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Arts and Crafts in Iron Age East Yorkshire

A holistic approach to pattern and purpose, c. 400BC-AD100

Helen Chittock
Publication Year:
148 pages, Illustrated throughout in colour and black & white. 17 tables, 91 figures.
Sub-series name:
Archaeology of Prehistoric Art, 3
BAR number:


This volume presents a new approach to art in Iron Age Britain and beyond. It aims to collapse the historic distinction between arts and crafts during the period 400BC-AD100 by examining the purposeful nature of patterns on all decorated Iron Age objects. A case study from East Yorkshire (UK), a region well known for its elaborate Iron Age metalwork, is presented. This study takes a holistic approach to the finds from a sample of 30 sites, comparing pattern and plainness on objects of a wide range of materials. The analysis focuses on the factors that led makers to decorate certain objects in certain ways and the uses of different patterns in different social contexts. A concentrated study on evidence for use-wear, damage, repair and modification then draws on primary research and uses assemblage theory to better understand the uses and functions of decorated objects and the ways these developed over time.

Helen Chittock is an archaeologist specialising in the study of later prehistoric finds. Her research encompasses a range of topics relating to decorative practices and the use and treatment of objects across Europe during the 1st millennium BC. She works as a Project Officer (Post-Excavation) for AOC Archaeology Group.

‘The work is an excellent contribution to our understanding of the uses of decoration and other “art” in Iron Age Britain. It is a solid, thoughtful presentation of a new way of looking at a large body of material, some of it familiar to researchers of Iron Age Europe, some of it new.’ Professor Peter S. Wells, University of Minnesota

‘This is a significant contribution in terms of our understanding of the linking of pattern and purpose in object manufacture, decoration and appearance, and in reintegrating the study of “art” with the study of material culture and society at large.’ Professor Colin Haselgrove, University of Leicester

Table of Contents (B660_Chittock_9781407356976_-_ToC.pdf, 222 Kb) [Download]

Introduction (B660_Chittock_9781407356976_Introduction.pdf, 265 Kb) [Download]