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One of the most intriguing questions researchers hope to answer is whether Celtic art had links into the wider Eurasian world. Until now, this material has mainly been analysed in terms of its European stylistic development, but the research team is now broadening its scope to look at the relationship between Celtic art and Iron Age art in the Eurasian steppe. They will be looking at a group of artefacts in excavations and museum collections that are traditionally described as ‘Celtic’ because of their use of spirals, circles, interlaced designs, or swirling representations of plants or animals.
One main line of enquiry is the relationship between the central European Celts and their nomadic Eurasian neighbours (often referred to as Scythians or Sarmatians), who inhabited the European end of a grassland (steppe) corridor that stretched east towards Central Asia and China. Longstanding routes of communication across these semi-deserts and steppes, which later formed part of the Silk Road, are known to have played a significant role in earlier artistic and cultural exchanges between East and West.