Does La Tene archaeology represent the people called “The Celts”?
Was there an ancient people who thought of themselves as Celts?
Did they correspond to people classical authors thought of as Celts?
How much can archaeology actually tell us about the lives that people who left it lived?
How did Celtic languages get into Britain and Ireland?
How much La Tene culture came with those languages?
What is “a people” anyway?
Is it a language thing? No language, no people. Not really all of the story though, because are all
English speakers “a people”?
Threat to society brings out an enthusiasm for that culture/people
Simon James – Atlantic Celts – what made people in 18 /19 century selfidentify as Celts, whether
ancient Celts did or didn’t? He links it to aftermath of 1707 Act of Union – incorporates the crowns
of Scotland and England to one kingdom out of fear of war with France. Wales had already done
this in 1546, Ireland not until 1800. Move toward using the term British and Britain. Briton – the idea
of a Briton, associated with the Island and going back to that name which was a Celtic name
(Pretani). Some Wales and Scottish thought of themselves as the aboriginal population of the
island – they were the Britons. The 5 century incomers were English. So, British refers to
everybody who lives on the island. The idea is to fashion a people, a community. What happens is
that the idea is that everybody is British, but really the English are more British than everybody. The
term that was meant to forge a sense of identity was a sort of appropriation which deprived groups
that weren’t dominant of any sense they had of being distinct or different. So, there is a response to
that that shifts away from “British” to “Celtic.” A result of Lluyhd’s publications. The decision to label
the languages “Celtic” was kind of arbitrary. Also a period when a lot of antiquity is being
associated with the Celts.
This reinforced the sense that Celtic speaking peoples were primordial, had first presence and first
rights, claimed Stonehenge even though it wasn’t Celtic. Lluyhd linked it to the classical languthes
Greek and Latin, so this wasn’t a barbarous tongue. Many motivated to selfidentify in 18 century