Díaz-Andreu, M. 1998. Ethnicity and Iberians. The archaeological crossroads between perception and material culture. European Journal of Archaeology 1(2): 199-218.

Díaz-Andreu, M. 1998. Ethnicity and Iberians. The archaeological crossroads between perception and material culture. European Journal of Archaeology 1(2): 199-218.

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  TNICITY AND IBERIANS: THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL CROSSROADS BETWEEN PERCEPTION AND MATERIAL CULTURE Margarita Díaz-Andreu University of Durham  Abstract:  A re-evaluation of how ethnicity is currently understood in archaeology is necessary in view of recent developments in the archaeology of identity. In this article, it will be argued that nationalism has led to an understanding of ethnicity as monolithic, denying in this way its heterogeneous nature. Since the 192s, archaeologists wor!ing under the culture-historical umbrella have e"plicitly defined ethnicity on the basis of material culture, maintaining endless, and perhaps fruitless, debates. #owever, as anthropologists have been discussing since the 19$s, ethnicity is perhaps not about material culture, or not necessarily about material culture, but about perception. Archaeologists should consider ethnic identities as fluid and polymorphous, for multiple ethnic affiliations can coe"ist and overlap in the same individual. %thnic identification&s' displayed by each individual will change depending on the circumstances, the interlocutor and the situation. In addition, archaeologists cannot study ethnic identity in isolation from other types of identifications - gender, religion, status, etc. - as all of them will be at play, ready to act &or to be hidden', on each particular occasion. (hese issues will be discussed in this article in relation to Iron Age Iberians. Keywords:  ethnicity, Iberians, identity, Iron Age, nationalism, perception IIII NTRODUCTIONNTRODUCTIONNTRODUCTIONNTRODUCTION   In this essay, my aim is to reflect upon current interpretations of Iberian ethnicity. I discuss how Iberian ethnic identity is currently interpreted, to what e"tent nationalism continues to shape our understanding of ethnicity, and in which ways ethnicity - and Iberian ethnicity in particular - can be reassessed in the light of recent research. In addition, I argue the need for a re-evaluation of our understanding of ethnicity, which, because of nationalism, is at present too monolithically defined. I propose that ethnicity has a polymorphous nature, and evaluate how this operated amongst Iberians. (he apparent contradiction between the classical sources  European Journal of Archaeology  Vol. 1(2): 199-21 Co!"#$%&'  199 S%* P+,l$'$o/ (Lo0o T&o+/0 O/ CA 0 N*3 D*l&$) 0 '&* E+#o!* A//o$'$o o4 A#&*olo%$/'/ 51671-981(199)1:2;199-21;<767=  2 E  UROPEAN J  OURNAL OF A RCHAEOLOGY 1(2)    )igure 1. Iberian peoples according to classical sources written in (a) the sixth and ifth centuries ! (after "ui# "odr$gue#% and &olinos ': *ig+ ,-). and (b) the third century ! (after "ui# "odr$gue# and &olinos ': *ig+ ,/)+  D 0A1 2A 3D"4U    : Iron Age Iberian ethnicity: Iron Age Iberian ethnicity: Iron Age Iberian ethnicity: Iron Age Iberian ethnicity 201   regarding the different names given to this group, the more encompassing one of Iberians but also the more restricted ones of *astetanians, %detanians, +ayetanians, etc. can be analysed from this new perspective. y discussion will focus on the boo! recently published on the Iberians by Arturo ui odr/gue and anuel olinos &1990', soon to appear in %nglish translation, not only because it is an e"cellent boo! which merits general discussion but also because it is a good e"ample of the way in which Iberian ethnicity is generally approached by Spanish and non-Spanish scholars. (he chapter on %thnic groups, States . . . Socioeconomic )ormations will serve here as the basis for my discussion on current understanding of ethnicity. Iberians have been defined as the inhabitants of the editerranean coast from the south of )rance west to the uadal3uivir valley, and of regions in the interior of the %bro basin and in part of the southern eseta, from the si"th century *4 through to oman rule. (heir name comes from the classical sources, which also describe them as various peoples5 %detanians, 6retanians, 4ontestanians, Ilercavonians, etc. #owever, the contradictions in the written sources ma!e it difficult archaeologically to define the territory of each and the disparity resulting from a comparison of the maps produced by different scholars is clear in this respect. Iberian or Iberian culture are terms currently used by archaeologists. In order to define what pertains to the Iberian culture, archaeologists use several criteria, mainly type of settlements, burial rites and material culture. Settlements have a relatively high degree of urbaniation, with structures which are not e"clusively domestic, and houses of rectangular plans and normalied interior spaces. In cemeteries a cremation rite was practised and burials show a standardied set of deposited ob7ects. A final ma7or type of sites has been interpreted as sanctuaries. aterial culture is characteried, among other things, by wheel-made pottery of orange clay and painted decorations of a wine colour with geometric and8or figurative designs, by sculptures portraying human and animal images, and brone and terracotta statuettes which, at least in some cases, seem to have been votive offerings. )rom a socio-political point of view, archaeologists have interpreted the spatial archaeological pattern as being the conse3uence of the e"istence of chiefdoms and, in a later period, in some areas, of state societies. CCCC URRENT HYPOTHESIS ONURRENT HYPOTHESIS ONURRENT HYPOTHESIS ONURRENT HYPOTHESIS ON IIII BERIAN ETHNIC DYNAMIBERIAN ETHNIC DYNAMIBERIAN ETHNIC DYNAMIBERIAN ETHNIC DYNAMICCCCSSSS ((((RRRR UUUUIIIIZZZZ RRRR OOOODDDDRRRRÍGÍGÍGÍGUEUEUEUEZZZZ AAAANNNNDDDD MMMM OOOOLLLLIIIINNNNOOOOSSSS 1111999999993333)))) ui odr/gue and olinos &1990' discuss Iberian ethnicity mainly on the basis of the information provided by the classical sources. As the authors point out, the written sources describe the groups in a hierarchical way. In the si"th century *4, a distinction is made between three ma7or groups, Iberians, astienians and (artessians but, within them, other minor units, called tribes by the classical authors, are also referred to &1990520' &)ig. 1&a''. +ater, in the fifth century *4, the classical sources define (artessos and astia as Iberian. (his change is considered by ui odr/gue and olinos &199052' as a redefinition of their ethnic role at that time. After the Second :unic ;ar, the groups discussed by the written sources are the (urdetanians and the (urdulians, seen as descendents of (artessians< the *astetanians, who hailed from the  22 E  UROPEAN J  OURNAL OF A RCHAEOLOGY 1(2)    astenians< the 6retanians, and other minor groups, whose identity is reinforced in some cases through sanctuaries &1990529' &)ig 1&b''. (he 4arthaginians first and then the omans eventually disrupted the ethnic processes ta!ing place in Iberian protohistory. ui odr/gue and olinos &19=9< 1990' undoubtedly show a more sophisticated understanding of the issue of ethnicity in Iberians than that of their culture-historian predecessors from the 192s to the 19$s. 1  (he authors point out that the definition of the groups mentioned in the sources is not homogeneous, for sometimes they are described mainly as political units and sometimes they are seen as mainly ethnic ones. +oo!ing at the issue from the political point of view, they argue that political units can be either ethnically homogeneous or heterogeneous in their ethnic nature. In the case of state formations, they maintain there were both ethnic states and supra-ethnic states. (artessos and astia are regarded as illustrations of supra - ethnic political units, as they enclose other minor groups which ui odr/gue and olinos &1990' believe to be truly ethnic. (he relation between politics and ethnicity is seen, thus, as multiple, but also as fluid, as a supra-ethnic state might potentially be the focus for the creation of a new homogeneous ethnic group. (artessos is used as an e"ample of a &failed' attempt to build such an ethnic identity. (hus, the authors maintain that in the whole of (artessos and astia - a territory which broadly coincides with present-day Andaluc/a and urcia - an effort was made within the political unit to create a homogeneous ethnic identification &199052>'. 2   DDDD ECONSTRUCTING ECONSTRUCTING ECONSTRUCTING ECONSTRUCTING RRRR UIZ UIZ UIZ UIZ RRRR ODRÍGUEZODRÍGUEZODRÍGUEZODRÍGUEZ AND AND AND AND MMMM OLINOSOLINOSOLINOSOLINOS ’’’’  VIEW OF ETHNICITYVIEW OF ETHNICITYVIEW OF ETHNICITYVIEW OF ETHNICITY   A double reading can be made of ui odr/gue and olinos study of Iberian eth-nicity from a present-day political perspective. 6n the one hand, in their hypothesis, we can see the survival of the e3uation established in the late eighteenth century between political unit and ethnic group. I have discussed this elsewhere and I shall not insist on arguments already outlined there &?/a-Andreu 199@'. 0  6n the other hand, the influence of modern politics in their scheme is clear when we realie that it is not difficult to find modern e"amples of both types of states defined by them. %"amples of a supra-ethnic state are the nited Bingdom and modern autonomous Spain< e"amples of an ethnic state, )rance ai'd )rancoist Spain. If we wished to adopt an over-critical, distrustful attitude, we might argue that their wor! is another e"ample of how present politics influence the elaboration of archaeological models. In particular I have in mind the possible influence in their wor! of the political situation in Spain. In the 19$s and 19=s, when the model was formulated &see ui odr/gue and olinos 19=9 and previous publications', Spain was in the middle of a transition between dictatorship and democracy, between an imposed ethnic state and a democratically chosen, supra-ethnic state. #owever, I am far from suggesting here that ui odr/gue and olinos are trying to deceive us, to use the present maliciously to represent the past.   6n the contrary, what I am proposing is that the conte"ts in which we archaeologists become immersed ma!e us realie that similar processes might have occurred in the past. ;e become aware of possibilities that we had not imagined  D 0A1 2A 3D"4U    : Iron Age Iberian ethnicity: Iron Age Iberian ethnicity: Iron Age Iberian ethnicity: Iron Age Iberian ethnicity 203   before. (his is a healthy relation between present and past. And, because it is, it can also be criticied and debated. +eaving modern politics &partly' aside, several other points are worth ma!ing on ui odr/gue and olinos hypothesis. (he first is whether the features selected by the authors to define ethnicity are correct. I shall briefly e"pand on this issue before going to my second, and I thin! more important, 3uestion regarding their model. ui odr/gue and olinos &1990' approach ethnicity on the basis of the selection of both the presence of specific types and the absence of others which they consider diagnostic to define the groups. In this, the authors do not differ from other previous scholars in Spain and elsewhere, as this is the standard means of designating ethnicity in archaeology. (hus, for e"ample, the %detanians are described around the third century *4, as possessing a very characteristic type of pottery, the +ima pottery, and through the absence of figurines in sanctuaries. >  (his allows them to assign to this group a territory on a wide coastal strip between the rivers CDcar and i7ares &199052>>'. (he *astetanians are defined by the presence of funerary bo"es, chamber tombs and imitations of Athenian craters in a specific territory &19905 )ig. 9'. A final e"ample will suffice. In the case of the fifth century *4 sculpture group from the site of :orcuna, the soldiers represented are considered to belong to the same ethnic unit, because all wear and use the same armour and weapons &ui odr/gue 199$51=2'. @  (he discussion of whether the diagnostic types selected by the authors to define each of the groups are appropriate or not is an issue that has occupied archaeologists from the 192s. (he debate is an easy one to set in motion, as in all cases there is an une3ual treatment of the different elements of material culture. Archaeologists usually select those features - diagnostic types - which fit their hypotheses. ;hereas %detanians are defined by the +ima pottery, funerary bo"es are used in the case of the *astetanians. sing this e"ample, two criticisms could be made. (he first is that the features selected might not have anything to do with ethnicity. )or e"ample, the +ima pottery seems to be the product of a few generations of potters, and its distribution could have more to do with elite e"change routes than with ethnicity &see pp. 2$-210'. In the case of the funerary bo"es, their distribution could be more related to a religious practice than to ethnicity, but neither trade nor religion are discussed in this conte"t by the authors. 6ther interpretations other than trade and religion could be suggested, and various authors have widely discussed this issue on a more general basis &see  Eones 199$51=-9 for an overview'. Archaeologists are ill-prepared to distinguish which identity is the appropriate one to interpret a particular distribution. (he authors seem to depend too much on the information obtained from the written sources, to such an e"tent that they seem to dictate archaeological research. (his second criticism can also be e"trapolated to other protohistorical and historical archaeological studies of ethnicity. *ecause there is nothing per se in the archaeological record which clearly points to ethnicity, the way to overcome this difficulty is to attempt to arrange the archaeological data in order to 7ustify the written sources. (hus, the relationship between the use of the classical sources and the archaeological ones is unbalanced. I would argue that the potential of archaeological data is undervalued. Archaeology is
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