Celtic Myth Podshow News

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Category: Neolithic (Page 1 of 10)

The Undreamed Region – Barrows in folklore & archaeology

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We’re very proud to bring you a special Guest post by David Taylor. He begins with a quote from Beowulf:

Draca sceal on hlaew, frod, fraetum wlanc. (The dragon shall be in the tumulus, old, rich in treasures.)

He goes on to say:

Hills, mounds and burial sites. Places which have a timeless allure. Such places can be seen and regarded as mythically liminal, a place that it is not a place. A place outside of time. A place where the living freely walk with the dead. Barrows are just such places. Archaeologically speaking, barrows or tumuli are large man made mounds of earth used for internment of the dead in Western Europe.

It is a practice which originated in the Neolithic period (c.4300 – 2000 BC). The word barrow comes from the Old English (Anglo-Saxon) word beorg, which is related to berg, which in turn means ‘mountain'(1).

The Types of Barrows

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Irish Heritage Survey results

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The Irish people have just undertaken a survey whose results were released to coincide with National Heritage week. The results are somewhat surprising. Chief among the Irish heritage locations and landmarks respondents were most embarrassed at not having yet visited was the Hill of Tara. Listeners to our stories know how central and important the Hill of Tara is to the Heritage of the Irish Celts. The three most important sites voted for were Newgrange, the Burren and Glendalough in Co. Wicklow.

The Irish Times Heritage Survey

The Irish Times – Friday, August 26, 2011, reported:

The three most popular heritage sites are Newgrange Co Meath, the Burren in Co Clare and Glendalough in Co Wicklow.

That is according to a new survey released to coincide with National Heritage week.
However, while 450 of the 600 people interviewed claimed heritage was important for tourism, many respondents expressed some shame at not having visited popular sites.

Irish People embarrassed

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Thornborough Henges: How YOU can help preserve them with a few words

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The Heritage Trust Blog reports : CAMPAIGNERS say allowing people access to a set of ancient monuments in North Yorkshire whose importance is said to rival Stonehenge is crucial to safeguarding their future. The Thornborough Heritage Trust has been set up to protect and raise awareness of the six “henges” and other Neolithic and Bronze Age sites on fields between Bedale and Ripon, with one of its first  objectives being to open them up to visitors.Dr Jan Harding, one of the trust’s founders and a senior archaeology lecturer at Newcastle University, said:

Despite being of unique cultural value and being described by English Heritage as the most important prehistoric site between Stonehenge and the Orkneys, it is closed to visitors, lacks educational information and sits in an extensively quarried landscape. At the moment, there isn’t even a display board. Getting some kind of formal access for the public is vital.”

It’s a while since we at Heritage Action went there (as part of our campaign against Tarmac PLC’s application to quarry its surroundings) but we do recall it was very visitor-unfriendly with no signage, parking or access. We also remember two more things that might be helpful:

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Celtic Research exploring Celtic Origins reaches its third year!

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The ‘Ancient Britain and the Atlantic Zone’ project, based at the University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies at Aberystwyth, held its third annual forum at the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff on Saturday 4 June. So reads the ground-breaking news from the University of Wales.

An audience of over a hundred heard experts presenting cutting-edge Celtic research in the fields of archaeology, genetics and linguistics. Project leader Professor John Koch began by setting out the implications of his ground-breaking work on the Tartessian inscriptions of the south-west Iberian Peninsula, dating back as far as the 8th century BC, which he argues to be the earliest attested Celtic language.

Tartessian Language provides key to Celtic Research

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Scottish Celtic Sweat Lodge – Sauna saved and re-built

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News at the Scotsman.com reports pic that a Bronze Age structure thought to have been used as a Celtic sweat lodge has been saved from destruction by the sea after a team of archaeologists moved the entire find to a safer location. The building, which dates from between 1500BC and 1200BC, was unearthed on the Shetland island of Bressay eight years ago. It was found in the heart of the Burnt Mound at Cruester, a Bronze Age site on the coast of Bressay facing Lerwick.

But earlier this summer (2008), because of the increased threat of coastal erosion, local historians joined archaeologists to launch a campaign to save the building and to move it somewhere safer. A third of the mound had already been lost to sea erosion.

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Archaeologist Tells Of Neolithic Discoveries

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New Thoughts on Ancient Northumberland was the title of Paul Frodsham’s lecture at Morpeth Antiquarian Society. Mr Frodsham was the Northumberland National Park archaeologist for 15 years until 2007. His talk concentrated on a small but incredibly rich area of the Breamish valley on and around Ingram Farm, where amazing archaeology has survived years of agricultural work. Twelve years of research from 1994 revealed evidence of occupation from the Neolithic to the present-day.

The work was done by more than 400 diggers, including staff and students from Durham University, amateurs and professionals from the Northumberland Archaeological Group, and other experts.

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Wild Rabbits lead to massive finds at Land’s End in Cornwall

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A day of digging by three expert archaeologists has unearthed more than 60 objects from a one-metre square excavation at Land’s End reports The Falmouth Packet.

Wild Rabbits lead to massive finds!

In February the wild rabbits at Land’s End accidentally uncovered a collection of flint scrapers and arrowheads while burrowing their warrens. This discovery prompted Land’s End to commission a thorough archaeological investigation of their land and now the finds discovered and compiled by Big Heritage UK have revealed some further startling results.

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Doggerland – Britain’s lost Atlantis has been found under the waves

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Divers have found traces of an ancient land swallowed by the waves about 8,500 years ago reported the Daily Mail back in 2012. This land once stretched from Scotland to Denmark and seismic scan have revealed rivers, mountains and the scientists believe Doggerland, as it has become known after the Dogger Bank, had a population of tens of thousands of people and was a home to Mammoths as well as other giant animals.

Doggerland – Britain’s Lost Atlantis

‘Britain’s Atlantis’ – a hidden underwater world swallowed by the North Sea – has been discovered by divers working with science teams from the University of St Andrews. Doggerland, a huge area of dry land that stretched from Scotland to Denmark was slowly submerged by water between 18,000 BC and 5,500 BC. Divers from oil companies have found remains of a ‘drowned world’ with a population of tens of thousands – which might once have been the ‘real heartland’ of Europe.

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Neolithic warfare: new research

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arrowheads-co
Pic: Archaeology.co.uk
Archaeology.co.uk reports that the perception that much of prehistory was relatively peaceful is changing. New research has identified evidence of violent assault in the Neolithic. What does this tell us about Stone Age life as a whole? Forensic archaeologist Martin Smith explains.

Whilst many Neolithic burials have been excavated during the last 150 years, they have received only limited study. Modern analysis of these remains by osteo-archaeologists is revealing shocking evidence for violent assaults involving clubs, axes, and arrowshot about 5,500 years ago.

Recent years have seen growing interest in conflict archaeology. Warfare has gone from being a subject rarely mentioned by archaeologists to one that is widely debated. Current  world events may have something to do with this, but it is also linked to advances in our ability to recognise evidence of violence, and a drive towards new theoretical approaches for making sense of it. Most research of this kind has usually been concerned with more recent periods, but lately consideration is also being given to prehistory. In particular, we now have a growing body of evidence for aggression between groups and individuals during the Neolithic, most of which comes in the form of skeletal injuries. The fact that acts of violence sometimes occurred in this period now seems indisputable. However, assessing what this tells us about Neolithic life as a whole is harder.

Read the full article at archaeology.co.uk

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Prehistoric Scotland had links to lands overseas

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Upper Largie Footed Food Vessel
Upper Largie Footed Food Vessel
Pic: Culture 24
Back in February 2008, Culture 24 reported on a discovery made in Upper Largie which provided exciting evidence of 4,000 year-old links between prehistoric Scotland and the Netherlands. Upper Largie is near Kilmartin in Argyll and Bute and the original excavations took place in 2005.

Analysis of the pots by Alison Sheridan, of National Museums Scotland, has revealed early international-style Beakers of the type found around the lower Rhine, which is the modern-day Netherlands and a strange hybrid of styles that suggest Irish and Yorkshire influences.

These finds are very rare.

said Martin Cook, the AOC Archaeology Project Officer, who oversaw the excavations in 2005.

I think there are three or four other examples that early in Scotland. We initially didn’t realise how unusual they were, as it is so unusual to find three beaker ceramic vessels in the same feature.

The actual structure was very unusual, there’s only been one other grave excavated like that in Scotland – you just don’t get features like that generally.

The excavations revealed two graves within a complex Neolithic and Bronze Age ritual landscape composed of monuments including an Early Neolithic cursus (long earthwork) and an Early Bronze Age timber circle.

The grave is so early and the style of ceramic is so rare for this period that it’s either an immigrant or a first or second generation descendant who still knows these techniques. The pots are made from local material which certainly suggests an immigrant or a second generation person.

Travel at this time would have been difficult with few established tracks and thick forests covering much of the British Isles – much of it populated by some dangerous wild animals. Seaward travel to or from Yorkshire and Ireland to pick up these influences would have been the slightly easier option.

I think it just re-emphasises the importance of Kilmartin as a centre during this time.

added Martin.

For more information about the work of AOC Archeology Group, see www.aocarchaeology.com

To read the full article, please go to Culture 24.

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