Celtic Myth Show News

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

Category: Science (Page 1 of 3)

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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Update on the Drumclay Crannog excavation

A crannog is an artificial island usually built in lakes, rivers and estuarine waters of Scotland and Ireland. Crannogs were widespread in Ireland with an estimated 1200 examples. However, the Drumclay Crannog, which is an artificial island built in a lake, is the first of its type to be excavated in the North of Ireland since 1870.

The site of the crannog at Drumclay in Co. Fermanagh has been known to archaeologists since the nineteenth century. The plans for the A32 link road originally envisaged bridging the site, allowing it to be preserved in situ. The plans were changed during the course of road construction and excavation began, directed initially by Declan Hurl and subsequently by Dr Nora Bermingham.

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Huge Prehistoric Religious and Ceremonial Centre Discovered

Windmill Hill Ritual Site

Windmill Hill Neolithic Causeway

A huge, prehistoric religious and ceremonial centre has been discovered near Britain’s most famous prehistoric temple Stonehenge. Its discovery is likely to transform our understanding of the early development of Stonehenge’s ancient landscape.

Ceremonial Centre Older than Stonehenge

Built about 5,650 years ago – more than 1,000 years before the great stones of Stonehenge were erected – the 200m-diameter complex is the first major early Neolithic monument to be discovered in the Stonehenge area for more than a century.

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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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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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Earth Goddess

Reigniting the Divine Feminine through Celtic Stories and Traditions


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The Ancient Practice of Marrying the Land

Earth Goddess - Divine Feminine

Earth Goddess

The native pre-Christian mythology of the Celtic nations which stretch along the Western Atlantic seaboard of Europe is highly women – centred. In our oldest stories, the creative, generative essence of the universe was female, not male; the Divine Feminine represented the spiritual and moral axis of the world, and the power of men was predominantly social.

But the Celtic divine female was a long way from the remote, transcendent sky-deities we’ve grown used to in recent centuries here in the West: she had one foot in the Otherworld for sure, but she was firmly grounded and deeply rooted in place, indivisible from her distinctive, haunting landscapes.

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The Mysteries of the Chinese Celtic Xinjiang Mummies


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Cherchen Man - from the article about the Xinjiang Mummies

Cherchen Man

Solid as a warrior of the Caledonii tribe, the man’s hair is reddish brown flecked with grey, framing high cheekbones, a long nose, full lips and a ginger beard. When he lived three thousand years ago, he stood six feet tall, and was buried wearing a red twill tunic and tartan leggings. He looks like a Bronze Age European. In fact, he’s every inch a Celt. Even his DNA says so.

But this is no early Celt from central Scotland. This is the mummified corpse of Cherchen Man, unearthed from the scorched sands of the Taklamakan Desert in the far-flung region of Xinjiang in western China, and now housed in a new museum in the provincial capital of Urumqi. In the language spoken by the local Uighur people in Xinjiang, “Taklamakan” means: “You come in and never come out.”

Within a nondescript Bronze Age cemetery first discovered by Swedish archaeologists in 1934 and rediscovered by the Xinjiang Archaeological Institute in 2000, researchers have found the oldest and best-preserved mummies in the Tarim Basin area of China. Their skeletal remains, along with unprecedented artifacts, are helping solve the longstanding question of the origins of human settlement in a politically contested area of China.

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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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