (Archaeological Institute of America):
WAS (Wisconsin Archaeological Society):
Anthropology Department Colloquium Series: TBA in class

Graduate Students
1. Midterm: 20% of grade
2. Final: 20% of grade
3. Two short papers (5 pages minimum): 20% of grade
You must cite a minimum of 3 library sources (not counting citations from e-Reserve or textbook reading). Penalty for late papers: One full point per day.
4. Final paper (20 pages minimum) 40% of grade
Choose one of the short paper topics and expand it, or you may choose a different course topic for the final paper. Be sure to include any references not assigned as class reading in your bibliography.
5. Extra Credit: Up to 3 points for attending public lectures on archaeological topics during the semester. (See URLs above.)

Reading Assignments

Sept. 3 - 10 Origins: Who Were the Celts?/Who Are the Celts?
James Chs. 1-2
E-Reserve: James Chs. 1-3; Collis Ch. 1; King Ch. 1
  arrowSimon James's Ancient Celts Page
arrowThe Encyclopaedia of the Celts
arrowTimeline of Celtic History
arrowThe Celtic Archive

Sept. 17 - 24 Hallstatt Period: The Early Continental Celts
James Chs. 3-5
McCaffrey and Eaton Chs. 1 and 2
E-Reserve: Collis Ch. 7; Wells; Moscati volume [Frey, Mohen]

Guest Lecturer: Christine Hamlin, Ph.D. candidate, Anthropology

Oct. 1 - 8 La Tène Period: New Horizons I
James Ch. 7
Davies Ch. 1
McCaffrey and Eaton Ch. 3
E-Reserve: Moscati volume [Frey]; Darville Ch. 6

*Graduate Student Short Paper #1 due October 8!*

Oct. 15 - 22 La Tène Period: New Horizons II
James Ch. 8
Davies Ch. 2
E-Reserve: Darville Ch. 7; Arnold 1996; Megaw & Megaw 1995; Lloyd-Morgan 1995; Ritchie & Ritchie 1995

Oct 29 - Nov. 5 Ritual and Ideology: Death and the Otherworld
James Ch. 6
McCaffrey and Eaton Ch. 4
E-Reserve: King Ch. 2; Arnold 2001; Cunliffe Ch. 10

MIDTERM EXAM October 29!!

Nov. 12 - 19 Celts of the British Isles Part I: Ireland
James Ch. 9
McCaffrey and Eaton Chs. 5-7
E-Reserve: King Chs. 5 & 11; Green volume [Raftery, MacCana]

*Graduate Student Short Paper #2 Due November 12!*

Nov. 26 - Dec. 3 Celts of the British Isles Part II: Wales and Scotland
James Ch. 10
Davies Chs. 3-5
McCaffrey and Eaton Chs. 8-9
E-Reserve: Green volume [Davies; MacKie]; Tanner Ch. 7

*Undergraduate Short Paper due November 26!*

Dec. 10 Celtic Survival
James Ch. 11
Davies Chs. 6-10
McCaffrey and Eaton Chs. 10-12
E-Reserve: Green volume [Lloyd]; James Chs. 5 & 6; Dietler 1994; Tanner Ch. 9 *Graduate Student Final Paper Due by 5pm on DECEMBER 16!*
  arrowCeltic Studies Resources on the Web
arrowCeltic Language Links
arrowIrish Literature, Mythology, Folklore and Drama

Dec. 17 FINAL EXAM MONDAY DECEMBER 17 5:30-7:30pm

  Short Paper Guidelines
  1. Papers must be typed (computer or typewriter).

  2. Paginate all pages beginning with Page 2!

  3. Papers must be double-spaced. (I also need to be able to write comments in the margins, so make sure these are 1" all around, no more, no less.)

  4. You are expected to explore your topic further in written form. This includes a) citations from the reading and b) original ideas/thoughts/opinions, backed up by cogent arguments.

  5. You must cite at least THREE sources in constructing your argument. Think critically! This involves more than simply shooting holes in someone else's theory or approach. Demonstrate that you are able to see more than one side of an issue. Suggest possible directions for future research, or questions the sources you cite have raised but may not explicitly address.

  6. When citing sources (direct quotation or paraphrasing), the in-text citation rules apply:

    The author's last name (include the first initial only if there are two authors being cited in the paper with the same last name) followed by the year of publication, a colon and the page number(s). (This is the standard procedure in anthropological publications). Quotation marks should be used where appropriate, as in the examples below.

    Example #1: "The moon is made of green cheese" (McDonald 1989:123).
    Example #2: According to Williams, the moon is made of fried green tomatoes (1988:19-23).

  7. If you have experienced a burst of energy and ambition and have done some additional reading not assigned in the syllabus (unlikely but not impossible), then you should cite the authors as above.

  8. You must include a bibliography with full references at the end of the paper.

  9. Good luck! Contact me at if you have any other questions.

© 2000 Bettina Arnold, Dept. of Anthropology, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Design: Homer Hruby, Last Updated: September 14, 2012