Thirty-six Atlantic flesh-hooks are documented, classified and discussed after critical evaluation of previously identified examples and the addition of new ones. A chronological progression is shown from the more simple classes to the more complex from 1300 to 800 cal BC, but even the latter examples begin as early as c.1100 cal BC. Although highly distinctive, the Atlantic series derives ultimately from similar hooked instruments to the east and newly recognized Sicilian examples introduce an alternative path of dissemination from the more usually accepted intermediary route of the Urnfield culture. The rarity of flesh-hooks is striking and understanding of their social role needs to take into account not only their marked individuality in terms of technological construction or iconographic features, but also their relationship to other contemporary prestige feasting gear. The distributions of flesh-hooks and rotary spits are mutually exclusive over most of Atlantic Europe; thus, not only did they function differently at a practical level, but also at an ideological one. On the other hand, flesh-hooks and cauldrons have very similar distributions but they have a paucity of direct associations. Rather than implying a limited functional relationship, this is interpreted as resulting from their different symbolic meanings and thus different depositional practices. The zoomorphic imagery encountered on Atlantic spits and occasionally on flesh-hooks is found to be unique to each instrument and thus seen to contrast with that of the Urnfield world, suggesting the signalling of tribal or clan identity rather than an over-arching symbolism.