Celtic Myth Show News

Bringing the Tales and Stories of the Ancient Celts to your Fireside

Category: Albion (Page 1 of 2)

Significant Bronze Age weapons hoard found in Scotland

A gold-decorated Late Bronze Age spearhead and other artefacts uncovered during an Angus excavation have been hailed as “the find of a lifetime” reported the BBC earlier this year.

The weapon was discovered during an archaeological evaluation on land being developed into council football pitches at Balmachie in Carnoustie.

The spearhead was found beside a bronze sword, pin and scabbard fittings. It is one of only a handful of gold-decorated bronze spearheads ever found in Britain and Ireland.

The discovery was made in a pit close to a Late Bronze Age settlement that was excavated by GUARD Archaeology on behalf of Angus Council.

Internationally Significant Bronze Age Weapons

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Updates on the early Bronze Age Dartmoor Princess finds

The excavation of a prehistoric cremation burial discovered within a cist at Whitehorse Hill on northern Dartmoor has revealed nationally important remains which have captured the interest of experts from all over the country. This was the first excavation of a burial site on Dartmoor for 100 years.

This is now considered to be the most important assemblage of prehistoric grave goods ever recovered from Dartmoor and indeed from the whole of the South West of England. The survival of the organic remains is also seen to be of international importance.

This individual, whose cremated remains were placed in a cist on this remote spot on Northern Dartmoor, over four thousand years ago, was apparently of some importance to the local community. Who was it, what was their gender, what type of animal hide was used to wrap the cremated remains? The answers to these and many other questions are part of this unfolding and fascinating story which hopefully will tell us much more about the lives of prehistoric people on Dartmoor and the landscape they lived in. 

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Where is the largest collection of Arthurian books in the UK?

In 2015, Bangor University received a large donation of rare and valuable Arthurian books from Flintshire County Council. The University reported:

Bangor University can now boast the largest collection of Arthurian books in Wales and the north of England, following an agreement with Flintshire County Council, who have donated a rare and valuable Arthurian Collection to the University’s Library and Archives.
The newly arrived collection is well suited to its new home. Bangor University has a 50 year history of significant contribution to the study of Arthurian literature. Dr Radulescu, who currently leads the Arthurian literature courses at Bangor University, is internationally renowned for her activity in shaping the field of Arthurian studies through her editorship of the Journal of the International Arthurian Society (JIAS) and the Annual Bibliography of the International Arthurian Society (BIAS); she contributes regularly to radio and TV programmes on medieval studies and the Arthurian legend and was recently interviewed on the Australian ABC national radio on this topic.

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Bonfire

Oíche Shamhna Feast – An Introduction to Irish Iron Age Food

Bonfire - Iron Age Food

As a Págánacht each holy day is a time to reflect on our Iron Age ancestors and what their lives may have been like when they sat around their hearth or bonfire and celebrated their sacred times of the season.

The Iron Age Irish (700 BCE – 400CE) didn’t have the luxuries of the modern kitchen with the ceramic top stove and built in microwaves. Much of their time was spent out amongst the rest of their tribes, partaking in a three day festival of celebration and preparation for the new season. In the time of Samhain preparation was particularly important because they were at the end of the harvest period and entering the winter where food needed to be stored and cattle slaughtered for meat that would be salted and kept to sustain them through the winter.

Today, we do have the many modern luxuries afforded us by the technology we are blessed to have. There are some that may choose to celebrate this time in the way the ancestors did by breaking out their hearth fire and their cauldrons to cook. I have all the respect in the world for that practice and hope to one day be able to do it myself, but as a practical pagan in a modern world, that isn’t always feasible. My modern conveniences make my busy life much easier and I love my slow cooker, microwave and stove, so what can I do to truly connect to this time of year in a way my ancestors did? The simple answer? Food.

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Cantre'r Gwaelod - the Sunken Land or Lowland Hundred

4,000 year-old Deer antlers found off Welsh coast

A dear friend of ours pointed us to a discovery made during the Spring this year of a set of 4,000 year-old Red Deer antlers on a beach in Borth, Ceredigion in Wales. Recent storms have revealed a whole new section of the Sunken Lands in Cardigan Bay. From 5,000 year-old trees whose stumps have been preserved by the peat, to parts of a wattle walkway made of branches, sticks or logs that must have enabled people to cross the wet ground easily. Now a huge set of antlers, identified as belonging to a Red Deer, have been found found under 1 metre of water.

There’s an ancient folk tale about Cantre’r Gwaelod, or the Sunken Hundred, which was once a fertile land and township before it was lost beneath waves. It is believed that the land extended nearly 20 miles west of Cardigan Bay, but Cantre’r Gwaelod was lost to floods when, apparently, Mererid, the priestess of a fairy well had neglected her duties, resulting in the well overflowing.

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Ripe Corn at Lughnasadh Harvest

The Celtic Fire Festival of Lughnasadh

Ripe Corn at Lughnasadh Harvest

Ripe Corn at Harvest

Lughnasadh or Lughnasa (pronounced LOO-nə-sə) Irish: Lúnasa; Scottish Gaelic: Lùnastal; Manx: Luanistyn) is a Celtic festival marking the beginning of the harvest season that was historically observed throughout Ireland, Scotland, and the Isle of Man. Traditionally it was held on July 31 – August 1, or approximately halfway between the summer solstice and autumn equinox. Lughnasadh is one of the four Celtic seasonal festivals; along with Samhain, Imbolc, and Beltane. It corresponds to other European harvest festivals, such as the English Lammas.

Lugh

Lugh

The festival is named after the god Lugh, and involved great gatherings that included religious ceremonies, ritual athletic contests (most notably the Tailteann Games), feasting, matchmaking, and trading. There were also visits to holy wells.

Lughnasadh customs persisted widely until the twentieth century. The custom of climbing hills and mountains at Lughnasadh has survived in some areas, although it has been re-cast as a Christian pilgrimage. Since the latter twentieth century, Celtic neopagans have observed Lughnasadh, or something based on it, as a religious holiday. In some places, elements of the festival have been revived as a cultural event.

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Reconstruction sketch showing a bird’s-eye view and side view of how the stilted settlement at Must Farm may have looked

Magical Superfine Textiles discovered at ‘Must Farm’ Dig

Cloth and Beads found at Must Farm & Representation of Iron age Clothing - superfine textiles

Cloth and Beads found at Must Farm & Representation of Iron age Clothing

Excavations at Must Farm, 50 kilometres north-west of Cambridge England, have unearthed the earliest examples of superfine textiles ever found in Britain – among the most finely-made Bronze Age fabrics ever discovered in Europe.

Finds include more than 100 fragments of textile, processed fibre and textile yarn – some of superfine quality, with some threads just 1/10 of a millimetre in diameter and some fabrics with 28 threads per centimetre, fine even by modern standards.

Most of the superfine textiles were made of linen, and hundreds of flax seeds have been found, some of which had been stored in containers. Timber fragments with delicate carpentry may be the remains of looms, and fired clay loom weights have been found.
Some of the fabrics had been folded, some in up to 10 layers. These may have been large garments, potentially up to 3 metres square – capes, cloaks, or drapes.

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The Mystical Druid’s Egg: The Glain Neidr


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Druid's Egg

Druid’s Egg

Snakes, and especially the Adder, were very significant to the Druids. They represented the renovation of mankind – a symbolism that probably related to the apparent re-birth of snakes every time they shed their skins.

They were also kept by them and made important divinations and decisions based on their movements. One particular association is the Glain Neidr, which translates variously as ‘glass of the serpents’, snake-stone, adder’s stone or Druid’s egg – it was also known as Maen Magl. This was an amulet sacred to Druids in Wales, worn by them on a chain around the neck, that was supposed to possess many virtues.

It had many healing powers, and especially for ailments of the eye; it could ensure that the owner was victorious over his enemies; it allowed seeing of future events; it could be a powerful poison; in some circumstances it also gave diverse powers such as finding hidden treasure or making the wearer invisible.

Finding a Druid’s Egg

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Picts link to North Wales

Cartimandua, 1st century Celtic Queen of the Brigantes


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Cartimandua ruled in her own right rather than through marriage. She did eventually marry, but later divorced her husband and ruled alone. Her name has been translated to mean “well-groomed” or “sleek pony” which may indicate that she was pleasing to the eye. She may have played a role in the events of the Mabinogion and be mentioned in the Welsh Triads…

Cartimandua Queen of the Brigantes

Many people know the story of Queen Boudicca’s rebellion against the Romans. Fewer people realise that West Yorkshire and much of northern Britain were also ruled by a queen. Her name was Cartimandua and she ruled over a loose association of clans and tribes called the Brigantes. Queen Cartimandua seems to have had pro-Roman views. Consequently, relationships between the Romans and the Brigantes went well at first.

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Green Fairy Islands of Wales


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Green faeries Islands from the Green Fairy Islands of Wales article

Faerie Island

A form of Welsh popular belief as to the whereabouts of fairy-land corresponds with the Avalon of the Arthurian legends. The green meadows of the sea, called in the triads Gwerddonau Lion, are the Green fairy islands of Wales.

Many extraordinary superstitions survive with regard to these islands. They were supposed to be the abode of the souls of certain Druids, who, not holy enough to enter the heaven of the Christians, were still not wicked enough to be condemned to the tortures of Annwn, and so were accorded a place in this romantic sort of purgatorial paradise. In the fifth century a voyage was made, by the British king Gavran, in search of these enchanted islands; with his family he sailed away into the unknown waters, and was never heard of more.

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