The Warrior of Lattes: An Iron Age Statue Discovered in Mediterranean France

By Dietler, Michael; Py, Michel | Antiquity, December 2003 | Go to article overview

The Warrior of Lattes: An Iron Age Statue Discovered in Mediterranean France


Dietler, Michael, Py, Michel, Antiquity


A distinctive series of human sculptural representations found at Iron Age sites in Mediterranean France over the past century has occupied an important place in broader discussions of "Celtic" art, religion, and colonial encounters and cultural entanglements in Western Europe (cf. Py 1990, 1993; Arcelin et al. 1992; Dietler 1997; Megaw & Megaw 2001). Moreover, images of these statues appear in virtually every popular book or general scholarly synthesis on "the Celts". This is both because these statues constitute the richest source of indigenous self-representation found in any Celtic-speaking region of Europe prior to the Roman conquest, and because they appear to offer many tantalising clues toward understanding regional subtleties in various cultural practices, self-image and identity, status iconography, and cross-cultural consumption. However, very few of these works have actually been recovered from secure, precisely dated archaeological contexts using modern excavation techniques.

This article provides a preliminary consideration of a very recent addition to this group of sculptures: a life-size stone statue of a warrior discovered during the excavation of the ancient town of Lattara (modern Lattes) on the Mediterranean coast of France, about 8km south of Montpellier, in the Herault Department of Languedoc (Figure 1). Although the excavation of the zone from which the statue was recovered is still in its early stages, it was thought useful to present immediately a description of this Iron Age sculpture because of the interest of the piece itself, its archaeological context, and the questions it raises in several domains. Equally relevant is the fact that the group of statues from Languedoc is, curiously, far less well known in the non-Francophone literature than is the somewhat different Provenqal group from the other side of the Rh6ne River, which is often treated as typical for southern France as a whole. It should be emphasised that the statue itself has not yet been subjected to the full range of technical analyses that will be undertaken to complement the contextual and descriptive information offered here. Hence, this brief note should be considered as a preliminary set of observations.

[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]

Circumstances and context of discovery

The statue was discovered as a reused architectural element in an Iron Age domestic structure of which the surface outline had been identified during the 2001 campaign of a long-term program of urban landscape topography at the site of Lattes. The excavation of the structure began in July 2002.

This house, constituting Zone 52 of the site (Figure 1), is one of the largest buildings yet identified in the pre-Roman town. It is situated between the internal facade of the southern rampart and, on the north, street 116, one of the major axes of circulation, which runs parallel to the rampart. It covers a surface of about 640 [m.sup.2] and has a large internal courtyard (Sector 11). Access to the central courtyard of the structure was through a wide passageway (Sector 10) paved with pebbles and having an axial stone-lined gutter designed to drain rainwater accumulating in the courtyard into a collection basin under street 116 (Figure 2). Surrounding the courtyard were various living and storage rooms with walls of stone topped by mud-brick, the common construction technique at Lattes. Unfortunately, part of the southern wing of the house was destroyed by modern agricultural activities, and only the east, north, and west wings, and the courtyard have synchronous levels preserved.

[FIGURE 2 OMITTED]

The sculpture was discovered during the concurrent excavation of Room 5 (forming the northern facade of the house bordering Street 116) and the central courtyard (Sector 11) immediately to the south. A wide door connected the courtyard to Room 5. The reused statue served as a doorjamb along the base of the eastern side of this door, and has been reworked for this purpose (Figure 3).

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Warrior of Lattes: An Iron Age Statue Discovered in Mediterranean France
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.