PDA

View Full Version : Bronze Age Celts



eaglewolf
February 10th, 2001, 01:50 AM
Transfered

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

-- Posted by mol on 7:00 pm on Dec. 31, 1969

Let me help get conversation going...I figured I would start a new topic based on the timeline. (Everyone else do the same.)

Tell me a little about the Celts during the bronze age...doesnt look like much information about them during this period. Were they advanced in any way...did they have anything that other civilizations didnt? What really made them stand out?

Just a few questions. (I love history.)

:)





--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

-- Posted by Scathach on 7:00 pm on Dec. 31, 1969

Oh sweet Goddess! I do need to do more research! Good topic, mol! I use to have this beautifully done hardback book upon the Bronze-Age Celts...which I will have to pick back up again.
mol, is this upon things they used? (Metals, weapons, gathering techniques, religions, etc?)





--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

-- Posted by mol on 7:00 pm on Dec. 31, 1969



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Quote: from Scathach on 9:57 am on Feb. 8, 2001

mol, is this upon things they used? (Metals, weapons, gathering techniques, religions, etc?)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Yes...I am interested on the technology at the time..and how they advanced and why? Why...meaning...did they raid other civilizations technology...did they invent "new" things...etc.

And a look at their religious practices during that specific period in time.

Blessings.

mol
February 10th, 2001, 11:44 PM
Ok. This transferred thread isnt that long...so lets get it going again.

Bronze age Celts!

Lets hear your thoughts.

Ariannon
February 14th, 2001, 03:15 AM
The Bronze Age (from 3,000 BCE to 700 BCE) was a time of major adjustment and transformation for the Celts. Between the late Neolithic and early Bronze Age, due to increasing population and increasing pressures on limited resources (productive lands, for example), it became necessary to defend these agricultural settlements against neighboring peoples and invading marauders. The development of fortified settlements of different kinds, and battle axes and other weapons, show an increased level of aggression and competition among groups of people for limited resources. During the period between the late Neolithic and early Bronze Age, massive henges and palisades were erected across the Celtic World, indicating a change in societal structure and ritualistic beliefs. Farming communities began to develop as defended settlements, scattered throughout the countryside. In certain areas it seems probable that a hill-fort may have served as a focus of social organization.

to be continued.....

Ariannon
February 14th, 2001, 03:24 AM
continued from previous post...

These defended farmsteads are generally called forts. The forts were mainly circular in design and the lands within the circle contained living quarters, food storage areas, buildings for animals, and ceremonial and communal activities (i.e.a wedding or grain grinding). The forts were surrounded by an earthen bank or stone wall and ditch. The lands outside the fort were used for cultivation and also for domestic animal grazing. There was only one entrance into the fort, which was closed at night, and the domesticated animals (cattle, pigs, horses, sheep, etc.) were brought inside every night to keep them safe from the attacks of wild animals and thieves. The remains of over thirty thousand Celtic ring forts have been found, and it is possible to trace these forts from townland names. Some ancient Celts lived on "crannogs" which were either artificial islands or natural islands improved by artificial means in the middle of lakes or bogs. These crannogs/islands were built up with layers of different materials, usually peat and brushwood, but logs, stones, straw, rushes, and animal bones were also used. Crannogs, which commonly contained only one house, were surrounded with fencing made of timbers, with extra timbers driven in to help support the foundation. These crannogs were also used by important people in times of trouble as they were easy to defend. The remains of over two hundred crannogs have been found throughout Ireland alone, but only a few of these have been excavated: At Lough Gara (during a drainage project)and Ballinderry Lough. Because the crannogs tend to be rather damp, the moisture in the ground has preserved many artifacts which would have completely decayed under drier conditions. Archaeologists investigating the crannogs have found wood and leather objects and even the remains of fabric; the timbers used in crannog construction were able to be dated fairly accurately by counting the tree rings in each piece of wood, and through the use of radio-carbon dating. Objects that were used in the smelting of metals have also been discovered, and it seems likely that the inhabitants of the crannogs, raths, and caiseals made all of their own weapons and tools. During this period the two-wheeled horse- or pony-drawn cart was also developed, which in Ireland was called a "carbat", later translated into English as "chariot". Water transport by this time was very well-developed, both by sea and via rivers and lakes.

continued...

Ariannon
February 14th, 2001, 03:35 AM
continued...

Metalworking for the production of tools and weapons became a major preoccupation for the people of the late Neolithic-early Bronze Age. The people who would later become known as the Celtic tribes were well advanced in metalworking and other skills over their more classical contemporaries, as evidenced by the complexity and technological superiority of the artifacts that have thus far been recovered from archaeological sites. The casting of copper tools became common practice after 3000 BC, and gradually various substances, tin and lead for example, were added to the copper to make it easier to cast, and also to extend the quantities of copper available. Considering the distribution of raw materials across Celtic Europe, Britain, and Ireland, it is evident that access to these materials varied, but this led to the exchange of both raw and finished materials over short and long distances to service the needs of those who had no local access to them. Gold was obtained from the Wicklow Mountains in Ireland, amber from the Baltic area and western Jutland, copper from many sources both inside and outside the islands of Britain and Ireland, and tin from Cornwall, Brittany, and Spain. As tool-making technology advanced during the mid- to late Bronze Age, agriculture also advanced with the making of metal plows and sickles, and agricultural surpluses began to occur. Trade on a large scale could only be financed by economic surpluses, which became available with the advances in agriculture. In a simple society, based mainly on subsistence farming and herding, the surplus of agricultural produce, combined with a geographic distribution of metals and other raw materials, did not go far enough to make everybody wealthy, and the emergence of a social structure began to evolve. From this period onwards the line of continuity which leads directly to the historic Celts may be traced in its essentials from the archaeological evidence. This continuity is identified archaeologically by the successive Únetice, Tumulus and Urnfield cultures of the Central European Bronze Age. The developed Únetice culture, named after the type-site south of Prague, appears to have emerged from the fusion of Battle-Axe and Beaker peoples and their immediate descendants, although elements developed from the former and their south Russian antecedents seem to have been the stronger of the two. Local development towards more clearly marked divisions within society was accelerated. This is shown most clearly in the disparity of grave furniture between the burials of the ordinary people and the aristocratic tombs of warriors and their consorts."At this time there began to be a differentiation between social classes based on ordinary people, skilled workers and craftsmen, and the emergence of the ruling warrior-elite, whose power enabled them to amass fine goods and raw materials not available to most others. Evidence of the increasing complexity of burial rites can also be seen in the vast number of henges, dolmens, and mounds constructed at this time throughout western Europe and the islands of Britain and Ireland. There is evidence, too, that Bronze Age agriculture was not simply a means of subsistence, but took on a more ritual and/or spiritual significance. A deposit of organic material identified as the possible remains of a brewed drink was found in a beaker at North Mains, Strathallan, during excavations in 1978/9. The site was a timber circle, bank and ditch (dated to 2330 ± 60BC, in the transitional period between the Neolithic and the Bronze Age) together with several later Bronze Age cist burials. The beaker lay in one of these, accompanying the skeleton of a young woman aged around 25 years. The cist, situated in the centre of the timber circle, had remained partially sealed, hence the unusual survival of the organic material. Pollen analysis revealed a cereal-based drink flavoured with meadowsweet - perhaps something between mead and ale since meadowsweet is known as a flavouring of mead. The radiocarbon date was 1540 ± 65BC. In addition, plant debris survived inside a beaker in a Bronze Age cist at Ashgrove in Fife, the slabs of which had been carefully sealed with clay. Pollen analysis revealed large amounts of immature lime pollen and meadowsweet, which again was interpreted as the possible remains of mead, but was unfortunately not radiocarbon-dated. Analysis of organic residues on pottery found near the stone circle at Machrie Moor, Arran, also revealed immature pollen - probably from broken-up flower heads - interpreted as possibly indicating the presence of mead or honey; although it was not possible to recreate recipes from the remains, nor to accurately date them. Each of these examples of the organic residues of Bronze Age brewing - the only ones I know of from Britain - were found in a ritual rather than a domestic context.
By the late Bronze Age, the ancient farmers had learned something of fertilizers and good soil. Archaeologists have recently discovered the use of man-made soils dating back to the Bronze Age in the Shetland and Orkney Isles. "Unusual evidence of Bronze Age ingenuity has been found on Shetland, with the discovery of Bronze Age fields constructed out of man-made soils resting on pure sand in the southern part of the main island. The fields surround an occupation mound at Old Scatness on the Sumburgh Peninsula, . . . The evidence suggests the site, like the similar settlement-mound at Jarlshof a mile away, has been inhabited for over 3,000 years. The Bronze Age fields, discovered in excavations directed by Steve Dockrill of Bradford University, consist of turf, seaweed and manure built up over time on what had originally been a machair landscape of grass-covered sand. The soils, known as `plaggen soils', were intensively cultivated to grow beard barley. Similar plaggen soils have been found at Tofts Ness on Sanday in Orkney, and at a few sites elsewhere in Scotland, but are not yet known elsewhere in Europe." (9) In addition, there is evidence that the Celts were way ahead of their more 'classical' contemporaries on the continent not only in agriculture, but also in metalworking, without which agriculture would not have seen such advances. When the transalpine European Celts began an expansion around 900BC they were already possessed of great skill in metalworking, and especially in the use of iron (Old Irish = iarn) to make tools and weapons. They were able to cut through the impenetrable forests of Europe, opening roadways and new fields for agricultural and livestock uses. Of course, Celtic roads were built of wood; the Romans later built over the tops of these with stones. A number of these ancient Celtic roads have been discovered recently, not only on the European continent, but on Ireland, as well.

Comments?

Ariannon

mol
February 14th, 2001, 12:22 PM
Heh, not time to read right now...but at lunch time...YES! Thank you for all of the information. See you soon.