Before the Celts?

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Before the Celts?

Postby Nerva on Thu May 15, 2008 11:57 pm

Who were here before the Celts? OK, I know there was never an actual Celtic 'Invasion', but pre 1st Century A.D. what do we know of the original inhabitants of this Island? And more fundimentally, Who are the Irish? What do we know of the earliest inhabitants of this island???
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Re: Before the Celts?

Postby RecycledViking on Fri May 16, 2008 12:36 am

In so many words, diddly-squat :D
What we have is archaeological evidence: monuments that remained unharmed, or were slowly buried underground, or in one awesome case ritually filled with stones, burnt, and covered with earth (Emain Macha in Navan Fort), and artifacts that were ritually deposited, generally in wetlands, or dropped and forgotten, or buried to be retrieved at a later date that never came. And a few bodies buried in bogs. It's easy to come up with explanations and draw conclusions based on modern interpretation and sheer blind guesswork. There's also the rather patronizing belief that all cultures go through roughly the same order of 'development' just at different rates, and so to figure out the ancient Irish you can just check out some primitive African tribe and see the same thing as what the Irish were doing 3000 years ago.
For example on the guesswork: ritual sites and religion. Passage graves like Newgrange could have only held a very small number of people within their chamber, and the rituals they performed would have been hidden from others. (This is assuming that passage graves were used for ritual, and goes along with the old archaeological standby - if you don't get it, it must be religious!)
Another megalith type, the court tomb, had a fairly large forecourt capable of holding a good amount of people, and thus may point to a more open and less mysterious religion in the northwest of Ireland.
The enigmatic monument called a henge would, by these standards, indicate the most egalitarian religion of all: these are huge circular enclosures (around 180m in diameter!), they are clearly not for defense (they have a ditch surrounded by a bank), and they are on low areas surrounded by and visible from hilltops: the entire community and then some would be privy to the rituals and tasks taking place in a henge.
What's very interesting is that henges occur in the Boyne Valley along with passage tombs - but they are from the Late Neolithic as opposed to the Early/Middle Neolithic passage tombs. I wonder what sort of societal upheaval occured to warrant this change? If there was any upheaval at all?
So you see Martin, you just opened a barrel of snakes. Spitting cobras, in fact. And we're gonna need more than St. Patrick to clear up this mess!
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Re: Before the Celts?

Postby carraig on Fri May 16, 2008 10:37 am

(This is assuming that passage graves were used for ritual, and goes along with the old archaeological standby - if you don't get it, it must be religious!)


And don't forget another one: If you can't figure out what a monument means, say it's a solar symbol :lol:
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Re: Before the Celts?

Postby RecycledViking on Fri May 16, 2008 1:28 pm

After being disappointed last winter solstice at Drombeg, I'm fully convinced that this and other solar-aligned circles, tombs, etc. in Ireland and Britain were built to remind people of where the sun ought to be.
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Re: Before the Celts?

Postby femgeek on Fri May 16, 2008 5:52 pm

Well, Irish society is pretty much exactly the same before the 'arrival' of what can loosely be described as Celts. Celtic and proto-celtic peoples have little to no impact on Irish culture. Each change happens independently of another group or event. Different monuments and artefacts can be attributed to shifts in worship and rule. For the most part, Ireland has always had kin-based communities, and this remains evident even with the change in monument types. The burial grounds, like other prehistoric cultures, house few dead and are most often located in an area of influence and religous importance. We know a lot about Irish society, despite the lack of evidence; their homes, diet, artefacts, and even their religion.
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Re: Before the Celts?

Postby Kirst on Sat May 17, 2008 3:59 pm

Pre-100A.D is still the Iron-age period.

In Ireland it lasted from roughly 400BC to 400AD.

Before that was Bronze-age, I don't think you want to go back that far though to have some credibility for you romans being here.

You can probably work the after 100AD stuff if you want to have the idea of merchants bodyguards or emissaries, there is lots of evidence for trade, e.g. Freestone hill excavation and the Roman Burial in Stoneyford.

Or you could be out looking for Mercenaries to join your army in Britain, there is a bit of evidence suggesting it happened, like hoards comtaining pieces of hack silver and cow hide shaped ingots, as payment for thier service. There was also the weird Roman shield replica found in some bog somewhere, I haven't read this stuff in a while but there's a few other examples.

So there was definately contact, just probably friendlier than what you want.

Eh, what about just random unfriendly crowds whilst scouting for soldiers?
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Re: Before the Celts?

Postby Freebeard on Sun May 18, 2008 9:17 pm

well, before the Celts were pre-Celts. :)
before them were the pre-pre-Celts, and before them the pseudo-pre-Celts. :D
and according to the worst book ever written ('The Black Celts' by Ahmed Ali and Ibrahim Ali) the Aricans....... :?



well, ok the book is actually quite interesting in what they are tying to acheive but the way they draw their conclusions is terrible a mon avis.....

so, that explain much? this is false info though, but you'd be surprised as to how much this info is given out and taken as fact....it is scary

but anyway, it is assumed that pre-Celts were Indo-European...for many reason - arhcaeological, anthropological, etc etc
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Re: Before the Celts?

Postby femgeek on Sun May 18, 2008 10:53 pm

The Black Celts??...explain more on what the heck this is.
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Re: Before the Celts?

Postby Freebeard on Mon May 19, 2008 12:28 pm

eh, basically the book draws conclusions that the "Celts" of this isalnd and the island of Britain are immediate descendandts of some African tribes....that they mixed with an indo-european group and what resulted is what we now know as "Celts" of these isles.......hence the Celts in these islands are "Black"
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Re: Before the Celts?

Postby the_power on Mon May 19, 2008 7:47 pm

Absolutely. It's long been claimed that Ireland was the blacks of Europe, that Dubliners were the blacks of Ireland, and that north-siders were the blacks of Dublin.

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