Celebrating the Festival of Archaeology 2022

Booking is required for this ticketed event

Takes place in the Headley Lecture Theatre at the Museum

With Prof Chris Gosden, School of European Archaeology, University of Oxford 

In this talk, join Prof Gosden to examine a selection of complex brooches, weapons, horse gear, and vessels dating from roughly 500–1 BCE. These objects are now famous due to the extravagant nature of their form, use of colour, and decoration.

These remarkable finds are some of the most evocative and enigmatic objects of later European prehistory, known as Celtic art. This discussion will be illustrated with some of these famous items.


Finely decorated Celtic sword

Finely decorated Celtic sword


The talk will start with a broad survey of material from across Europe during the later Iron Age (and their links with so-called Scythian art of the Eurasian steppe) before contrasting Celtic art with the supposedly more realistic art of Classical Greece,

This contrast of artistic styles will encourage participants to consider more closely the belief systems and sensibilities lying behind Celtic art, and which are best thought of as magical and animistic.


The event will take place online and in-person at the Ashmolean.

This event has now taken place.