Early iron age tools from the area of modern-day Poland
We often think of the civilizations of ancient Greece and Rome as discrete incubators of Western culture, places where ideas about everything from government to art to philosophy were free to develop and then be distributed outward into the wider Mediterranean world. However, Greece and Rome did not develop in isolation.
The lands to the north of the Greek and Roman peninsulas were inhabited by non-literate communities that stretched across river valleys, mountains, plains, and shorelines from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Ural Mountains in the east. We know about them almost exclusively through archeological finds of settlements, offerings, monuments, and burials—but these remnants paint a portrait that is just as compelling as that of the great literate, urban civilizations of this time.
Archaeologist Peter Bogucki surveys the development of these groups’ cultures from the Stone Age through the collapse of the Roman Empire in the west, highlighting the increasing complexity of their societal structures, technological accomplishments, and distinct cultural practices. Focusing on several key sites, including Biskupin in Poland, Hallstatt in Austria, and Corlea in Ireland, Bogucki provides glimpses into the silent Europeans who lived during the final millennium B.C. In telling the stories of these nearly forgotten people, he offers a new dimension to how we think about classical antiquity.
Bogucki’s book The Barbarians: Lost Civilizations (Reaktion Books) is available for purchase.
Book Sale Information
Additional programs in the Lost Civilizations series
October 5 - The Aztecs
October 26 - The Sumerians
December 7 - The Indus
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