The Celts Re-examined

In her book The Celts, Professor Alice Roberts challenges what she calls the “standard model” of Celtic identity that has been reiterated in literature and textbooks. There is no evidence that the Celts originated in central Europe and expanded out to the West, she said, and she believes that history is much more nuanced than that narrative suggests.

Roberts thinks identity, both in the present and the past, should be thought of as “ripples intersecting”, not a singular and transferable “package” made up of language and material evidence, which seems to have defined the Celtic culture in contemporary narratives. She analysed a range of artefacts – from preserved graves to ornately detailed bronze jewellery - and archaeological sites, including Horchdorf in Germany and a tower of bones found in Ribemont-sur-Ancre. Roberts said that linguistic evidence may suggest that the Celtic language developed along the Atlantic coasts, not in central Europe. as the dominant narrative has suggested.

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