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Based on social complexity theory a model of locally constituted Iron Age central and western European societies is developed. Such societies evolve individually different, yet statistically similar. Using archaeological, historical and linguistic sources it is demonstrated how the individual experiences with the social environment and the constraints and necessities set by the natural environment shape similar social structures. Particularly in societies speaking closely related (Celtic) languages, similar social and political patterns emerge. Following a short introduction to the theoretical foundations and a discussion of the current state of the art in Iron Age social history, the first part of this study discusses the immediate and wider social environment. The structure of the household and the family are examined, which will have defined the early childhood experiences. Child education by fosterage, neighbourhood relations, contracts and the influence of countrymen and foreigners/guests are discussed, probably a significant part of later childhood experiences. Then, the main Iron Age professions and how they influenced social experiences are examined. The second part of the study deals with social differentiation. It is discussed how the social value of any person would have been determined. The status of dependent, independent and privileged (because of their abilities or social functions) members of society is examined. The third part discusses methods to exert social pressure and means of social integration. The fourth part examines how political structures are a function of social interdependencies as deduced from the model. Finally, these different aspects are drawn together to construct an idealised general description of Iron Age Celtic social systems. An extensive bibliography, a detailed glossary and a schematic diagram of the basics of ancient Celtic social structures concludes the study. German Text.
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