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Celts, Northwestern Spain, historical anthropology, proto-history, Indo-Europeans

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The aim of this article is to present a synthetic overview of the state of knowledge regarding the Celtic cultures in the northwestern Iberian Peninsula. It reviews the difficulties linked to the fact that linguists and archaeologists do not agree on this subject, and that the hegemonic view rejects the possibility that these populations can be considered Celtic. On the other hand, the examination of a range of direct sources of evidence, including literary and epigraphic texts, and the application of the method of historical anthropology to the available data, demonstrate the validity of the consideration of Celtic culture in this region, which can be described as a protohistorical society of the Late Iron Age, exhibiting a hierarchical organization based on ritually chosen chiefs whose power was based in part on economic redistribution of resources, together with a priestly elite more or less of the druidic type. However, the method applied cannot on its own answer the questions of when and how this Celtic cultural dimension of the proto-history of the northwestern Iberian Peninsula developed.