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The surprisingly modern origins of myths

The new TV series Britannia, that has won plaudits as heralding a new generation of British folk-horror, is obviously not meant to be strictly historic. Instead director Jez Butterworth provides us a graphic re-imagining of Britain on the eve of the Roman conquest. Despite its violence and insanity, this is a society bound together by ritual below the head Druid (played Mackenzie Crook). But where does this notion of pre-conquest British beliefs come from?

Contemporary resources of this period are extremely thin on the ground and were mostly written by Britain’s Roman conquerors. No classical text gives a systematic account of Druidical ritual or perception. In reality, little was written at length for centuries before William Camden, John Aubrey and John Toland took up the topic in the 1500s and 1600s. But it took later antiquarians, such as William Stukeley writing in 1740, and William Borlase in 1754 and Richard Polwhele in 1797, to completely develop their thinking.

Popular notions of pre-Roman Britain now derive from the intricate Druidical theories: the bearded Druid, possessor of arcane knowledge, the stone circles, the ritualistic use of dew, mistletoe and oak leaves in dark, wooded groves, and the ultimate terror of human sacrifice and the bacchanalia which followed.

Ancient disputes

The antiquarians were a disputatious lot and their disagreements can seem baffling, however underpinning them were basic questions regarding the very first settlement of the British Isles and its spiritual history. In specific, the antiquarians inquired if historical Britons were monotheistic, practising a “natural” religion anticipating Christian “revelation”, or even polytheistic idolaters who worshipped many false gods.

The answer for this question determined how the antiquarians understood the monumental stone structures made by this past culture. Were Stonehenge, Avebury or the antiquarian wealth of Devon and Cornwall not just relics of idolatry and irreligion but also signs of the supposed grip the Celts formerly had over the territory? Conversely, when the stone circles and other relics were signs of the struggle by an ancient people to make sense of the sole authentic God before Roman Catholicism tainted their faith (recall these antiquarians were Protestant thinkers), then a God-fearing Englishman might claim them as part of his heritage.

Stukeley thought Britain’s initial settlers were eastern Mediterranean seafarers — the so-called Phoenicians — and they brought Abrahamic religion with them. In research of Stonehenge (1740) and Avebury (1743), he argued that the early peoples descended from these first settlers lost sight of these beliefs but kept a core grasp of the basic “unity of the Divine Being”. This has been represented in rock circles, therefore “expressive of the nature of the deity with no beginning or end”.

By this reading, Druidical veneration of celestial bodies, the Earth along with the four components wasn’t polytheism but the worship of the very extraordinary manifestations of this single deity. Moreover, that this worship was conducted in the vernacular and relied upon the evolution of a teaching caste intended to inform the people meant that Druidical faith was the forerunner of Protestantism.
Borlase, surveying Cornwall’s antiquities, rejected much of this. He scoffed at Stukeley’s Phoenician concepts, stating it was foolish that Britain’s primary folks were foreign traders, and he argued that Druidism was a British invention that crossed the channel to Gaul. By drawing ancient, Biblical and modern sources, Borlase developed an elaborate accounts of the Druids as an idolatrous priesthood who exploited the ignorance of the followers by producing a sinister atmosphere of mystery.
According into Borlase, Druidical ritual was bloody, decadent, immoral stuffed with lots of sex and booze, and only persuasive in atmospheric all-natural settings. Druidical power rested fear and Borlase indicated that Catholic priests, with their use of incense, devotion to the Latin mass and superstitious belief in transubstantiation, used exactly the very same methods as the Druids to preserve power over their followers.

Going over old ground

Poems for example William Mason’s Caractatus (1759) helped popularise the concept that the Druids directed British resistance to the invading Romans — but from the 1790s sophisticated metropolitan observers treated this stuff with scorn. Despite this, Druidical theories preserved considerably influence, particularly in south-east England.

Most significant were the “many Druidical vestiges” centred in the village of Drewsteignton, whose title he thought has been derived from “Druids, upon the Teign”. The cromlech, called Spinsters’ Rock, in local Shilstone Farm encouraged much speculation, as did the exact result attained by the “fantastic scenery” of the steep-sided Teign valley.

Spinsters’ Rock, Dartmoor.

Matthew Kelly, Author supplied

Polwhele’s influence has been felt in Samuel Rowe’s A Perambulation of Dartmoor (1848), the first large topographical description of the moor. Many Victorians first encountered Dartmoor during Rowe’s writings however the conversation of those texts in my history of modern Dartmoor reveals a new generation of preservationists and amateur archaeologists didn’t take Druidical theories quite seriously.

For the overdue Victorian members of these Devonshire Association along with the Dartmoor Preservation Association, scepticism has been a indication of sophistication. If a previous generation had discovered Druidical traces in most Dartmoor’s natural and human features, these people were more likely to view signs of agriculture and domesticity. Grimspound, once a Druidical temple, was believed to be a cattle pound.

Despite Protestant expects during the Reformation that superstitious beliefs linked with landscape features could be banished, the concept that the landscape retains religious mysteries we know but can’t explain, or the stone circles of antiquity excite these feelings, remains common enough. Indeed, Protestantism came to terms with those feelings as well as the Romantics saw the beauties of the British landscape as the supreme manifestation of God’s handiwork.

But Butterworth is working according to an older tradition. Rather like his antiquarian predecessors, he’s made a mostly imagined universe from a scattered classical references along with a whole lot of accumulated legend and myth. Whether Britannia will re-enchant the British landscape for a new generation of television audiences is not possible to state, but my hunch is that those lonely stones around the moors, like the Grey Wethers or Scorhill on Dartmoor, are likely to entice a fresh cohort of visitors.

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Ancient

2,500-Year-Old Chariot Found – Complete with Rider And Horses

Chariot dating back to the Iron Age has been discovered in Yorkshire, making it the second time in two years there has been such a discovery.

The discovery was made in a small town with the name of Pocklington in Yorkshire on a construction site where homes were being built. Now work on the homes has been halted while a full excavation takes place starting from October. What is interesting about the find is that not only has a chariot being discovered but also the horse’s skeletons that pulled the chariot and the human remains of the driver.

The managing director of Persimmon Homes in Yorkshire confirmed that an archaeological discovery of significant importance had been made. That discovery is a horse-drawn chariot from the Iron Age. He went on to say that excavation is ongoing by archaeologists who will date the find along with detailing it.

During the Iron Age, it was common practice to bury chariots. What the archaeologists were not expecting to find was the remains of the rider of the chariot and the horses that pulled it. The find dated back to 500 BC and at the time it was the only find of the kind in 200 years. To date, there have only been 26 chariots excavated in the UK.

Archaeologists said that it was unusual for horses to be buried along with the chariot and human remains.
Paula Ware the managing director of MAP Archaeological Practice Ltd said:

“The chariot was located in the final square barrow to be excavated and on the periphery of the cemetery. The discoveries are set to widen our understanding of the Arras (Middle Iron Age) culture and the dating of artifacts to secure contexts is exceptional.”

In the Iron Age, the chariot was seen to be something of a status symbol owned by those with money. Including horses in the burial of human remains of such a person is unknown. It is something that has the researchers puzzled.

The Dig Revealed Numerous Artifacts

Archaeologists found pots, shields, swords, spears, and brooches among the many findings. These all gave researchers a good look into the lives of the people who lived more than 2,500 years ago. Yorkshire has been a good spot to find the remains of the Arras culture, which have been very well preserved. Around 150 skeletons were found in the region during 2016, with researchers believing the skeletons were those of the Arras culture. The skeletons along with their possessions were found in the Yorkshire Wolds, a small market town.

The Iron Age

This is a period of time in Britain lasting 800 BC to 43 AD when the Romans arrived.

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Michael Tellinger Deepest Anunnaki Mysteries in Human History [FULL VIDEO]

Michael Tellinger says Southern Africa holds some of the deepest Anunnaki mysteries in all of human history. What we are told is that at around 60,000 years ago the early humans migrated from Africa and populated the rest of the world.

It estimated that there are well over 1,000,000 (one million) ancient stone ruins scattered throughout the mountains of southern Africa. Various tools and Anunnaki artefacts that have been recovered from these ruins show a long and extended period of settlement that spans well over 200,000 years.

Scientist and researcher Michael Tellinger discusses the Anunnaki Ruins, evidence in support of Zecharia Sitchin’s revolutionary work showing that these Extraterrestrial beings created us using pieces of their own DNA, in order to mine gold on Earth for them. The more work he does on these beings called the Anunnaki, the more mysterious and also the more devious they become…they are not necessarily what we think they are. It’s turning out that where they came from– Nibiru, could actually represent a star system rather than a planet, with its sun being a brown dwarf. Further, the gold they were extracting from Earth could have been used for a device that concealed their activities from other consciousnesses even more advanced than themselves.

Source: Disclosed TruthTV

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Scientists Are Finally Certain What Caused The Collapse Of Maya Civilization

Even though the ancient Maya civilization was very advanced in every scientific field, it still fell apart about 1,000 years ago. Scientists have considered many reasons for this historic collapse, but none of them wasn’t certain. Maybe, however, until today.

Applying modern methods, scientists managed to confirm their theory of collapse. They further presented specific numbers of how much dry the climate came to be at the time.

Lake Chichancanab on the Yucatán Peninsula was located near the center of the popular Maya civilization in order to serve as a climate indicator.

In the middle 90s, scientists detected variations in the balance of heavy to light oxygen isotopes in shells dropped on the lake’s floor. This was a sign that the last years of the Maya civilization were very dry.

At the time, scientists didn’t have the proper devices to measure how dry the period was before and after it. In other words, whether it was so dry it managed to destroy a whole civilization.

However, according to a recent paper in Science, Central America’s environmental conditions did change with drastic steps.

During the dryness period, Lake Chichancanab’s water levels fell. Hodell et al.

Cambridge University student Nicholas Evans measured oxygen and hydrogen isotopes in water molecules from gypsum sediments of the lake floor.

He and his crew realized there was a drop of between 41 and 54 percent in yearly rainfall within the lake range in a period of over 400 years.

Moreover, humidity declined between 2 and 7 percent. Although this number doesn’t sound dramatic, it still had a serious impact on drying.

The evaporation, on the other hand, had a severe effect on the agricultural products. Rainfalls were also probably down by 70 percent.

No society would have had the food supplies to survive such an event, including the Maya civilization.

The whole Maya society didn’t die with the end of the Late Classic Period. However, a large number of people did die along with the technology which greatly degraded.

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