Publication de la thèse de Silvia Alfayé : “Santuarios y rituales en la Hispania céltica” (octobre 2009)
ALFAYE VILLA Silvia, Santuarios y Rituales en la Hispania Céltica, BAR IS no. 1963, 2009, 583 p., 492 maps, plans, figures, drawings ands photographs
This volume is a study of later Iberian prehistory and contributes to our understanding of the range of religious beliefs and practices present in the Celtic-speaking world. The author has brought together a huge mass of data and has added to it the results of her own careful observations through fieldwork and museum studies. It offers, for the first time, a balanced review of a data-set of crucial interest in the study of European pre and protohistory. Dr Alfayé presents her results at several levels. There is an overview of earlier perceptions of sacrificial stones and altars presented in the context of developing visions of Celts and Druids beginning in the seventeenth century. There follows an in-depth study of one of the most extensively excavated hill top settlements Numancia a site which presents a microcosm of the issues involved in attempting to use raw archaeological evidence to interpret human behaviour. In addition there is a detailed assessment of urban and domestic sanctuaries and votive deposits; a detailed consideration of cave sanctuaries; and studies of votive metalwork, of the enigmatic verracos, of epigraphy from sanctuaries and or ritual artefacts. The book also includes a detailed study of romanoceltic terracotta figurines from this area. The research has been conducted, analysed, and presented in the full knowledge of the much broader context of Celtic religion. Sylvia Alfayé’s new and original study of the religious beliefs and practices of Celtic Iberia helps us to address the crucial question of just how deep the roots of Iberian practices of the later first millennium BC run, and how much is shared with the broader region of Western Europe.