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THE PICTS

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Bianca
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« Reply #15 on: December 01, 2007, 07:36:43 pm »








Europa

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   posted 09-17-2006 09:02 PM                       
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                                    Uncovering the burial mounds of Bronze Age Scots





CAROLINE WICKHAM-JONES

FOUR thousand years ago work began to erect the great earthen burial mounds that comprise the Bronze Age barrow cemetery at the Knowes of Trotty, in Harray, Orkney. There are at least 16 barrows - or graves - in two rows, nestling between the edge of the farmlands and the foot of the moorland. Many were raised upon natural mounds to enhance their prominence.

It is a spectacular site, even today, and there are indications that in the Bronze Age the Knowes of Trotty was a cemetery of special significance. The barrows were built to honour the dead of the local farmers and represent a change in burial ritual away from the communal interments of Neolithic farming sites like Maeshowe and more towards individual burials that often incorporated the use of fire to cremate the body. Burial in the Bronze Age celebrated the individual and often included grave goods, perhaps as an indication of status and for use in the after world.

Sadly, sites like this have long attracted attention. Earlier diggings into the mounds removed much of the evidence that might have been of use to archaeologists of today, but finds of gold and amber objects with one of the burials in the 19th century add support to the theory that this was a notable place. Goods like these would have been of great value and were generally rare in Bronze Age society. Although the gold was Scottish in origin, archaeologists suggested that there may be links in the craftwork with artefacts found around the Wessex area of Stonehenge where similar objects were made.


Unlike many other ancient sites in Orkney, the Knowes of Trotty remains relatively unvisited.
In more recent times Orkney Archaeological Trust have been working at the Knowes of Trotty. The Trust have carried out both excavation and non-invasive survey work to better understand the site. Their findings reveal the complexity of the surviving remains and, though it is unlikely that it will ever be excavated in its entirety it is possible to learn much by looking at the bumps within the landscape. Carefully targeted excavation can then be used to reveal the nature of particularly interesting areas.

The Trust re-excavated one of the barrows opened in the 19th century to have another look at the internal features. The stone-lined burial cist - or chest - was found to comprise an elaborate structure with large flanking side stones. The mound on which it was set had been flattened at the top and covered with stone slabs. A stone cairn was laid over the cist, then covered with earth. The final effect would have been impressive to those who visited 4,000 years ago – a stone-lined hillock, with a steep-sided earthen mound sitting on top.

Elsewhere on site the excavations have revealed small pits for cremations that were dug into the flanks of the barrows after the primary burial had been made. This indicates the cemetery was used for centuries. Excitingly, the Trust's excavation work has also uncovered traces of a substantial stone structure on the hill slope just above the barrows. This may well have served as a cult house during the burials and other rituals carried out there. Excavation work later this year will take place to uncover more of its secrets.


On the web







                                              Orkney Archaeological Trust





The Knowes of Trotty is an evocative location that tends to be overlooked by those who come to visit the well-signposted remains of Neolithic Orkney. It is a clear indication that the sophisticated society that raised the monuments of Neolithic time continued with both local developments and external influences into later periods.

It's easy to imagine those who came here to bury, mourn and communicate with their ancestors in the second millennium BC. The importance of the cemetery today is recognised by Orkney Islands Council, which not only provides support for the on-going archaeological work but has also added visitor amenities (car park and wood-board path) near the historic site.

There are rarely many people here and the Knowes of Trotty provides an opportunity to visit one of Orkney's more important archaeological sites without the crowds that other locations attract.

Caroline Wickham-Jones is an archaeologist who lives and works in Orkney.

http://heritage.scotsman.com/places.cfm?id=1242462006 
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Bianca
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« Reply #16 on: December 01, 2007, 07:38:11 pm »








Heather Delaria

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   posted 09-19-2006 09:39 PM                       
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Yeah, great topic. I always felt there was an Atlantis conection with the Picts, too, but I guess that all came from Robert E. Howard's writings.

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Bianca
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« Reply #17 on: December 01, 2007, 07:39:36 pm »



A depiction of Saint Columba from about 565AD,
urging Picts on Iona to become Christians

HILTON ARCHIVE/GETTY









                                                   The truth about the Picts



                    They have been dismissed as savages who resisted the march of civilisation.

    But the remains of a monastery found in the north of Scotland suggest the Picts have been wronged






By Ian Johnston
Wednesday,
6 August 2008

The Picts have long been regarded as enigmatic savages who fought off Rome's legions before mysteriously disappearing from history, wild tribesmen who refused to sacrifice their freedom in exchange for the benefits of civilisation. But far from the primitive warriors of popular imagination, they actually built a highly sophisticated culture in northern Scotland in the latter half of the first millennium AD, which surpassed their Anglo-Saxon rivals in many respects.


A study of one the most important archaeological discoveries in Scotland for 30 years, a Pictish monastery at Portmahomack on the Tarbat peninsula in Easter Ross, has found that they were capable of great art, learning and the use of complex architectural principles.






                                   
« Last Edit: January 18, 2009, 08:20:00 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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Bianca
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« Reply #18 on: December 01, 2007, 07:40:49 pm »












The monastery – an enclosure centred on a church thought to have housed about 150 monks and workers – was similar to St Columba's religious centre at Iona and there is evidence they would have made gospel books similar to the Book of Kells and religious artefacts such as chalices to supply numerous "daughter monasteries".

And, in a discovery described as "astonishing, mind-blowing" by architectural historians, it appears that the people who built the monastery did so using the proportions of "the Golden Section", or "Divine Proportion" as it became known during the Renaissance hundreds of years later. This ratio of dimensions, 1.618 to one, appears in nature, such as in the spiral of seashells, and the faces of people considered beautiful, such as Marilyn Monroe. It can be seen in Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, the Alhambra palace of Granada in Spain, the Acropolis in Athens and the Egyptian Pyramids, but was thought to have been too advanced for the Picts.

"The Picts have always been an attractive lost people, they are one of the most interesting lost peoples of Europe," said Martin Carver, a professor of archaeology at York University who has worked on the site since the mid-1990s, and recently written a book detailing the findings. "The big question is what happened to them and did they ever really make a kingdom of their own."

The answer to the latter question seems an emphatic yes, based on the findings at Portmahomack, which is remote today but would have once been a key point on sea routes in the North Sea. "They would have been dreaming of a New Rome and a new world connected by water rather than Roman roads," said Professor Carver. "They were the most extraordinary artists. They could draw a wolf, a salmon, an eagle on a piece of stone with a single line and produce a beautiful naturalistic drawing. Nothing as good as this is found between Portmahomack and Rome. Even the Anglo-Saxons didn't do stone-carving as well as the Picts did. Not until the post-Renaissance were people able to get across the character of animals just like that."

In addition to stone carving, the archaeologists found evidence that vellum, chalices and other religious artefacts were being made at the site on a considerable scale. Vellum, a form of paper made from animal skin, would have been used to make highly decorative gospel books. The cemetery, containing graves of middle-aged and elderly men almost exclusively, and a piece of stone bearing a tantalisingly incomplete inscription provided other key clues as to the Christian nature of the site.

"The most important piece had a Latin inscription. That's as common as muck in the Mediterranean, but extremely rare in Scotland," said Professor Carver, who previously led research into the Anglo-Saxon burial mound at Sutton Hoo, Suffolk. "It says 'This is the cross of Christ in memory of Reo...' and the rest is broken away. Unfortunately the key bit, the name of the person, is missing. It means there's someone around there who knows how to write in the eighth century. That itself is a revelation."
« Last Edit: January 18, 2009, 08:22:19 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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Bianca
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« Reply #19 on: January 18, 2009, 08:23:53 pm »











Tribes that resisted the Romans



Picts was the name which the Romans gave to a confederation of tribes living beyond the reach of their empire, north of the Forth and Clyde.

The name makes its first known appearance in the works of a third-century orator, Eumenius, and is assumed to come from the Latin word pingere, "to paint", suggesting they painted or tattooed their bodies.

But what name they called themselves, or what language they spoke, we do not know.

One thing that puzzled outsiders is that they were the last people on these islands to trace their lineage through their mothers. The Venerable Bede, writing in 731, said that the Picts had come from mainland Europe,presumablyScandinavia, to northern Ireland to ask for land, but the Irish sent them on to Scotland.

Hence a myth that the Picts were given Irish wives, on condition that they became matrilineal.

Other wild stories included that they were dark-skinned pygmies who hid in holes in the ground during the afternoon, but had magical powers at night.

Probably they were a coalition of indigenous tribes brought together by the Roman threat.

In Bede's lifetime, the Picts were defeated in war by the Northumbrians and converted to Roman Christianity.




Andy McSmith




Interesting? Click here to explore further

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/the-truth-about-the-picts-886098.html
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