Review: The Celtic World, Jennifer Paxton

Rating: 3 out of 5

This is quite directly an overview of the Celts as it is understood by the most recent researchers: Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, Man, Ireland, Britanny, Gaul and Galicia are treated alongside a brief look into the Hallstatt and La Tene cultures — though not all of these places at the same level of detail. Literature, art and modern conceptions of the former peoples are all treated in some detail, and the connection of the past to the present is done very nicely. Continue reading “Review: The Celtic World, Jennifer Paxton”

Warham Camp

Warham Camp is quite a spectacular site, even if the place is not quite the same as two millennia ago. It still retains a lot more of the original scope than Bloodgate Hill, and it’s classification as “the best preserved Iron Age fort in East Anglia” makes it a worthwhile place to visit.

Continue reading “Warham Camp”

Bloodgate Hill Fort

There have been very few places I have visited which have been named as ominously as ‘Bloodgate Hill’. This might lead one to think about ritual sacrifices or large-scale battles that took place here, but I really don’t know much about the origin of this name. What I can say is that a review I read of Bloodgate Hill Fort, specifying it as “a place only the keenest of hill fort enthusiasts will find interesting” was probably accurate.

Continue reading “Bloodgate Hill Fort”

Review: ‘In the Land of Giants’, Max Adams

In the Land of Giants: Journeys Through the Dark AgesIn the Land of Giants: Journeys Through the Dark Ages by Max Adams
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

High 2.5.

I think this work is too complicated to follow easily — it is not only a travelogue and narrative history but also stretches a bit into modern politics but more into archaeological descriptions. While individually all of these may be very enjoyable, the book was missing structure. Continue reading “Review: ‘In the Land of Giants’, Max Adams”

Review: ‘The Ancient Paths’, Graham Robb

The Ancient Paths: Discovering the Lost Map of Celtic EuropeThe Ancient Paths: Discovering the Lost Map of Celtic Europe by Graham Robb
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This could all be a complete fallacy and nothing in here be true, but there’s a limit beyond which one stops believing in coincidences and trust that this could have been an actual fact. ‘The Ancient Paths’ and the theories postulated here crosses that limit for me. Continue reading “Review: ‘The Ancient Paths’, Graham Robb”

Newgrange (Brú na Bóinne)

Ireland has grown on me since 2015. Every time I go there, I discover something new and something beautiful. The last time this discovery was Newgrange, or more accurately, the Bend of the Boyne — Brú na Bóinne — which stands for a larger area than Newgrange alone (including approximately 40 passage tombs).

What is Newgrange? Who built it? What do we know about it?

The short answer is that we know nothing definitively, and have a lot of guesses. We know it’s old — older indeed than most man-made structures in the world. We know that the present layout for both Newgrange and Knowth (a second major structure in the same area) is a reconstruction based on the best guesses of the archaeologists who uncovered these places in the ’60s.

Knowth: one of the three major passage tombs at Brú na Bóinne

The what can also be answered by the generic term “passage tomb”, built by the “passage tomb builders”. How innovative. In reality, this reflects what we don’t know. We cannot possibly imagine after fifty-two (!!!) centuries have passed (and at least thirty-three of those without essentially any written legacy!) that we can know or understand the mind of those neolithic architects. What motivated the people to come together to construct such magnificent buildings…

What we do know is that they line up with astral events: Knowth with the spring and autumn equinoxes; Dowth (the third, smallest, and least well preserved of the major passage tombs) with the setting winter solstice sun; and Newgrange with the rising winter solstice sun. What an amazing experience it could have been, in a world without technology, in a world where even the furthest explorers and traders had perhaps not seen the waters beyond the Celtic Sea, to stand on the right day and see the life-giving sun warm the carefully placed central stones in the middle of the life’s work of their preceding generations.

Who were their gods? Who were their lords? Who were they? What were their names?

We shall never know, lest ‘The Light of Other Days’ comes true (and with a minor sadness I see I have not reviewed this book), but what we can know is our feelings after the remoteness of five millennia. What we can imagine is what we would be like if we were there and then. And what we can have a guess at is how alike those people are to us. But we shall never know.


The Celts

EDIT: Oh horrors, seems that the embedding of the first video has been prohibited. I will leave it here for a direct link to the video though. 

EDIT 2: I decided to add a video of less quality for the first video so there’s no going to other sites needed except as an option. 

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This song has seemed to make itself a companion of good thoughts for me. The rhythm and the touch of the music, all of it put together, it fits well. I had not seen the video before I thought to search for it on YouTube for this post, but having looked at it I can see that it adds to the pictures created in my mind. Not perhaps as it could, but still well enough. Some of the scenes reminded (or rather, made me think) of ‘Storms in Africa’. I wonder if that has a video (an easy search, to be true, reveals that it… does indeed. Namely just down below:)

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The ‘Storms in Africa’ was one of the first songs/thoughts that I saw actually conveyed the  feeling of the possibility of a storm (natural, that is) in Africa. Few other things have done it as well, I would say. These two Enya songs have to be my favourites from the last period of listening to her music (along with other calmer artists).

Otherwise, did I want to say anything? Might be I’ve done it already… two songs after all say much and more, especially when such thoughtful ones as the two here are posted.

‘The Celts’ makes for better thoughts though; I will listen to it again.

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