FellowPeter Ramsl
Project NameMale Identities in La Tène period cemeteries in the Middle Danube area
Host organisationInstitute of Archaeology
Duration of the project01.01.2016 - 31.12.2018

Abstract
Male Identities in La Tène period cemeteries in the Middle Danube area (MILT) Discourse on male identities in the Iron Age has been dominated by thoughts about warrior identity. Only a fraction of male bodies, however, are staged as warriors in graves. This project will explore alternative male identities. Which roles did men play in society? “Special identities” with unclear affiliation (male with “female” ring costumes, female with weapons etc.) which came along the last years, also give us the idea of multiple male identities. In this project it is planned to analyse this cases against the background of common models with the efficient tools of ranking in the field of gender analysis. A big advance is the enormous corpus of La Téne period graves resp. cemeteries in the working area of Slovakia, east Austria and Moravia. Analysing different kind of “male identities” will be an exceptional new and innovative activity, thus a big step in exploring Iron Age societies in central Europe and will bring significant improvements to European Archaeology.

Project Summary with Interim Results

 “Male Identities of La Tène Period cemeteries in the Middle Danube area”

Discourse on male identities in the Iron Age has been dominated by thoughts about warrior identity. Only a fraction of male bodies, however, are staged as warriors in graves. This project will explore alternative male identities. Which roles play men without weapons in this “Warrior societies”? Is there the same or a different status of disarmed men with finger rings made of precious metal? First of all, different life-stage identities shall be analysed like “Boy Identity”, “Adult Identity” and “Old man Identity” and as a very special – but very fascinating case “Poor man identity”. “Special identities” with unclear affiliation (male with “female” ring costumes, female with weapons etc.) which came along the last years, also give us the idea of multiple male identities. A special case are “Druid identities”, where remains of special medical-chirurgical instruments can be observed. We can also mention “Craftsmen identities”, where special tools may let us identify professions resp. reflections of it. The main objectives of this project is to analyse this cases against the background of common models with the methods of ranking and in the field of gender analysis. A big advance is the enormous corpus of La Téne period graves resp. cemeteries in the working area of Slovakia, east Austria and Moravia. Here the method of gender archaeology is to mention, which has become of very important impact to scientific research.

The work performed in the first year of the project can be described as follow:

The sample of datas of early La Tène period cemetieries at the archive of the Archaeological Institute of the SAS in Nitra. Also at Institutions in Austria, so the Naturhistorisches Museum, Prähistorische Abteilung, University of Vienna, Institute for Prehistory and Historical Archaeology, ASINOE, Depot Krems an der Donau and above all the Bundesdenkmalamt, Depot Mauerbach and the Museum Mannersdorf am Leithagebirge. The processing of the datas are in work, as planned in the worktasks.

An important point was the successful done of the organization of the planned workshop “Multiple femininities – multiple masculinities: the diversity of gendered identities in the Bronze and Iron Ages” (together with Dr. Katharina Rebay-Salisbury of the Institute for Oriental and European Archaeology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences) at Klement-Oberleis (29th-30th September 2016). 25 members of seven countries (Austria, Germany, Czech Republik, Slovenia, Croatia, Poland, Hungary) reviewed gendered social roles, their conceptualizations, and how they are attributed to later prehistoric people.

Because it is the first part of the project (which deals with sampling datas, which had been done very successful), only some results achieved so far can be named.

At the cemetery of in Oberndorf in der Ebene (Lower Austria) one special case can be mentioned with grave 102 (1982), where a 40-55 year old woman was buried with a weapon –belt, so a male marker; also at grave 9 (1982) it is not clear, that in a burial with an iron sword a male or a female individuum was buried. Also some male individuals without or only poor gravegood had been selected.

Also at the cemetery of Dubník (SK) there can be seen another special case in grave number 24, which could be a 15 to 20 years old woman with sword-belt, shield and spear (so the full panoplie). In this case, it will be necessary to verify the whole situation.

Expected results can be seen in a full analysis of the early La Tène cemeteries in East Austria, South-West Slovakia and South Moravia to see how the position and the development of male identities and the diversity of gendered lives in this iron age societies can be explained.