Archive for the 'Scotland' Category

Sep 07 2014

Musical Instruments Of The Celts By Helen McSkimming

Ceilidh Dancing

A Basket-full of Ceilidh Dancing

Pic: Derek E-Jay

An important form of expression in any culture is its music, each culture having its own independent style. This cultural expression is enhanced through the instruments it is played on. In our Celtic culture, the main instruments were and are the BODHRAN (drum), the FEADAN (whistle) the CLARSACH (harp) and the PIOB (bagpipes). All of these instruments still have the power to stir ancestral memory in people of today.

BODHRAN

The first of these, the Irish drum, the bodhran, is the oldest form of musical instrument, its equivalent being found all over the world. The Bodhran was traditionally made in the following way: A circular hoop was made out of the wood of the ash tree and an animal skin, usually of deer, calf or goat, which had been soaked in a stream for nine days, was stretched over the hoop and secured firmly around the edge of it.

In some cases a crosspiece was inserted at the back to hold it with.  The Bodhran is played either with the hand or a beater. Most Irish players are also greatly skilled at playing what is called “the bones”, these  are played held in the hand, in a very similar manner to the castanets, and as the name suggests were at one time made from bone, usually from the rib cage of a pig. Nowadays, like the beater, they are made from wood.
Some of the Bodhrans that are played are of an extremely large size. These are war drums, and could explain how the sound of the drum played at a fast speed arouses such strong feelings within us. The Bodhran can also create many other feelings within us, such as the strange trance like and Otherworldly effect that can be created by skilled players, bringing almost into reach long forgotten memories of the past. In many parts of the world one of the first tasks of the shaman was to make his own drum from the raw materials that were in the area where he lived, so that the drum would be linked to the ancestry of the land just as his people were.

THE FEADAN

The second instrument is the whistle, Feadan, which was originally made from the wood of the alder, the centre of it being extremely soft and easy to hollow out. The tin whistle of today is a longer lasting version of the wooden feadan. The feadan gives that distinctive sound to Irish and Scottish music, making it recognisable anywhere. The jigs and reels soon have everyone tapping their feet and going with the music. The feadan, too, has that other side to it. It can sound so hauntingly beautiful, crying out for the listener to follow…The selkies or seals are extremely fond of the sound of the feadan and its haunting melodies, so much so that they will surface and come out of the water onto the rocks to listen to it being played.

THE CLARSACH

The Celtic harp needs no introduction, such is its popularity. There is no mistaking how people’s faces light up with pleasure at seeing this beautiful instrument, even today it still holds a magical quality for us. The soundboxes of the ancient clarsachs were hollowed out of solid pieces of wood, mainly oak or willow, and were strung with whatever animal gut that was available. Twisted horsehair was also used. Nowadays the clarsach can be strung with metal, nylon or the original gut strings, each giving a different sound to the instrument. Harpers were one of the members of the establishment of the Highland Chiefs.

Many of the ancient harpers and bards decorated their clarsachs with precious jewels, silver and gold, one of the reasons for this was his clarsach could not be taken from him in payment for debts he owed, as it was considered the tool of his trade. The old law still stands today.

The clarsach was seen by many as a gift from the Gods, giving it an inseparable link with the Otherworld. This was strengthened by the bards themselves who, through their legends, could carry people on fantastic Otherworld journeys to the lands of Promise. No one can deny the effect the clarsach has on our emotions, there is no instrument that can compare in sound to its melodious song that can lift and carry us to lands of beauty, sadness and sorrow like a bird hopping from branch to branch.

PIOB

There is much speculation on the origins of the bagpipe in Scotland. However, this is largely futile as it would appear to be an ancient instrument everywhere, and there is no way of knowing if it is indeedindigenous or not. Certainly we know from sculptural evidence that the pipes were in use in Scotland from the 12th century onwards. Some people believe that the Firbolgs, the Men of the Bags, were the first to use bagpipes made from pigs’ bladders in ancient Ireland and Scotland.

The first pipes probably only had one drone, the second being added around 1500. The two drone Highland Pipes were the traditional war pipes of the clans. The traditional music of the bagpipes is known as “Piobaireachd”, or Ceol Mor (big music), the classical pipe music. CeolBeag (little music) was the music of the people, the popular or folk music. The scale of the pipes is completely unique to itself, making the instrument difficult to accept by other musicians, who will declare the pipes to be out of tune! However, the pipes were never intended to be played in harmony; it is a solo instrument. Due to the different intervals of tones and semitones, the pipes can take a while to get accustomed to. It does seem that most people either passionately love the pipes or passionately hate them! Either way, there is no denying the strong emotive feelings they seem to evoke in us.

It only remains to say to anyone that decides to listen to these ancient musical instruments and their traditional music that they would be opening themselves to the spirit of our people, which remains strong and pure in the music and can link us once again to our origins and our land.

Source

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You can also now download a Celtic Myth Podshow App from the iTunes store. This is the most convenient and reliable way to access the Celtic Myth Podshow on your iPhone or iPod Touch. You’re always connected to the latest episode, and our App users have access to exclusive bonus content, just touch and play! To find out more visit the iTunes Store or our Description Page.

You can now also find an Android version of the App which works identically to the iPhone version. You can find it on Handster at http://www.handster.com/celtic_myth.html or by using the QR code opposite. It’s also found on the Opera Marketplace as well as AppBrain in the US.

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Originally posted 2012-11-30 08:38:25. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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Sep 07 2014

Celtic Scottish Sweat Lodge/Sauna saved and re-built

Moving Stone at Bressay
Pic: Bronze Age Bressay
News at the Scotsman.com reports that a Bronze Age structure thought to have been used as a sauna 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.

The central structure was carefully dismantled and each stone numbered before being moved to a site a mile way next to Bressay Heritage Centre.

And today (23/8/2008), following the completion of the unusual removal scheme, the Bronze Age building will be officially opened at its new location by Tavish Scott, the MSP for Shetland. Douglas Coutts, the project officer with Bressay History Group, said the structure was one of the most important archaeological discoveries ever made in the Northern Isles.

The building was hidden in a mound of burnt stones and is thought to have been used for feasts, baths or even saunas.

The structure comprises a series of dry-stone, walled cells, connected by two corridors. At the end of one corridor is a hearth cell, thought to have been used for heating stones, and at the other end is a tank sunk into the ground which is almost two metres long, more than a metre wide, and half a metre deep.

Burnt Mound at Cruester,  at Bressay
Pic:Bronze Age Bressay

Mr Coutts said:

Burnt mounds don’t usually consist of very much more than a hearth and a tank and a heap of burnt stones. But in Shetland, we seem to have much more complex structures with little rooms or cells leading off from a main passageway which connects the hearth and tank.

He added:

 

We think these cells may have originally been roofed over in a beehive shape. One theory is that these structures may have been used for cooking meat or tanning hides. But it is possible they could have raised steam by heating the water and that these little cells could have been used as saunas.

Tom Dawson, a researcher at St Andrews University who also worked on the removal project, said coastal erosion was threatening thousands of archaeological sites around Scotland.

 

The local group here came up with a novel idea for dealing with the problem. It is great to have had the chance to give new life to this particular site and make it accessible to future generations, while also learning something new, not just about Cruester, but about burnt mounds in general.

This structure is important in world terms. There are thousands of burnt mounds in Britain, Ireland and Scandinavia but only a handful are known to have structures within them.

Mr Scott praised the partnership between the local history group and outside archaeological bodies.

He said:

This exhibition will be a great asset for visitors to Bressay and local people. The more we understand about the past, the better informed we are about the future.

[Source]

Look out tomorrow for more details on how the re-construction of the Burnt Mound is helping Education in 2009.

Originally posted 2009-12-29 08:30:55. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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Sep 07 2014

He’s Big, Blue, and the Red-Headed Defender of the Clans! Saltire! Scotland’s First Superhero!

Saltire: Invasion

Saltire: Invasion

Pic: Saltire

You’ve heard of Captain America, the enhanced Super-Soldier who became the symbol of American patriotism and you may even have heard of Captain Britain, whose power derived in part from Merlyn and the mystical sword, Excalibur and who embodies the spirit of British patriotism but it’s now time to doff your cowls and pull on your capes, as the Superhero Spirit of the Ancient Clans becomes embodied in the Big, Blue form of Saltire! He embodies both the concepts of ancient mysticism along with all of the drama, power and heroism that you expect from any of today’s cinematic Superheroes. Saltire is an archetypal Golden Age comic book hero – the sort we see on our Movie screens today, and not the complex and often dark, anti-hero type that seem to dominate today’s comic book world. He is a Hero for a nation – a symbol to stand by, perhaps ideal for a time when Scotland is seeking its own individuality and independence again.
With John Ferguson as the writer, art by Tony Julskaer and Gary Welsh, the new graphic novel Saltire by DiamondSteel Comics hits the streets with twice the impact of those massive blue fists striking the legions of the Roman army as they threaten to cross onto Scottish lands. The first book is in two parts Saltire: Invasion – that tells of the coming of the Romans and Saltire’s role in driving them back and Saltire: Inception that gives us his origin story. In between the two we are treated to some beautiful concept art as well as some stand-alone colour pieces that are a pure luxury to see. His enemies are not just the ill-fated and mysterious 9th Legion of Rome, but the summoned Avatar or a Roman God! We even see the big, blue hand stretching as far as the Imperial throne of Rome to shake it up a bit.
Saltire in Action

Saltire in Action

Pic: Saltire

A Magical Blend of Celtic Mythology and Pseudo-History

Saltire and Swords

Saltire and Swords

Pic: Saltire

The creator, John Ferguson, describes Big Blue as

an immortal being created thousands of years ago to protect Scotland and its people. He’s big, he’s blue and he’s ginger. He has Scottish values but he’s a traditional comic book superhero with a variety of super villains to contend with as the story progresses, a Scottish competitor to Batman and Spiderman if you like.

He was born of the union between the Clans of the North, the Clans of the South and a Fey representative of the powers of Light and Darkness – Princes of the Otherworld! John has woven a unique blend of traditional mythology, modern cultural nationalism and the Heroic Ideal represented by classic Golden Age superheroes into Saltire, the personification of Scotland’s Stone of Destiny.

Whether or not you could count some of the more traditional heroes of Scottish Mythology, such as Finn McCool, as Scotland’s first Superheroes is really a moot point as they were the heroes from a different time and less likely to ‘leap tall buildings in a single bound’ or meet whatever scale you match a modern Superhero up to. Saltire’s passes all of the tests of our time and stands tall and proud (and blue) as the embodiment of the Spirit of Scotland’s Clans, its’ Otherworldly Spirit and History as well as the hopes for its future. Every bit the equal of a Captain America or Captain Britain!

Wielding twin Claymores made from indestructible, meteoric Diamond Steel, and dressed in trews and leg-wraps, our big, blue and hairy Defender is an imposing living, visual image of the Saltire symbol on Scotland’s flag – known as Saint Andrew’s Cross. A powerful cast comprised of the powerful and unique defenders of the 12 Clans – Scotland’s own version of the ancient 12 Tribes perhaps? – and united by the High Shaman promise great character development for the future.
Flag of Scotland

Flag of Scotland

Pic: Wiki

Saltire himself is accompanied by the earth-bound representatives of the Light and Dark Fey – the Dark Unicorn, Caledon and the Dragon of Light, Nathir who dwells within the waters of Loch Ness.

What may come in the future for Scotland’s National Superhero?

Like the ‘Once and Future King’, Arthur, who will awaken from his mystical sleep to defend the shores of Britain from her invaders, so will Saltire burst anew into life to defend the Clans and the Peace of the Land north of the Wall!

The Immortals

The Immortals

Pic: Saltire

So, anytime, from his Inception to our modern-day World we could see Big Blue leap into action. The story has started with the attempted invasion by the Romans and we are anxiously awaiting Book 3 of the Saga, Saltire: Annihilation, to see where the story goes. We were given a real treat with the beautiful artwork and presentation of the first two books bound as a single volume (also in hardback), and can only hope that such high standards continue. The characters are, obviously, only just starting out so I’m eager to see how the relationships pan out, especially with the mysterious and beautiful Fey lady, Eilys, who possesses the gift of foresight but cannot set foot upon the Earth. The Big Screen has seen the Big Green figure of the Hulk cause massive property damage; it has seen Big Red, Hellboy, fight against the unseen legions of the demonic and supernatural and maybe, just maybe, in the future we’ll see Big Blue being summoned from the Stone of Destiny to swing his Diamond Steel blades on the Silver Screen? Well, we can dream…

You can find out all about Saltire, John Ferguson and his team as well as where to get hold of the Graphic Novel on their website at http://www.diamondsteelcomics.com or track them down on Facebook (for some amazing reviews and artwork) or follow them on Twitter!

Remember keep it Big, Blue, and Ginger!

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You can also now download a Celtic Myth Podshow App from the iTunes store. This is the most convenient and reliable way to access the Celtic Myth Podshow on your iPhone or iPod Touch. You’re always connected to the latest episode, and our App users have access to exclusive bonus content, just touch and play! To find out more visit the iTunes Store or our Description Page.

 

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You can now also find an Android version of the App which works identically to the iPhone version. You can find it on Handster at http://www.handster.com/celtic_myth.html or by using the QR code opposite. It’s also found on the Opera Marketplace in the US.

You can now also find the Windows 8 Phone App in the Windows 8 Phone Store.

Windows 8 Phone App

If you come to the site and listen or listen from one of our players – have you considered subscribing? It’s easy and you automatically get the episodes on your computer when they come out. If you’re unsure about the whole RSS/Subscribing thing take a look at our Help page.

Originally posted 2014-01-16 04:31:30. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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Sep 07 2014

Saltire Annihilation Part 1 – Scotland’s Superhero returns in a tale of Dark Age horror!

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Saltire: Annihilation Pt. 1

Saltire: Annihilation Pt. 1

Pic: Diamondsteel Comics

We met the Big, Blue,Red-Headed Immortal Guardian of Scotland, Saltire – the first real Scottish Superhero in the style of the classic Marvel and DC greats, in his first outing Saltire: Invasion. His second adventure starts in the follow-on Graphic Novel – Saltire: Annihilation Pt.1!With John Ferguson still penning the adventure and a new artist, Claire Roe, at the helm this Graphic Novel plunges us into the Dark Ages and a time of conflict between the Saxons and Clans of the North. Into this maelstrom of political turmoil, an ancient evil awakens and begins to prey upon the Clans. Once more the Clans and their Guardians call upon Saltire, our Immortal Hero, to awaken and come to their rescue. The action is fast and furious as a bloody swathe is cut across the Highlands and Valleys of Saltire’s land!

A Proud Heritage Reborn!

The bookwas launched on September 6th at theMCM Expo and will be inWaterstones/Forbidden Planet and comic book shops across the UK and on Amazon USA and UK. Author John Ferguson says:

After the success and critical acclaim of the first book in the series, Saltire Invasion, it was important to expand our horizons, enrich the characters, and delve deeper into the country’s past. A proud heritage is now reborn as the ancient tales of Scotland are envisioned within the modern comic book genre for the first time.

Once again this project brings together the country’s best emerging artistic talent to create the dynamic and visually breathtaking first volume of an epic two part sequel.

With award nominations and main stream media attention, Saltire is fast becoming a new iconic figure in comics and in Scotland. In an era when a nation awakens, our immortal guardian returns.

Saltire! Out from Sept. 6th!

Saltire! Out Sept. 6th!

Pic: Facebook

What evil grows in Scotland’s Darkest Hour?

The Clan Guardians are attacked!

The Clan Guardians are attacked!

Pic: Diamondsteel Comics

The Dark Age, a desolate time.
A power grows to the south. A power bent on destruction…on annihilation.
Not human…not spirit or shadow. Unleashed, she will bring despair.
To protect the innocent, the guardians will stand once more…
As chaos reigns before a vengeful enemy he shall rise once more…the Immortal Guardian of a Nation.

Spreading a terrible curse and affliction amongst the clans, the evil Ban Sith makes her way north from the Saxon strongholds deep into Clan territory, leaving a trail of blood and pain behind her. Each of the Clans has a Guardian – a Champion if you will – and they try to gather their people together and lead them to safety under the guidance of the Shamans and the Fae to a Secret and Safe Place.

The Mythic Superhero walks amongst us

Each panel is drawn with a vibrant and dramatic flair that matches the fast pace of the driving story, leading us inevitably to the summoning of our Hero once more from his rest to defend the Clans! With more action than most comics can wave a pointy stick at, you can expect drama, tragedy and some poignant scenes in this second excursion into the unique Scottish mythology that Ferguson is creating with Saltire. Our iconic hero, and all of his friends, have the potentiality to bring us a great depth of characterisation and a rich stock of lore in the future. There is so much material here already, in just these two issues, that the amount of stories that can be told, the questions that can be asked, can provide us with tales for many more episodes. We can expect that the sagas of Scottish Superhero lore laid down by John Ferguson and Diamondsteel Comics will set a high standard in a new hybrid genre. The Realm of the Mythic Superhero is with us – Celtic Mythology steps into the modern world of Superheroes.
A hard-won peace?

A hard-won peace?

Pic: Diamondsteel Comics

Saltire – Annihilation Pt.1. Full Colour Graphic Novel by John Ferguson. Art by Claire Roe, Coloured by Lauren Knight. Cover by Jim Devlin. Published by Diamondsteel Comics Ltd.

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You can also now download a Celtic Myth Podshow App from the iTunes store. This is the most convenient and reliable way to access the Celtic Myth Podshow on your iPhone or iPod Touch. You’re always connected to the latest episode, and our App users have access to exclusive bonus content, just touch and play! To find out more visit the iTunes Store or our Description Page.

 

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You can now also find an Android version of the App which works identically to the iPhone version. You can find it on Amazon or by clicking the image to the right.

CMP App on Amazon

You can now also find the Windows 8 Phone App in the Windows 8 Phone Store.

Windows 8 Phone App

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Aug 26 2014

Merlin was born and bred in Glasgow, Scotland

Merlin The BBC reports that the legendary wizard Merlin has been added to a list of famous Glaswegians, it has emerged. The council included the wizard, who featured in Arthurian legend, on a list of well-known figures from the city. A council spokeswoman admitted that like most mythical figures, it was difficult to trace Merlin’s origins. But she said the wizard had been added to its website list after an amateur historian suggested Merlin had lived in the Partick area of the city.

He joins Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh and comedian Billy Connolly on the list of famous characters, both real and fictional.

‘Glorious history’

Merlin has his very own category on the list – filed under wizard.

The council spokeswoman said:

Recently an amateur historian has pointed to the fact that the legendary Merlin lived a ‘comfortable life’, with his wife Gwendolyn, in Partick, not Camelot and I’m sure most Glaswegians think that’s just magic.

Tradition has it that King Arthur’s magician was either English or Welsh.

But in the book Finding Merlin: The Truth Behind the Legend, author Adam Ardrey claimed he actually hailed from Scotland. [Amazon]

Mr Ardrey, who spent six years researching the subject, told a newspaper he believed the wizard had lived in Partick “where the River Kelvin meets the Clyde”.

He told the paper:

I am thrilled that Glasgow has recognised Merlin as a Glaswegian and that almost 1,400 years after his death he can take an official place in Glasgow’s glorious history.

Read the original article at the BBC site.

Originally posted 2009-06-06 17:05:55. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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Aug 05 2014

BBC Alba launch strengthens Celtic language broadcasting

Celtic Myth Podshow

There has been an important development in terms of Celtic language television broadcasting with the launch of the new Gaelic TV station BBC Alba.

The new channel is initially available on Sky satellite TV channel 168 and also on Freesat. The station will also become available on the digital terrestrial service Freeview. However the Freeview launch will not take place until 2010 at the earliest which is disappointing. Continue Reading »

Originally posted 2008-10-08 09:20:20. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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Jul 29 2014

Neolithic Orkney Stone Circle to be uncovered


Pic: BBC
The BBC have just reported that a major archaeological investigation is getting under way at one of Western Europe’s most impressive prehistoric sites.

The Ring of Brodgar in Orkney is the third largest stone circle in the British Isles, but little is known about it.

The project will involve the re-excavation and extension of trenches dug in 1973. Geophysical surveys will also be undertaken to investigate the location of standing stones.

Dr Jane Downes of the Archaeology Department, Orkney College, UHI, and Dr Colin Richards of the University of Manchester are the project directors.

Dr Downes said:

Because so little is known about the Ring of Brodgar, a series of assumptions have taken the place of archaeological data.

The interpretation of what is arguably the most spectacular stone circle in Scotland is therefore incomplete and unclear.

Source

Originally posted 2008-07-11 10:37:02. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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Jul 18 2014

Alexander Carmichael and Deirdre of the Sorrows

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<b>‘Deirdre of the Sorrows’ by John Duncan, c. 1905.</b>

‘Deirdre of the Sorrows’ by John Duncan, c. 1905.

Pic: Uni. Glasgow

The Centre for Scottish and Celtic Studies at the University of Glasgow hosted a superb guest lecture about the origins of the oral tale based on ‘Deirdre of the Sorrows’ collected by that giant of Scottish folklore, Alexander Carmichael. He traveled the Highlands and Islands and recorded many tales, prayers and rituals recounted to him which have been preserved for us in the Carmina Gadelica. Back in May, the Centre reported on the lecture entitled ‘”An Ideal Wife?” Alexander Carmichael’s Deirdire & Revivalist ideals of beauty, dignity & death’ given by Dr Kate Louise Mathis from Aberystwyth University. They summarised the fascinating story of the tale’s origin and development as below:-

Alexander Carmichael’s rendition of the story of Deirdre first appears in the Transactions of the Gaelic Society of Inverness (1888/9) and is an adaptation of the tale collected by Carmichael from an elderly man, John MacNeill, from Barra in 1867. His version of Deirdre differed significantly from the one presented in Longes mac N-Uislenn (‘Exile of the Sons of Uisliu’) which dates back to c. 900 (or earlier) and is found in manuscripts including The Book of Leinster (begun c. 1160). The original Deirdre is characterised almost entirely by her passivity–she is a blank slate–and the story itself is concerned as much with the exile of Fergus as it is the deaths of the sons of Uisliu and Deirdre. Her passivity made her attractive as a ‘vehicle for reshaping’.

The seventeenth century Irish poet and historian Geoffrey Keating was the first to emphasise the romantic love of Naoise and Deirdre, making it the focus of the story. He also dissociated the exile of Fergus from the tragic deaths of the two protagonists.

By the nineteenth century, Deirdre had become an exemplar for tragedy and a touchstone for expressions of grief and mourning. By this stage she was the central female figure in Irish mythology and Longes mac N-Uislenn became ‘her story’. Writing in 1983, Alan Bruford commented:

[The story is] the death of the Sons of Uisliu, and it is only literate sentimentalists who see it as Deirdre’s story.

The Glenmasan manuscript, compiled c. 1500, also detaches Deirdre and the sons of Uisliu from Fergus, while expanding the careers of Naoise and his brothers in Scotland. Previously, the inclusion of Scotland in the story was vague at best, with no mention of place names or the name of the king who employed the sons of Uisliu. This suggests the (unknown) author of the Glenmasan manuscript was familiar with Scotland, particularly Argyll.

Carmichael’s version is similar to Keating but again embellished the exploits of the sons of Uisliu. He also expanded the sparse mention by John MacNeill of Fergus negotiating with the sons of Uisliu in Scotland with a twelve page interpolation of this episode. (This may have derived originally from the Glenmasan manuscript). Dr Mathis noted that the dignity of Deirdre in Carmichael’s text derives from his interference with the oral text provided by John MacNeill.

During the Celtic Revival (1880-1920) the character of Deirdre became ever more exaggerated as unparalleled in beauty and wisdom. W.B Yeats included Deirdre’s children in his version, claiming in a letter to Lady Gregory that…

…the children will improve the tale of Deirdre by giving one a better and fuller feeling of her married life in Scotland…[she] is the normal, compassionate, wise house-wife lifted into immortality by beauty and tragedy. Her feeling for her lover is the feeling of the house-wife for the man of the house.

William Sharp, writing under the pseudonym of Fiona MacLeod, made Deirdre semi-divine, made from ‘dusk and ivory’. In her version, Deirdre gives Naoise a yellow thistle as a sign of her love, which will become her shame should he reject her. Dr Mathis suggested this was a way of toning down Deirdre’s offering herself to Naoise, which often had her appear nude. MacLeod also tones down the gore-factor: instead of Deirdre drinking the blood from Naoise’s severed head she cleans the blood and kisses his lips. Furthermore, her own death is not recorded. Fiona MacLeod commented in the preface to ‘Deirdre and the Sons of Uisne’ (1903):

Children, and maids and youths…have had their loves deepened in love and devotion because of this tale of endurance noble to the end, and of patience so great that the heart aches at the thought of it.

Murray Pittock described neo-Jacobitism as representing ‘symbolic beauty, perfection and death’ and Dr Mathis suggested this could easily apply to Carmichael’s Deirdre.

Summary by Ross Crawford (PhD Researcher), original found at the Centre for Scottish and Celtic Studies

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You can also now download a Celtic Myth Podshow App from the iTunes store. This is the most convenient and reliable way to access the Celtic Myth Podshow on your iPhone or iPod Touch. You’re always connected to the latest episode, and our App users have access to exclusive bonus content, just touch and play! To find out more visit the iTunes Store or our Description Page.

 

iphone

You can now also find an Android version of the App which works identically to the iPhone version. You can find it on Amazon or by clicking the image to the right.

CMP App on Amazon

You can now also find the Windows 8 Phone App in the Windows 8 Phone Store.

Windows 8 Phone App

If you come to the site and listen or listen from one of our players – have you considered subscribing? It’s easy and you automatically get the episodes on your computer when they come out. If you’re unsure about the whole RSS/Subscribing thing take a look at our Help page.

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Jul 10 2014

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

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Drowned world: Scans show a mound discovered under the water near Orkney, which has been explored by divers

Drowned world: Scans show a mound discovered under the water near Orkney, which has been explored by divers

Pic: Daily Mail

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. ‘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.

A team of climatologists, archaeologists and geophysicists has now mapped the area using new data from oil companies – and revealed the full extent of a ‘lost land’ once roamed by mammoths.

The research suggests that the populations of these drowned lands could have been tens of thousands, living in an area that stretched from Northern Scotland across to Denmark and down the English Channel as far as the Channel Islands. The area was once the ‘real heartland’ of Europe and was hit by ‘a devastating tsunami’, the researchers claim. The wave was part of a larger process that submerged the low-lying area over the course of thousands of years.

Richard Bates of the University of St Andrews said:

‘The name was coined for Dogger Bank, but it applies to any of several periods when the North Sea was land. Around 20,000 years ago, there was a ‘maximum’ – although part of this area would have been covered with ice. When the ice melted, more land was revealed – but the sea level also rose.

Life in 'Doggerland' - the ancient kingdom once stretched from Scotland to Denmark and has been described as the 'real heart of Europe'

Life in ‘Doggerland’ – the ancient kingdom once stretched from Scotland to Denmark and has been described as the ‘real heart of Europe’

Pic: Daily Mail

‘Through a lot of new data from oil and gas companies, we’re able to give form to the landscape – and make sense of the mammoths found out there, and the reindeer. We’re able to understand the types of people who were there.

‘People seem to think rising sea levels are  a new thing – but it’s a cycle of Earth history that has happened many many times.’

Organised by Dr Richard Bates of the Department of Earth Sciences at St Andrews, the Drowned Landscapes exhibit reveals the human story behind Doggerland, a now submerged area of the North Sea that was once larger than many modern European countries.

‘We have now been able to model its flora and fauna, build up a picture of the ancient people that lived there and begin to understand some of the dramatic events that subsequently changed the land, including the sea rising and a devastating tsunami.’

The research project is a collaboration between St Andrews and the Universities of Aberdeen, Birmingham, Dundee and Wales Trinity St David. Rediscovering the land through pioneering scientific research, the research reveals a story of a dramatic past that featured massive climate change. The public exhibit brings back to life the Mesolithic populations of Doggerland through artefacts discovered deep within the sea bed.

A visualisation of how life in the now-submerged areas of Dogger Bank might have looked

A visualisation of how life in the now-submerged areas of Dogger Bank might have looked

Pic: Daily Mail

The research, a result of a painstaking 15 years of fieldwork around the murky waters of the UK, is one of the highlights of the London event.

The interactive display examines the lost landscape of Doggerland and includes artefacts from various times represented by the exhibit – from pieces of flint used by humans as tools to the animals that also inhabited these lands.

Using a combination of geophysical modelling of data obtained from oil and gas companies and direct evidence from material recovered from the seafloor, the research team was able to build up a reconstruction of the lost land.

The findings suggest a picture of a land with hills and valleys, large swamps and lakes with major rivers dissecting a convoluted coastline.

As the sea rose the hills would have become an isolated archipelago of low islands. By examining the fossil record – such as pollen grains, microfauna and macrofauna – the researchers can tell what kind of vegetation grew in Doggerland and what animals roamed there.

Using this information, they were able to build up a model of the ‘carrying capacity’ of the land and work out roughly how many humans could have lived there. The research team is currently investigating more evidence of human behaviour, including possible human burial sites, intriguing standing stones and a mass mammoth grave.

 

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2167731/Britains-Atlantis-North-sea–huge-undersea-kingdom-swamped-tsunami-5-500-years-ago.html#ixzz374DGxUiM
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Jun 14 2014

Bronze Age Sweat Lodge or Sauna Saved

Burnt Mound at Cruester
Pic: Shorewatch.co.uk
A Bronze Age structure thought to have been used as a sauna has been saved from destruction by the sea after a team of archaeologists moved the entire find to a safer location reports the Scotsman.com.

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 in the summer of 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.

The central structure was carefully dismantled and each stone numbered before being moved to a site a mile way next to Bressay Heritage Centre. Continue Reading »

Originally posted 2009-05-23 12:06:57. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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