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CHAPTER 3 - ‘Sacred Image and Regional Identity in Late-Prehistoric Norfolk’

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 April 2013

T. A. Heslop
Affiliation:
University of East Anglia
Elizabeth Mellings
Affiliation:
University of East Anglia
Margit Thøfner
Affiliation:
University of East Anglia
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Summary

INTRODUCTION

This paper will describe some of the ways in which the pre-Roman people of Norfolk in the first centuries BC and AD, known to history as Iceni, seem to have used selected symbols, sacred images and one particular ceremonial monument to express a distinctive and enduring public identity. This had roots in their deeper prehistory but also seems to have made explicit symbolic use of the natural configuration of their land. The same might safely be said of many other European peoples at this time. However, detailed investigation of clusters of disparate evidence in a specific regional context can highlight features that seem to have been unique to one particular people's self-image and values. Some such aspects of Icenian ceremonial life will be considered here.

Icenian territory readily divides into three main sub-regions (fig. 3.1). In the west, all the rivers run into the Wash and the North Sea. The north-facing sub-region had extensive wetlands and there was an important focus of Iron-Age activity around Snettisham and Fring, where the Icknield Way and a precursor of Peddars Way passed through to the coast near Hunstanton and Holme-next-the-Sea. This part of Norfolk had a highly distinctive cultural identity in later prehistory. Episodically, from the Bronze Age onwards, this sub-region was also a focus for important votive deposits, including gold torcs and related precious metalwork in the late second to first century BC, and coins, jewellery and silverware at the end of the Roman period.

Type
Chapter
Information
Art, Faith and Place in East Anglia
From Prehistory to the Present
, pp. 30 - 49
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer
Print publication year: 2012

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