Controlling Celtic Pasts: the production of nationalism in popular British archaeology of Celtic peoples

Nicholas Christopher Cole Healey


A textual analysis of four widely distributed books addressing Celtic peoples and intended for a general audience by prominent British archaeologists was conducted to examine how these materials enable the imagination of nations into the past. The analysed texts are argued to variously enable and inhibit differing forms of British Unionist, Celtic and European integrationist nationalisms by alternately projecting Celtic identities into the primordial past or erasing Celtic histories. This research calls attention to the need for archaeologists to engage with the political ramifications of their work and provides a basis for future research examining the contexts of archaeological knowledge production and consumption in their relationship to nationalism.


The Celts; nationalism; identity; archaeology; discourse

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