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CELTIC-L  February 2008

CELTIC-L February 2008

Subject:

Re: Thinking Celtic (was Re: Old list memories)

From:

Fhiona MacGhilleRhuadh <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

CELTIC-L - The Celtic Culture List.

Date:

Wed, 6 Feb 2008 16:27:45 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (207 lines)

Hello John and everyone

lol- you folks are going way too fast for me to keep
up! (so I hope I dont appear rude in not replying
right away to posts in the discussion my query
started.)

Thank you all, for your thorough and informative
replies to my query.

My previously mentioned reference comes from Barry
Raftery, Pagan Celtic Ireland:The Enigma of the Irish
Iron Age Ch10 p.225-228 At the risk of being
redundant, I have included relevant quotes below.

"...almost every object of La Téne type which survives
is of undeniably native manufacture...there is still a
striking disparity between teh quantity of Late Bronze
Age objects from the country and the meagre tally for
the La Tene Iron Age. It thus seems strange that a
warrior aristocracy supposedly responsible for
imposing so many aspects of its culture on the
indigenous population (language, customs, and methods
of social organization) should have had almost no
impact on the archaeological record." 

p225

"...there is alomost total absence from teh Irish La
Tene horizong of so much that is typical and
diagnostic in La Tene areas outside the country.
Virtually the whole range of normal La Tene domestic
material is miising from Ireland, as are the
belt-fittings, the varied mounts and fittings for
horse and cart so common abroad, the great majority of
personal ornament types, the coinage and above all
else, the poterry. The burial record and the almost
negligiblesettlement evidence do not in any way
conform to what was normal in any of the areas from
which the Irish La Tene tradition is said to have
originated. 

If colonization of Ireland had taken place, it ought
to be possible to isolate a chronologically defined
horizon of imported objects (or objects closely
related to or derived from those in the alledged
homeland). It should also be possible, in an ideal
situation to indicate the region outside the country
from w hich came the innovating influences and
traditions...In no instance, however, has the
existence of an intrusive horizon been demonstrated. "

P226
"...the La Tene horizon in eastern England is almost
wholly distinct from that in Ireland. Above all, the
inhumation burials with square-ditched enclsures,
which are such a widespread and characteristic feature
of the Iron Age in Yorkshire, are unknown in Ireland."

P226-7

"...It is clear that the terms "La Tene" and "Iron
Age" in Ireland are not synonymous. This is especially
true for hte south of the country.Here, the marks of
La Tene cultural traditions are scant, and in most of
Munster and south Leinster, La Tene remains are
entirely absent...Some writers...have considered the
possibility of a long survival there of later Bronze
Age traditions...Yet the earliest historical documents
do not indicate that the south was any less "Celtic"
than other parts of the country."

The "Celtic invasion theory" as I have mentioned,
never sat well with me, for the cultures which arose
in pre-history along the Atlantic Fringe seemed to
express material continuity, esp. in their megalithic
structures which are far reaching throughout those
lands, albeit with some variance in expression over
time and locale- but with enough similarity to lead
one to suspect that there was some kind of cultural
interaction and shared language.

So, for myself, that meant the invasion theory was
insufficient in the face of archaeological evidence. 

John wrote:
> > In a related genetic text, it appears that the
> largest
> > percentage of mDNA in the British Isles, is not
> Celtic
> > at all, but traces back much earlier to the
> Mesolithic
> > people wandering about after the ice retreated.
> 


I am not suggesting, by any means that genetic
genealogy is the end all and be all. It isnt. It is a
potentially useful science in its infancy.

However, that being said,  it is yielding some very
interesting, thought provoking preliminary results.
Some have been replicated, some have not- not to
mention the various arguments among researchers
regarding the use of markers, how many, which ones
etc. 

But preliminary results are provocative enough,as to
have shed light on the inadequacies and errata of
earlier theories of who the Celts were, and how they
came to inhabit the areas in which their descendents
are found today, necessitating that some old theories 
be overturned and reconsidered. 

One area in which my own conclusions were lacking, was
in the realm of linguistics. But this sub-area too has
been satisfied with the references supplied by
Kenneth.

I am no expert, only a humble seeker. But, I have long
felt that the scholars have been wrong in several
respects as regards the Celts- I have  favored the
idea of cultural continuity pre-dating the Iron Age
and fhave suspected a time dating  back to the
Mesolithic (and according to some authors that I have
been perusing of late, to the late Paleolithic, which
makes sense.) 

What I think is that the Celts have always been there,
in the lands we recognize today as "Celtic" (Ireland,
Scotland, Wales,etc)  descendents of the much earlier
people of the Upper Paleolithic, and Mesolithic
periods. I also think these late Paleo and Mesolithic
"Celts" came to be the indigenous people of those
lands. Scholars just failed to recognize them as such.
I dont think there is any such thing as a Celtic
homeland, or physical geographical location that can
be identified as a place of origin. And I do think
that the "Celts", while not a nation, were at the
least a distinct people, with thier own culture,
which, genetics seems to bearing out.

In my mind, the DNA of the Mesolithic people who
settled along the Atlantic Fringe, in what we now tend
to accept as Celtic areas, were the Celts, or at
least, the forbears of the people we would come to
call the Celts. (This idea may come to hold true for
other areas in Continental Europe formerly inhabited
by Celtic tribes, but I cannot comment on that as my
studies have focussed on Ireland and to a smaller
extent Scotland's Highlands and Islands) 

I am not suggesting that culture is genetic- it is a
complex interaction of nature and nurture, time,
place, enviromental influence, evolutionary necessity
and adaptation, cultural exchange and so on.

Culture, and how it is transmitted, evolved and
altered, is an extremely complex social phenomena,
which cannot be explained thorougly by using only one
discipline. It must be studied using an
interdisciplinary approach, and even then we will
problably never fully understand its  complexities
fully-especially in hindsight.

But I do beleive that genetic genealogy is an
important additional tool in a vast interdisiplinary
tool box which may play an important role in helping
us to understand the movement of peoples across the
earth,  how the various peoples in the world came to
be where they are, and how they and their cultures
evolved to be what they are today- which ultimately
may serve to help us appreciate our fellow man in all
of his expressions. 

In the case of genetic genealogy, I dont think it is
very useful in determining one's origins, as this
field of inquiry deals mostly with deep ancestry. So
if one is looking to confirm ancestral connections in
say for instance, Cork, where Aunt Mary says great
great great Grandpa is rumored to have come from, one
may be very disappointed or confused especially if
results show origings in the Mediterranean for
example. But for finding out where your ancestors may
have been during the Mesolthic or Neolithic periods,
well, it may be good for that, if that is where one's
interest lies.

Ok. Im rambling now. Time for a rest.

Thanks all
Fióna 






 






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