Did the ancient Celts practice human sacrifice?

Williams, Anarchy. (2014) Did the ancient Celts practice human sacrifice? Masters thesis, University of Wales, Trinity St David.

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Abstract

This dissertation sets out to examine the generally accepted claim that one of the features of ancient Celtic society was the practice of human sacrifice, and to find out whether the available written and archaeological evidence supports this claim. It was decided to limit the period under review to the six hundred years from c. 500 BC to AD 100. After reviewing the literature on the subject, a number of texts from ancient Greek and Roman writers were examined to ascertain what was said. A number of these writers referred to the ancient Celts practising human sacrifice. Next the results from a variety of archaeological investigations was looked at to see if there were any material remains which would support these references in the classical writings. It was discovered that there is little material evidence to support the allegations of human sacrifice among the ancient Celts, that those finds which have been used to verify these assertions have more than one interpretation, and that the vast majority of serious writers on the subject maintain that there is almost no evidence to back up the equally widely held assumption that such practice must have existed. The conclusion of this study is that there is no reliable evidence for the practice of human sacrifice among the ancient Celts. It is recommended that further research might be carried out into a) the relationship between bodies and artefacts found in water, b) alternative explanations for how ‘bog bodies’ might have died, and c) why scholars believe human sacrificed was practised by the ancient Celts.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Additional Information: Series: Carmarthen / Lampeter Dissertations;.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Celtic studies
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GT Manners and customs
Divisions: Theses and Dissertations > Masters Dissertations
Depositing User: John Dalling
Date Deposited: 22 Sep 2014 11:08
Last Modified: 25 Feb 2016 14:44
URI: http://repository.uwtsd.ac.uk/id/eprint/340

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