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

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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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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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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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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Apr 19 2014

22nd Annual Scottish Festival and Highland Games


Pic: Haggis hurling

The Chicago Daily Herald tells us that on June 20-21 the Highland Games will be in full fling in Chicago. When it comes to celebrating Celtic culture around Chicago, people of Scottish descent always seem to be overshadowed by the Irish.

There’s no national holiday like St. Patrick’s Day when “everyone is Scottish for one day.” It would also be impossible to dye the Chicago River plaid.

Yet Scottish culture and traditions strongly persevere locally, thanks to efforts of the Illinois St. Andrew Society, a nonprofit charity organization dating back to 1854. The society’s biggest and highest-profile event is the annual Scottish Festival and Highland Games, now celebrating its 22nd year.

Continue Reading »

Originally posted 2008-06-20 09:06:27. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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Apr 01 2014

Prehistoric Scotland had links to lands overseas

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.

Originally posted 2009-12-23 08:24:22. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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Mar 11 2014

Highland Folklore: The Secret Commonwealth Revisited


Study for The Quarrel of Oberon and Titania
Pic: Wiki
It is just over three hundred years since Robert Kirk, minister of Aberfoyle, died at the age of fifty two. But the question remains, did he really die or was he ‘taken’? Taken, that is, by the Good People, the elusive folk who lived under the earth in the green hills.The youngest and seventh son of James Kirk, Robert studied theology at St. Andrews and took his master’s degree at Edinburgh.

He became the minister of Balquidder and moved to Aberfoyle in 1685, having published a psalter in Gaelic the previous year. He had also been involved in preparing a Gaelic translation of the Bible.

We might expect a man of his background to have been a staunch supporter of established orthodoxy but this was no ordinary preacher. He recorded his thoughts in a manuscript dated 1691 entitled “The Secret Commonwealth of Elves, Fauns and Fairies“.

Descriptions of the Faerie World

There is no mention of hell and damnation, just a fair and reasonable account of the unseen world. There is nothing sentimental in his writing, and those seers who had the ability to witness the people of peace regarded it as an affliction rather than a gift. The Tabhaiser, or Seer,

“is not terrified with their sight when he calls them, but seeing them in a surpryse (as often he does) frights him extreamly”.

These are clearly not the tinselled fairies of Victorian England but the wild and elemental spirits of nature.

Two ways of gaining the second sight are described. The first is to acquire a tedder (tether) of hair which has bound a corpse to the bier. With this wound round the waist one must stoop down and look back through the legs until a funeral passes. The alternative is to find an accomplished seer who will place his right foot over the candidate’s left and lay his hand upon his head. This confers the power to see and seems not unlike descriptions of admission to a witch coven.

Kirk’s account of the secret commonwealth combines the banal with the surreal. They live in houses underground that are large and fair, lit with lamps and fires but without fuel to sustain them. They may abduct mortal women to nurse their children. Their clothing and speech is that of the country they live in. Their life span is longer than ours, but eventually they die. They have rulers and laws but no discernible religion. Moreover, unlike us, they do not have a dense, material form but have, in Kirk’s words,

“Bodies of congealed Air”.

Every Quarter they travel to fresh lodgings, a reference perhaps to the elemental tides of the seasons.

It is possible that Kirk employed seers to give him information about the dark and silent world, just as Dr. Dee relied upon Edward Kelly a century before.

What really happened to Robert Kirk?

An odd story of what became of the minister of Aberfoyle remains. His successor, the Rev. Dr Grahame, describes how Robert Kirk was walking one day on a fairy hill. He collapsed and was taken for dead. After the funeral, his form was seen by a relative. The spectre urged him to go to their cousin Grahame of Duchray.

Kirk was, he explained, not dead but a captive in the elemental world. His widow was pregnant and he foretold that if Duchray came to the christening, he, Robert Kirk, would appear. Duchray must then throw his dirk over the head of the apparition. If this was done, Kirk would be freed.

Sure enough, the birth and the christening came. Grahame of Duchray was there, just as he had been bidden. During the ceremony the outline of the former minister could be seen. Duchray was so taken aback that he failed to throw the dirk. And the author of the Secret Commonwealth disappeared, never to be seen again

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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 als found on the Opera Marketplace as well as AppBrain in the US.

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Originally posted 2012-04-01 13:53:57. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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Sep 02 2013

Launch video from the beginnings of BBC Alba

 

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 video above from YouTube is a reworking of Runrig’s “Alba”, first tune on the opening night on Scotland’s new TV channel, 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.

The Head of BBC Alba, Margaret Mary Murray, has said the channel was not just for Gaelic speakers.

Originally posted 2009-03-06 21:28:21. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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Feb 16 2013

Regaining a sense of ‘Clan’ at Clan Gathering


Halystorm’s Head
The Daily Pilot reports about the 76th Annual Highland Gathering and Festival at the OC Fair and Expo on Sunday, along with many other clans. What a day this must have been!Daniel Telford, the correspondent says:The weekend festival invited a number of the major Scottish clans that have representatives in the U.S. to have booths and inform the public about their heritage. The booths lined the streets of the expo, offering information, T-shirts, trinkets and the chance for some to trace their genealogy.

There were also Scottish bands and music, as well as boutiques and kilt stores.

One of the highlights of the festival was the Scottish athletics competition, as men tried to prove that some of the strongest are those wearing kilts. They competed in a number of events, including the caber toss, where contestants take a long log and launch it in hopes of turning the log end over end while keeping the log in a straight line.

Gary Herbold, a member of the Ferguson Clan, represents the Ferguson Clan at a number of Scottish Festivals across California and has been involved in Scottish events for nearly two decades. He said:

A lot of people that you get, it’s their first time. Their grandmothers or uncle was in [a particular clan] and they never thought much about it. They are usually very thrilled to tie something in their personal life to something bigger.

You can read more about the story here.

Originally posted 2008-05-31 13:08:15. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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