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Répartition, à l'âge du Fer, des crânes humains retrouvés près de leurs lieux d'exposition (porte de ville, piliers…) ou de fragments épars de calotte crânienne dispersés dans l'habitat.

En noir, les crânes humains exposés.

Répartition, à l'âge du Fer, des crânes humains retrouvés près de leurs lieux d'exposition (porte de ville, piliers…) ou de fragments épars de calotte crânienne dispersés dans l'habitat.

En orange, les éléments de crânes épars.

The ancestor cult

The Celtic belief in the survival of the “superior” spirit (located in the skull) and its potential reincarnation, as well in divinatory practices, favored the development during the southern Iron Age of rituals associated with ancestor relics.

Those considered to be the most remarkable were raised to the status of hero with a direct link to the gods. In addition, the recounting of their stories and glorification of their power,
transmitted by chants of bards, created a powerful social cement among the still relatively
mobile communities.

…used to the advantage of the aristrocracy

The southern Protohistoric peoples of the second Iron Age were directed by an elite class, followed by a truly aristocratic class, from which the priestly class emerged. The use of such beliefs for the benefit of the great lineages became one of their cultural characteristics.

Here, more than elsewhere in Gaul, the power of this phenomenon led very early to a desire to perpetuate the practice in stone. Engraved and sculpted figurations developed essentially in the lower Rhone Valley and Western France. Entremont is the best example.