Awash in Meaning: Exploring the symbolic and ritual functions of the Iron Age bathing structures of the Iberian northwest.
Author(s): Nadya Prociuk
Unique to the northwestern corner of the Iberian Peninsula, the ceremonial baths of the Iron Age Castro Culture present an entry point for our understanding of the social and symbolic mechanisms at work in Castro society. Not found anywhere else in Iberia, the precise use and meaning of the structures remains controversial. Were they an indigenous development, or a technology borrowed from the Roman world? Was their use related to personal grooming or ritual cleansing? Located within settlements, but with a distinct architectural style and limited accessibility, these structures clearly played a role in the lives of the community, but what role was that? The most striking feature of these structures are their decorated pedras formosas, or beautiful stones, which mark the entrance of enclosed chambers. With decorations ranging from single engravings to a proliferation of motifs, the pedras formosas mark boundaries and entry points into the symbolic world of the Castro people. Through an examination of the pedras formosas I will explore the potential uses and meanings of these distinctive structures from the perspective of understanding symbolic motifs as communicators of identity at different scales, from personal to communal.
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Awash in Meaning: Exploring the symbolic and ritual functions of the Iron Age bathing structures of the Iberian northwest.. Nadya Prociuk. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 404705)
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min long: -11.074; min lat: 37.44 ; max long: 50.098; max lat: 70.845 ;