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No one is even sure where the term "Celtic" comes from.
With a great deal of inconsistency, classical sources provide tantalizing but incomplete information about the peoples called by the Romans.
The only written records of their civilization are the texts left by classical authors, the first of which appear circa 500 BCE.
These accounts, inaccurate as they may be, are important in that they demonstrate that the Celts came into cultural contact, and sometimes competition, with the Greeks as well as the Romans.
Brooches that held closed the openings of dresses and plaids were another common feature of Celtic dress.
Gallic men commonly spiked their hair and bleached it to an almost white color with chalky water, and wore their beards long, while the Bretons and Picts tattooed their arms and faces with blue.
Because of the authority of the classical authors, these ancient misconceptions were pervasive.
The Celtic people have mystified anthropologists and historians for generations.
They were a non literate culture whose history and literature was preserved through oral tradition.
Modern nationalist writers such as William Butler Yeats in Ireland and Sir Walter Scott in Scotland used such idealized portraits as the basis of a new pan-Celtic movement that offered resistance to the modernization and imperialism of Victorian Britain.
There are three types of evidence from the Iron Age through the Roman period available to archeologists and scholars of Celtic history.