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Alice Roberts goes in search of the Celts and their treasures in a narrative history to accompanying a new BBC series.
We know a lot about the Roman Empire. The Romans left monuments to their glories and written histories charting the exploits of their heroes. But there was another ancient people in Europe - feared warriors with chariots, iron swords, exquisite jewellery, swirling tattoos and strange rituals and beliefs. For hundreds of years Europe was theirs, not Rome's. They were our ancestors, and yet the scale of their achievements has largely been forgotten. They were the Celts.
Unlike the Romans they did not write their history, so the stories of many heroic Celtic men and women have been lost. And yet we can discover their deeds. . . you just have to know where to look.
From Denmark to Italy; Portugal to Turkey Alice Roberts takes us on a journey across Europe, revealing the remarkable story of the Celts: their real origins, how they lived and thrived, and their enduring modern legacy
Using ground-breaking linguistic research, in addition to the latest archaeology and genetics, Alice Roberts will explore how this remarkable and advanced culture grew from the fringes of the continent and humiliated the might of Rome.
The Celts accompanies a substantial BBC series presented by Alice Roberts and Neil Oliver, and showing in October 2015.
An insight into the very earliest Scythian culture and clearly demonstrates the importance of horses to this society, and the association between social status and horses. Another kurgan, imaginatively named Arzhan 2, was excavated more recently, between 2001 and 2003. This burial mound is somewhat later, dating to the seventh century BC, but still an early Scythian monument. Importantly, this mound had escaped the looters’ notice – it was intact, and contained over twenty graves. Among these.
Lot of British Iron Age gold came from the continent. Indigenous gold mining had practically ceased during the Iron Age. Bronze Age Britons had been mining gold, but then there was a hiatus until the Roman period, when gold mining, especially in Wales, took off again. The drop-off in demand for indigenous gold is curious. Was there simply enough coming in from the continent to remove any need to mine it locally? Perhaps the drive to accumulate gold in order to demonstrate wealth and power was.
With a range of other items that suggested he was fully intending to hold parties in the afterlife. On his wagon were placed goblets and a set of nine gilded plates, and nine large drinking horns had been hung around the chamber. While the horns themselves had rotted, the gold bands decorating them had been preserved in the tomb. Some of these bands were so wide in diameter that the horns they encircled must have been truly huge. Too large, in fact, to have come from domesticated bulls. Those.
Other Celtic languages, ancient and modern. This wasn’t a mere sprinkling of Celtic loan-words, but something much deeper. In the end, it was the density of the Celtic words and forms in Tartessian which convinced John that Tartessian really was the oldest attested Celtic language. In his book about the south-western inscriptions and the Tartessian language, John writes that ‘the long-held spell of the Hallstatt and La Tène cultures on [ideas about] the origin of the Celts must begin to loosen.’.
The Atlantic. All along the Atlantic seaboard, from Portugal to Scotland, archaeologists have found similar artefacts, spanning a period from roughly 1300 to 700 BC. This ‘cultural complex’ includes socketed bronze axes, leaf-shaped bronze swords, lunate spearheads, V-notched shields and feasting gear, including cauldrons, roasting spits and flesh hooks. The cultural connectivity between these places – modern Ireland, Britain, France, Spain and Portugal – is such that archaeologists talk about.