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Category: Scottish History

Aberdeenshire Stone Circle found to be a replica


The recumbent stone circle was found to be about 20 years old

An Aberdeenshire stone circle initially thought to be thousands of years old has been identified as a modern replica, reported the BBC.

An investigation into the site at the parish of Leochel-Cushnie found the stones to be about 20 years old.

It was originally thought to be the site of another recumbent stone circle – until the person who built it came forward.

The findings sparked excitement among experts and were widely reported.

Further archaeological analysis of the stones was being conducted when a former owner of the farm contacted Mr Welfare to say they had built the stone circle in the 1990s.

Aberdeen Stone Circle ‘Great Feature’

The stones had been celebrated by Adam Welfare of Historic Environment Scotland and Aberdeenshire Council’s Archaeology Service.

Neil Ackerman, historic environment record assistant at Aberdeenshire Council, said the development was “disappointing”, but hoped the site would still be appreciated.

He said:

“I hope the stones continue to be used and enjoyed – while not ancient it is still in a fantastic location and makes for a great feature in the landscape.

“These types of monument are notoriously difficult to date.”

Recumbent stone circles were constructed about 3,500 to 4,500 years ago and are unique to the north east of Scotland.

Their defining feature is a large horizontal stone flanked by two upright stones, usually situated between the south-east to south-west of the circle.

Source: The BBC

Constructing a Broch with crowd-funding

Caithness Broch Project - Visualisation

An archaeological charity is pushing ahead with an ambitious plan to construct a full-size replica of an Iron Age broch reports the BBC.

Caithness Broch Project has launched a crowdfunding campaign to help raise some of the money needed to cover the £20,000 cost of the design brief.

It would be the first broch to be built in Scotland in more than 2,000 years.

Caithness has most Brochs in Scotland

Caithness, where the replica would be built, has more broch sites than anywhere else in Scotland.

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Remains of an Iron Age Feast found on Orkney

(Kirsty Smith, via Wikimedia Commons) - Uron Age Feast

(Kirsty Smith, via Wikimedia Commons)

Archaeologists have identified the site of a huge Iron Age feast on Orkney where more than 10,000 animals were cooked and eaten in a vast cliff top celebration.

Tests have shown that horses, cattle, red deer and otters were on the menu at the gathering above Windwick Bay, South Ronaldsay, more than 1,700 years ago.

Archaeologists from the University of the Highlands and Islands have been working at The Cairns for several years.

A large number of jewellery fragments and tools have already been discovered at the site, where the remains of an Iron Age broch and metalworking site can be found, with recent radiocarbon tests carried out at a midden – or rubbish tip – nearby.

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Lego Iron Age Broch teaches young and old alike

The Caithness Broch Project is building a Lego Iron Age Broch model as an “eye-catching prop” to encourage people to find out more about the construction and use of brochs, reports the BBC.  Brochs are Iron Age roundhouses, and ruins of these homes can be found in the north and west Highlands and Orkney.

Caithness in the Highlands has more broch sites than anywhere else in Scotland. Working with universities and heritage and archaeology groups, Caithness Broch Project is also planning to hold a range of events during 2017’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology. These include clearing vegetation from broch sites to better aid their preservation and running art competitions for schools.

Specialist historical Lego Builders – ‘Brick to the Past’

At a height of 40cm and covering an area of about 1.2m, the roundhouse and a surrounding landscape are made of 10,000 pieces.

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Clan Macleod attack Macdonald clan in Eigg Island massacre

Bones discovered in a cave on Eigg have been linked to a massacre of almost the entire island’s population during a clan feud in the 16th Century. More than 50 bones were found after tourists found some of the remains in the Eigg Island Massacre Cave last year. Analysis by archaeologists at Historic Environment Scotland has dated the remains to the time of the killings reported the BBC.

Macdonalds murdered in Eigg Island Massacre

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pictish-dragon-stone-found-in-orkney

Ancient Pictish Dragon stone unearthed by storm in Orkney

An ancient Pictish stone has been rescued from an eroding cliff face in Orkney. The tablet, which was buried for centuries before being unearthed during a storm, is only the third of its kind found in the islands. The stone was discovered earlier this month by archaeologist Dr Hugo Anderson-Whymark and is believed to be around 1300 years old.

It has the image of a cross flanked by a dragon on one side and a beast with the remains of a staff in its mouth on the other.

3D Model of ancient Pictish Dragon Stone

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Bronze Age Ava reveals medicinal plants in Ancient Scotland

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In 1987, a team of archaeologists unearthed a Bronze Age grave in Achavanich, an area in the county of Caithness, Scotland. Inside the grave, they found the remains of a young woman. They called her Ava, after the place where she lived some 4,000 years ago.

As Steven McKenzie reports for the BBC, archaeologist Maya Hoole has been leading a long-term research project into the site, hoping to uncover details about Ava’s life. Most recently, Hoole and her fellow researchers identified an array of pollens that clung to a clay beaker found inside Ava’s grave. These pollens suggest that Ava lived in a lush, forested region that was very different to the treeless landscape stretching across the area today.

Bronze Age Pollens found in Beaker

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Imbolc Folklore, Rites and Traditions

Imbolc (Imbolg) the festival marking the beginning of spring has been celebrated since ancient times and the Imbolc folklore that has developed over the years is fascinating. It is a Cross Quarter Day, midpoint between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. It can fall between the 2nd & 7th of February when calculated as the mid point between the astronomical Winter Solstice and the astronomical Spring Equinox.

Cross quarter days were traditionally when leasehold payments and rents for land and premises were paid, and on these days people had a little more freedom to celebrate and mark the changing seasons.

In some places in Ireland and Scotland, all work ceased on the feast and devotions at holy wells took place instead.

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Salt and Bread

The Sin-Eater: Saviour Of The Dammed

Sin Eater - The Sin-Eater: Saviour Of The Dammed

Sin-Eater

The Tradition Of The Sin-Eater

In 18th, 19th and 20th Century Scotland, England, and some Welsh communities, families placed a piece of bread on the breasts of their recently passed loved ones.

That’s not the strange part — the families then hired someone to eat the bread, believing that the practice would somehow absolve the sins of the deceased.

Where did this strange ritual come from? 

Eating food at a funeral (or shortly thereafter) is not uncommon — large family dinners often follow the death of a loved one, while drinking has been a cornerstone of wakes for centuries.

Wake - The Sin-Eater: Saviour Of The Dammed

 Funeral Wake

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Scotts View: Three Peaks - Eildon Hills from teh article about Michael Scott, the Scottish Wizard

Michael Scott – The Scottish Wizard


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The Borders of Scotland is an area steeped in folklore and fantastic stories of fairies and magical goings-on. One such tale is firmly based around a real historical personage – a remarkable man, whether or not you believe the more incredible stories about him. He is Michael Scott – the infamous Borders Wizard.

Through his studies of arcane books Michael is supposed to have tamed demonic forces to his will. His most famous act of wizardry was the reputed splitting of the Eildon Hills into the three peaks that we see today towering above the town of Melrose.

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