Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-m9kch Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-06-12T10:02:07.925Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

More Circe than Cassandra:1 The Princess of Vix in ritualized social context

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  25 January 2017

Christopher J. Knüsel*
Affiliation:
Calvin Wells Laboratory, University of Bradford, UK

Abstract

Ritual and ritual specialists have often been dissociated from power in the writings of prehistorians and archaeologists. From ethnographic and ethnohistoric accounts, however, ritual specialists often exert disproportionate control over the maintenance, manipulation, and elaboration of social codes and practices. Their roles in ritual practice (orthopraxy in non-literate societies) and its effect on decision-making accord them considerable social and political importance. Due to this involvement they become the targets of ritual sanctions that include punitive rites, ritualized deaths, and suppression during periods of rapid social change, both from within their own societies and from without. The present article derives from a re-analysis of the Vix (Côte-d'Or, Burgundy) human skeletal remains, specifically with reference to the age, sex and health status of the interred individual. An evaluation of the social roles of this so-called ‘Princess’ is then attempted, integrating this biological information with that derived from a consideration of the grave inclusions and their imagery in the context of competitive feasting and social change in the late Hallstatt period.

Les préhistoriens de même que les archéologues dissocient fréquemment du pouvoir le domaine du rituel et ses spécialistes. D'un point de vue ethnographique et ethnohistorique par contre, les spécialistes du rituel exercent souvent un contrôle disproportionné sur le maintien, la manipulation et l'élaboration de codes et pratiques sociaux. Leur rôle dans la pratique rituelle (Orthopraxie dans les sociétés illettrées) et son effet sur la prise de décisions leur accordent une grande importance sociale et politique. Par cette implication, ils deviennent la cible de sanctions rituelles qui incluent rites punitifs, morts ritualisées et oppression durant les périodes de rapides changements sociaux, aussi bien au sein de leur société que de l'extérieur. Cet article traite d'une nouvelle analyse des restes du squelette humain de Vix (Côte d'Or, Bourgogne), plus précisément en ce qui concerne l'âge, le sexe et l'état de santé de l'individu enterré. On essaie ensuite d'évaluer le rôle social de cette soi-disant «princesse», ajoutant ces informations biologiques à celles obtenues à partir des objets funéraires et de leur imagerie, ceci dans le contexte du changement social survenu à la fin de l'époque de Hallstatt.

Zusammenfassung

Zusammenfassung

Rituale und Ritual-Spezialisten sind in den Schriften von Prähistorikern und Archäologen oft von der Macht getrennt worden. Nach ethnographischen und ethnohistorischen Gesichtspunkten zeigen die Praktizierenden der Rituale aber oft überproportionale Kontrolle über die Aufrechterhaltung, Beeinflussung und Ausarbeitung sozialer Codes und Praktiken. Ihre Rolle in der rituellen Praxis (‘Orthopraxis’ in den schriftlosen Gesellschaften) und deren Effekt auf die Entscheidungsfindung weisen ihnen beträchtliche soziale und politische Bedeutung zu. Wegen dieser Beteiligung werden sie – innerhalb als auch ausserhalb ihrer Gesellschaften – während Perioden rapider sozialer Veränderungen zum Ziel ritueller Sanktionen, die Bestrafungsriten, ritualisierte Tode oder andere Formen der Unterdrückung einschliessen.

Die vorliegende Studie geht aus der erneuten Analyse der menschlichen Skelettreste von Vix (Côte-d'Or, Burgund, Frankreich) unter besonderer Beachtung der Informationen zu Alter, Geschlecht und Gesundheitsstatus des beigesetzten Individuums hervor. Eine Überprüfung der sozialen Rolle der sogenannten ‘Prinzessin’ unter Einbeziehung der biologischen Daten und der Grabbeigaben sowie deren Erscheinungsbild im Kontext wettstreitender Feiern und sozialen Wandels in der späten Hallstatt-Periode kann so unternommen werden.

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © 2002 Sage Publications 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Footnotes

1

Circe, a witch, is the enchantress and seductress of Odysseus. She turned half of Odysseus’ men into pigs (Odyssey). She purified Jason and Medea with sow's blood after the murder of Apsyrtus (Graves 1981:205–208). After refusing his advances, Cassandra was given prophetic vision by the god Apollo but was simultaneously cursed in that no one would believe her prophesies (Iliad).

References

Acsadi, G. and Nemeskeri, J., 1970. History of Human Life Span and Mortality. Budapest: Akademiai Kiado.Google Scholar
Anthony, D.W., Telegin, D.Y. and Brown, D., 1991. The origin of horseback riding. Scientific American December:44–48A.Google Scholar
Arnold, B., 1991. The deposed Princess of Vix: the need for an engendered European prehistory. In Walde, D. and Willows, N. (eds), The Archaeology of Gender: Proceedings of the 22nd Chacmool Conference: 366374. Calgary: The Archaeological Association of the University of Calgary.Google Scholar
Arnold, B., 1995. ‘Honorary males’ or women of substance? Gender, status, and power in Iron-Age Europe. Journal of European Archaeology 3(2):153168.Google Scholar
Aston, J.N., 1976. A Short Textbook of Orthopaedics and Traumatology (Second Edition). London: Unibooks, Hodder and Stoughton.Google Scholar
Aufderheide, A.C. and Rodríquez-Martin, C., 1998. The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Human Paleopathology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Beard, M., 1996. The Roman and the foreign: the cult of the ‘Great Mother’ in Imperial Rome. In Thomas, N. and Humphrey, C. (eds), Shamanism, History, and the State: 164190. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
Bede, The Venerable, 1930. Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum (History of the English Church and People). Translated by King, J.E. Loeb Classical Library, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
Benoît, F., 1975. The Celtic oppidum of Entremont, Provence. In Bruce-Mitford, R. (ed.), Recent Archaeological Excavations in Europe: 227259. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
Bergquist, A. and Taylor, T., 1987. The origin of the Gundestrup cauldron. Antiquity 61:1024.Google Scholar
Biel, J., 1982. Ein Fürstengrabhugel der späten Hallstattzeit bei Eberdingen-Hochdorf, Kr. Ludwigsburg (Baden-Württemberg). Germania 60:61104.Google Scholar
Biel, J., 1997. Le Hohenasperg et l'Habitat de Hochdorf. In Brun, P. and Chaume, B. (eds), Vix et les Éphémères Principautés Celtiques: Les VIe-Ve siècles avant J.C. en Europe centre-occidentale, Actes du Colloque de Châtillon-sur-Seine: 1722. Paris: Éditions Errance.Google Scholar
Bökönyi, S., 1980. La domestication du cheval. La Recherche 11:919926.Google Scholar
Bourdieu, P., 1977. Sur le pouvoire symbolique. Annales Économies, Sociétés, Civilisations 32:405411.Google Scholar
Bradley, R., 1982. The destruction of wealth in later prehistory. Man 17:108–122.Google Scholar
Bradley, R., 1987. Time regained: the creation of continuity. Journal of the British Archaeological Association 140:117.Google Scholar
Bradley, R., 1998. The Passage of Arms: An Archaeological Analysis of Prehistoric Hoard and Votive Deposits, 2nd edn. Oxford: Oxbow Books.Google Scholar
Brun, P., 1987. Princes et Princesses de la Celtique: Le Premier Age du Fer (850–450 av. J.C.). Paris: Éditions Errance.Google Scholar
Caesar, G.J., 1917. The Gallic War (De Bello Gallico). Translated by Edwards, H.J., Loeb Classical Library, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
Callender, C. and Kochems, L.M., 1983. The North American Berdache. Current Anthropology 24(4):443470.Google Scholar
Chaume, B., 1997. Vix, le Mont Lassois: état de nos connaissances sur le site princier et son environnement. In Brun, P. and Chaume, B. (eds), Vix et les Éphémères Principautés Celtiques: Les VIe-Ve siècles avant J.C. en Europe centre-occidentale, Actes du Colloque de Châtillon-sur-Seine: 185200. Paris: Éditions Errance.Google Scholar
Collis, J., 1984. The European Iron Age. London: Batsford.Google Scholar
Cunliffe, B., 1994. Iron age societies in western Europe and beyond, 800–140 BC. In Cunliffe, B. (ed.), The Oxford Illustrated Prehistory of Europe: 336372. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Dandy, D.J., 1993. Essential Orthopaedics and Trauma, 2nd edn. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone.Google Scholar
Davidson, H.R. Ellis, 1993. The Lost Beliefs of Northern Europe. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
Demarrais, E., Castillo, L.J. and Earle, T., 1996. Ideology, materialization, and power strategies. Current Anthropology 37(1):1531.Google Scholar
Devereux, G., 1961. Shamans as neurotics. American Anthropologist 63(5):10881093.Google Scholar
Deyts, S., 1994. Un Peuple de Pélerins: Offrandes de Pierre et de Bronze des Sources de la Seine. Dijon: Revue Archéologique de l'Est et du Centre-est, 13th Supplement.Google Scholar
Dietler, M., 1990. Driven by drink: the role of drinking in the political economy and the case of early Iron Age Europe. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 9:352406.Google Scholar
Dietler, M., 1995. The Cup of Gyptis: rethinking the colonial encounter in early-Iron-Age western Europe and the relevance of world-systems model. Journal of European Archaeology 3(2):89111.Google Scholar
Dietler, M., 1997. The Iron Age in Mediterranean France: colonial encounters, entanglements, and transformations. Journal of World Prehistory 11:269358.Google Scholar
Djakonova, V.P., 1978. The vestments and paraphernalia of a Tuva shamaness. In Diòszegi, V. and Hoppál, M. (eds), Shamanism in Siberia: 325339, trans. Simon, S. Budapest: Akadémiai Kiado.Google Scholar
Dunham, S.B., 1995. Caesar's perception of Gallic social structures. In Arnold, B. and Blair Gibson, D. (eds), Celtic Chiefdom, Celtic State: 110115. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Egg, M. and France-Lanord, A., 1987. Le Char de Vix. Mainz: Verlag des Römisch-Germanishen Zentralmuseums in Kommission bei Dr. Rudolf Habelt GMBH, Bonn.Google Scholar
Ehrenberg, M., 1989. Women in Prehistory. London: British Museum Press.Google Scholar
Eliade, M., 1964. Shamanism: Archaic Forms of Ecstasy, Trans. Trask, W.R. Harmondsworth: Arkana.Google Scholar
Ferguson, G., 1961. Signs and Symbols in Christian Art. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Fischer, F., 1995. The early Celts of west central Europe: the semantics of social structure. In Arnold, B. and Blair Gibson, D. (eds), Celtic Chiefdom, Celtic State: 3440. Translated by Arnold, B. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Fisher, R., 1992. Contact and Conflict: Indian-European Relations in British Columbia, 1774–1890. Vancouver: UBC Press.Google Scholar
Fleck, J., 1971. The knowledge-criterion in the Grímnismál: the case against shamanism. Arkiv for Nordisk Filologi 86:4965.Google Scholar
Frankenstein, S. and Rowlands, M.J., 1978. The internal structure and regional context of early Iron Age society in south-western Germany. Institute of Archaeology Bulletin, University of London 15:73112.Google Scholar
Glosecki, S.O., 1989. Shamanism and Old English Poetry. New York and London: Garland Publishing.Google Scholar
Goguey, R., 1997. Vix: données de l'archéologie aérienne sur le site et son environnement. In Brun, P. and Chaume, B. (eds), Vix et les Éphémères Principautés Celtiques: Les VIe-Ve siècles avant J.C. en Europe centre-occidentale, Actes du Colloque de Châtillon-sur-Seine: 179184. Paris: Éditions Errance.Google Scholar
Gosden, C., 1985. Gifts and kin in early Iron Age Europe. Man (N.S.) 20:475493.Google Scholar
Grant, M., 1989. Myths of the Greeks and Romans. London: Phoenix Giant.Google Scholar
Graves, R., 1981. The Greek Myths. London: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
Green, M., 1995. Celtic Godesses: Warriors, Virgins, and Mothers. London: British Museum Press.Google Scholar
Green, M., 1998. Humans as ritual victims in the later prehistory of western Europe. Oxford Journal of Archaeology 17(2):169189.Google Scholar
Hamayon, R.N., 1996. Shamanism in Siberia: from partnership in supernature to counter-power in society. In Thomas, N. and Humphrey, C. (eds), Shamanism, History, and the State: 7689. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
Hayden, B., 1990. Nimrods, piscators, pluckers and planters: the emergence of food production. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 9:3169.Google Scholar
Heath, P., 1969. The English Parish Clergy on the Eve of the Reformation. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
Herodotus, 1987. The History. Translated by Grene, David Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
Hillson, S., 1996. Dental Anthropology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Hoppál, M., 1992a. Traces of Shamanism in Hungarian folk beliefs. In Siikala, A-L. and Hoppál, M. (eds), Studies on Shamanism: 156165. Helsinki and Budapest: Finnish Anthropological Society and Académiai Kiadó.Google Scholar
Hoppál, M., 1992b. Shamanism: an archaic and/or recent system of beliefs. In Siikala, A-L. and Hoppál, M. (eds), Studies on Shamanism: 117131. Helsinki and Budapest: Finnish Anthropological Society and Académiai Kiadó.Google Scholar
Hugh-Jones, S., 1996. Shamans, prophets, priests, and pastors. In Thomas, N. and Humphrey, C. (eds), Shamanism, History, and the State: 3275. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
Humphrey, C. with, Urgunge, Onon, 1996. Shamans and Elders: Experience, Knowledge, and Power among the Daur Mongols. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Hutton, R., 1991. The Pagan Religions of the Ancient British Isles: Their Nature and Legacy. Oxford and Cambridge: Blackwell.Google Scholar
Joffroy, R., 1958. Les sépultures à char du Premier Age du Fer en France. Paris: A. et J. Picard et Cie.Google Scholar
Joffroy, R., 1960. L'Oppidum de Vix et La Civilisation Hallstattienne Finale. Paris: Société les Belles Lettres.Google Scholar
Joffroy, R., 1979. Vix et ses Trésors. Paris: Librairie Jules Tallandier.Google Scholar
Joffroy, R., 1983. La Tombe Princière de Vix (Cote-D'Or). Châtillon-sur-Seine: Imprimerie Boudrot.Google Scholar
Kehoe, A.B., 2000. Shamans and Religions: An Anthropological Exploration in Critical Thinking. Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland Press, Inc. Google Scholar
Kiliaridis, S., 1995. Masticatory muscle influence on craniofacial growth. Acta Odontologica Scandinavica 53:196202.Google Scholar
Kirch, P., 1991. Chiefship and competitive involution: the Marquesas Islands of eastern Polynesia. In Earle, T. (ed.), Chiefdoms: Power, Economy and Ideology: 119145. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Knüsel, C.J., forthcoming. Of crystal balls, political power, and changing contexts: what the clever women of Salerno inherited. In Baker, P. and Carr, G.C. (eds), New Approaches to Medical Archaeology and Anthropology. Oxford: Oxbow Books.Google Scholar
Knüsel, C.J. and Ripley, K.M., 2000. The Man-Woman or ‘Berdache’ in Anglo-Saxon England and Post-Roman Europe. In Frazer, W. and Tyrrell, A. (eds), Social Identity in Early Medieval Britain: 157191. Leicester: Leicester University Press.Google Scholar
Kristiansen, K., 1998. Europe Before History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Krogman, W.M. and Iscan, M.Y., 1986. The Human Skeleton in Forensic Medicine. Second Edition. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas.Google Scholar
Lane, W.A., 1886. Some variations in the human skeleton. Journal of Anatomy and Physiology 22:593628.Google Scholar
Langlois, R., n.d. Étude des os longs de la Dame de Vix: estimation de sa taille à partir du fémur gauche. Unpublished manuscript.Google Scholar
Langlois, R., 1987. Le visage de la Dame de Vix. In Trésors des Princes Celtes: 212216. Paris: Galeries Nationales de Grand Palais.Google Scholar
Lucke, W., and Frey, O.-H., 1962. Die Situla in Providence (Rhode Island). Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.Google Scholar
Lvova, L., 1978. On the shamanism of the Chulym Turks. In Diòszegi, V. and Hoppál, M. (eds), Shamanism in Siberia: 237244. Translated by Simon., S. Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó.Google Scholar
Mauss, M., 1990 (1950). The Gift: The Form and Reason for Exchange in Archaic Societies, Trans. Halls, W.D. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
McNamara, E., 1990. The Etruscans. London: The British Museum Press.Google Scholar
Meaney, A., 1981. Anglo-Saxon Amulets and Curing Stones. Oxford: British Archaeological Reports (British Series 96).Google Scholar
Megaw, J.V.S., 1966. The Vix burial. Antiquity XL:3844.Google Scholar
Olivier, L., 1999. The Hochdorf ‘princely’ grave and the question of the nature of archaeological funerary assemblages. In Murray, T. (ed.) Archaeology and Time: 109138. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
Palavestra, A., 1994. Prehistoric trade and a cultural model for princely tombs in the central Balkans. In Kristiansen, K. and Jensen, J. (eds), Europe in the First Millennium B.C.: 4556. Sheffield: J.R. Collis Publications.Google Scholar
Pare, C., 1989. From Dupljaja to Delphi: the ceremonial use of the wagon in later prehistory. Antiquity 63(238):80100.Google Scholar
Pare, C., 1991. Fürstensitze, Celts and the Mediterranean world: developments in the West Hallstatt culture in the 6th and 5th centuries BC. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 57(2):183202.Google Scholar
Pare, C., 1992. Wagons and Wagon-Graves of the Early Iron Age in Central Europe. Oxford: Oxford University Committee for Archaeology Monograph No. 35.Google Scholar
Parker Pearson, M., and Ramilisonina, , 1998. Stonehenge for the ancestors: the stones pass on the message. Antiquity 72:308326.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Pauli, L., 1975. Keltischer Volksglaube: Amulette und Sonderbestattungen am Dürrnberg bei Hallein und im Eisenzeitlichen Mitteleuropa. München: C.H. Beck Verlagsbuchhandlung.Google Scholar
Pauli, L., 1981. Die Alpen in Frühzeit und Mittelalter. München: Verlag C.H. Beck.Google Scholar
Pauli, L., 1994. Case studies in Celtic archaeology. In Kristiansen, K. and Jensen, J. (eds), Europe in the First Millennium B.C.: 6779. Sheffield: J.R. Collis Publications.Google Scholar
Picard, C.H., 1955. Le diadème d'or de Vix: pavots et Pégases. Revue Archéologique 45:4953.Google Scholar
Piggott, S., 1962. Heads and hoofs. Antiquity 36:110118.Google Scholar
Piggott, S., 1975. The Druids. London: Thames and Hudson.Google Scholar
Richardson, E., 1966. Etruscan Sculptures. Milan: Collins and Fontana Unesco Art Books.Google Scholar
Rogers, B., 1980. The Domestication of Women: Discrimination in Developing Societies. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
Roscoe, W., 1994. How to become a Berdache: Toward a unified analysis of gender diversity. In Herdt, G. (ed.), Third Sex, Third Gender: Beyond Sexual Dimorphism in Culture and History: 329372. New York: Zone Books.Google Scholar
Ross, A., 1967. Pagan Celtic Britain. London: Cardinal.Google Scholar
Saunders, N.J., 1995. Animal Spirits: The Shared World, Sacrifice, Ritual, Myth, Animal Souls and Symbols. London and Basingstoke: Duncan Baird Publishing.Google Scholar
Sauter, M.R., 1980. Sur le sexe de la ‘Dame de Vix’ (Côte-D'Or). L'Anthropologie (Paris) 84(1):89113.Google Scholar
Schaeffer, F.A., 1926. Les Tertres Funéraires Préhistoriques dans le Forêt de Hagenau I. Les Tumulus de l'Age du Bronze. Hagenau: Imprimerie de la Ville.Google Scholar
Schutz, H., 1983. The Prehistory of Germanic Europe. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
Siikala, A.-L., 1992a. Shamanic themes in Finnish Epic Poetry. In Siikala, A-L. and Hoppál, M. (eds), Studies on Shamanism: 8187. Helsinki and Budapest: Finnish Anthropological Society and Académiai Kiadó.Google Scholar
Siikala, A-L., 1992b. The interpretation of Siberian and Central Asian shamanism. In Siikala, A-L. and Hoppál, M. (eds), Studies on Shamanism: 1525. Helsinki and Budapest: Finnish Anthropological Society and Académiai Kiadó.Google Scholar
Siikala, A-L., 1992c. Siberian and inner Asian shamanism. In Siikala, A-L. and Hoppál, M. (eds), Studies on Shamanism: 114. Helsinki and Budapest: Finnish Anthropological Society and Académiai Kiadó.Google Scholar
Skinner, M.F., Barkley, J. and Carlson, R.L., 1989. Cranial asymmetry and muscular torticollis in prehistoric Northwest Coast Natives from British Columbia (Canada). Journal of Paleopathology 3(1):1934.Google Scholar
Sokolova, Z.P., 1989. A survey of Ob-Ugrian shamanism. In Hoppál, M. and von Sadovsky, O.J. (eds), Shamanism: Past and Present: 155164. Budapest, Los Angeles/Fullerton: ISTOR Books.Google Scholar
Spindler, K., 1983. Die Frühen Kelten. Stuttgart: Reclam.Google Scholar
Strabo, 1924. Geography. Translated by Horace, Leonard Jones. Loeb Classical Library. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
Tacitus, C., 1970. Germania, Trans. Hutton, E.M. and revised by Warmington, E.H. Loeb Classical Library, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
Tacitus, C., 1971. The Annals of Imperial Rome, Trans. Michael, Grant. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
Tacitus, C., 1986. The Histories, Trans. Kenneth, Wellesley. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
Thomas, N. and Humphrey, C., 1996. Introduction. In Thomas, N. and Humphrey, C. (eds), Shamanism, History, and the State: 112. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
Tierney, B. and Painter, S., 1978. Western Europe in the Middle Ages: 3001475. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.Google Scholar
Turner, V, 1995. The Ritual Process: Structure and Anti-Structure. New York: Aldine de Gruyter.Google Scholar
Vitebsky, P., 1995. The Shaman: Voyages of the Soul, Trance, Ecstasy and Healing from Siberia to the Amazon. London: Duncan Baird Publishers.Google Scholar
Walsh, R., 1989. What is a shaman? Definition, origin and distribution. The Journal of Transpersonal Psychology 21(1):111.Google Scholar
Wells, P., 1995. Identities, material culture, and change: ‘Celts’ and ‘Germans’ in late-Iron-Age Europe. Journal of European Archaeology 3(2):169185.Google Scholar
Winkelman, M.J., 1990. Shamans and other magico-religious healers: a cross-cultural study of their origins, nature, and social transformations. Ethos 18(3):308352.Google Scholar