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‘Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble’: Iron Age and Early Roman Cauldrons of Britain and Ireland



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jats:pjats:disp-quotejats:p‘A man can live to 50 but a cauldron will live to 100’ – Old Kazakh saying</jats:p></jats:disp-quote></jats:p>jats:pThis paper presents a re-examination of Iron Age and early Roman cauldrons, a little studied but important artefact class that have not been considered as a group since the unpublished study of Loughran of 1989. Cauldrons are categorised into two broad types (projecting-bellied and globular) and four groups. New dating evidence is presented, pushing the dating of these cauldrons back to the 4th centuryjats:scbc</jats:sc>. A long held belief that cauldrons are largely absent from Britain and Ireland between 600 and 200jats:scbc</jats:sc>is also challenged through this re-dating and the identification of cauldrons dating from 600–400jats:scbc</jats:sc>. Detailed examination of the technology of manufacture and physical evidence of use and repair indicates that cauldrons are technically accomplished objects requiring great skill to make. Many have been extensively repaired, showing they were in use for some time. It is argued that owing to their large capacity cauldrons were not used every day but were instead used at large social gatherings, specifically at feasts. The social role of feasting is explored and it is argued that cauldrons derive much of their significance from their use at feasts, making them socially powerful objects, likely to be selected for special deposition.</jats:p>



4301 Archaeology, 43 History, Heritage and Archaeology

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Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society

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Cambridge University Press (CUP)