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Archaeologists and biological anthropologists spend a lot of time with dead people. Both graves and the human remains contained within them provide important clues about the past. By studying the remains of our ancestors, biological anthropologists allow our ancestors to speak to us, to tell us about their lives. Human burials provide a great deal of information about disease, diet, working conditions, and population demographics.

Bones are the most common thing that biological anthropologists study. The bones can tell us about life experience, death, and even what has happened to the body after death. Patterns of physical activity leave ridges in the bone. The wear and tear on the bone and arthritis show us patterns of physical activity. Diseases and injury also leave their mark in the bones.

Bones can tell us about the kinds of diets that our ancestors had. The tissues of all living things contain stable isotopes of elements such as carbon and nitrogen, and by measuring the amounts of these elements in bone, the biological anthropologists can reconstruct ancient diets.

With regard to Irish DNA, geneticist Bryan Sykes, in his book Saxons, Vikings, and Celts: The Genetic Roots of Britain and Ireland, reports:

“We have seen some evidence of a genetic link between Ireland and Spain along the Atlantic fringe of Europe, which archaeologists are now beginning to realize was a much busier seaway than was once thought.”
Bog Bodies:

Throughout Northern Europe, bodies have been uncovered in bogs. The unusual conditions of the bog generally mean that the skin and internal organs remain, while the acid in the peat has dissolved the bones. A number of bog bodies have been found in Ireland—130 to be exact—and several, shown below, are on display in the National Museum in Dublin.

Bog Body 531

Bog Body 534

The bog body known as Clonycavan Man is shown above. One of the interesting features of this body, found in 2003, is the distinctive hair style. His hairstyle was held in place by the application of a sort of gel made from resin imported from France or Spain. This suggests that he was a high status individual with enough resources to obtain exotic foreign imports. Analysis of his stomach revealed that during the past four months of his life he had a plant-based diet. This suggests that he died in the autumn.

At the time of his death he was about 25 years of age and he stood about 5 feet 9 inches tall. He was killed by a series of blows to the head, probably by an ax. There are also suggestions that he was disemboweled. The bog where the body was found would have been on the border between two kingdoms at about 300 BCE.

Bog Body 535

Shown above is the body known as Oldcroghan Man. He was fairly tall—an estimated 6 feet 3 inches. On his left arm is a plaited leather armband. Analysis of his fingernails shows that during the last four months of his life he had a diet that included substantial amounts of meat. His final meal appears to have been different than his regular diet in that it was cereals and buttermilk with no meat.

Oldcroghan Man was killed by a stab wound to his chest. Defense wounds on one arm show that he tried to fight off the fatal assault. He was decapitated, his nipples were cut, and his thorax severed from his abdomen. The cutting of the nipple is highly significant. Sucking a king’s nipples was an ancient Irish form of submission and the mutilation perpetrated on Oldcroghan Man would have rendered him ineligible for kingship. Oldcroghan Man was probably a person of high social rank: his hands show little evidence of hard work and his fingernails were carefully manicured.

Twisted hazel ropes known as withies were inserted in cuts made in the upper arm and probably served to anchor the body to the bottom of the bog pool.

Bog Body 541

In describing people’s attitudes toward bogs, Irish archaeologist Nóra Bermingham writes:

“We see that bogs are known to be dangerous: firm ground is sought out. The bog is viewed as ground fit only for traitors and other miscreants who could not be buried elsewhere.”
The bog is often a place to which people are condemned by other people, but in some cases the bodies which they contain may have come to rest there through folly or misfortune. It many cases it is felt that the bog bodies were social outcasts who were precluded from normal burials.

The earliest bog bodies in Ireland date to the Mesolithic era and do not show any evidence of having been human sacrifices. With regard to later bodies, those from the late Bronze Age to the first millennium CE, Nóra Bermingham writes:

“Isolated, mutilated and naked bodies may represent votive offerings or severely punished individuals devoid of ritual associations.”
With one notable exception, all of the bog bodies in Ireland were chance discoveries and were not professionally excavated. The exception is the Tumbeagh body—just a pair of legs with no torso—which was found during an archaeological survey in 1998 and professionally excavated. In possible association with the body were some wooden stakes and withy. Some of the other bodies found in peat bogs had been anchored into the bog with stakes, raising the possibility that this body had also been somehow staked into the bog. The Tumbeagh body has been dated to the late fourteenth or early fifteenth century, which means it is a relatively recent body. This means that it is well outside of the prehistoric period generally associated with Irish bog bodies.

The Tumbeagh body is from the Christian era, a time when internment was in a grave in consecrated ground (i.e. a cemetery). Bodies were placed in a supine extended position, oriented east-west, with the head to the west and the feet to the east. The unbaptised were buried elsewhere. The bodies of drowned sailors, suicides, murder victims, and adulterers were traditionally buried in unconsecrated ground. The Tumbeagh body is thus an irregular burial which had been placed in the bog in a flexed position rather than extended and on its left side rather than supine. The body was not oriented in an east-west position, nor was it buried in a coffin.

Single Burials:

It is not just dead bodies that tell archaeologists and biological anthropologists about the past, but also the graves themselves: how they were constructed, the grave goods which they contain, where they are built, and how they are oriented in the landscape. All of these things provide clues about life in past times and about the structure of ancient societies.

During the transition from the Neolithic to the Bronze Age in Ireland, there was a change in the way people buried the dead. Previous, large passage tombs, such as Newgrange, had been used. Now, however, single graves were being used. This change in burial practices reflects a fundamental restructuring of Irish society. While the earlier megalithic tombs served as communal monuments in which the remains of an elite were entombed, the increased use of single graves suggests that Ireland was becoming more egalitarian at this time.

Grave 497

Grave pots 498

Shown above are displays of single graves in the National Museum in Dublin.

Originally posted to Shamrock American Kossacks on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 07:55 AM PDT.

Also republished by History for Kossacks, SciTech, and Street Prophets .

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Comment Preferences

  •  Many thanks, Ojibwa. (21+ / 0-)

    Rachel Scott of ASU has done some really interesting work on early medieval burials from Ireland.

  •  Wow (18+ / 0-)

    this leads me to wonder if there is a connection between the preservation of soft tissues in bog burials and the development of leather tanning for curraghs, etc?

    Anyway, given how bad you could end up looking, I plan to go to med school and have my cremains sealed into a nice, secure columbarium where no one can tell if i"ve had a bad hair day.

    If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

    by marykk on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 08:05:13 AM PDT

  •  Genetic link between Ireland and Spain (15+ / 0-)

    I'll be interested to see if more is found out about this.  As someone who's "black Irish" and whose grandfather was swarthy with dark brown eyes, I've wondered if this was a Celtic thing or Spanish.

    A relative traced our family back from Limerick, where we'd been for 200 years (almost all my relatives are in the cemetery in the field below the house) to Galway.  That seems to have been a stopping-point for the Spanish in the 16th century, but maybe much earlier?

    Love your diaries, Ojibway - I always learn so much.

    A comic yet realistic dignity is an extraordinary defense against life's cruel setbacks - David Rakoff

    by Knockbally on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 09:07:22 AM PDT

    •  The connections between Ireland (15+ / 0-)

      and Iberia go back to the Neolithic era. Sites in the Boyne Valley, such as Knowth, Dowth, and Newgrange contain stylistic elements linking them to Iberia.

      For the genetics, let me recommend Bryan Sykes books on Europe (Seven Daughters of Eve) and the British Isles (cited above).

      •  Really? I did not know that (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ojibwa, crose, foresterbob

        The only Spanish connection I've ever heard about (unless I did hear about it in this group, from which I've learned so much) was at Galway.  And that the city was a stopover for the Spanish Armada.  But I didn't think it made much sense that so many Irish would end up dark-haired because of a few Spanish soldiers.

        I'll look for the Bryan Sykes book - thanks!

        A comic yet realistic dignity is an extraordinary defense against life's cruel setbacks - David Rakoff

        by Knockbally on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 04:19:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Of the 7 daughters of Eve, one, whom Sykes (0+ / 0-)

        calls "Jasmin," has many descendents along the north African coast, but also along the Atlantic coasts of Spain and Portugal and also the west of Ireland. There's your Black Irish.

        The 7 Daughters book was based on mitochondrial DNA, which is only passed through mothers. The sailors from the remnants of the Armada were all male. Men don't pass along mitochondrial DNA, so it couldn't have come from the Armada.

        "Mistress of the Topaz" is now available in paperback! Link here:

        by Kimball Cross on Wed Oct 17, 2012 at 05:05:02 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Interesting, Knockbally (11+ / 0-)

      my Croom, Limerick rellies had jet black hair and eyes as well - although their skin was as fair as that of the bunch from Galway or Mayo or Tip.

      If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

      by marykk on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 09:47:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You've just described me. (8+ / 0-)

        As far as I can tell, my greatgrandmother and her parents came to the US from around the Arran Isles.  All of the first born, including me, had jet black hair and eyes.  My eyes were the first to be a bit different - they're more hazel, at times.

        But my skin is so fair, I can't stay out in the sun for long.  I burn bad, peel, and the "tan" underneath is nearly as white as the unblemished skin!  

        The other side of that family is Cherokee, and my brother inherited from THAT side.  It's always made me mad that he can tan without burning!

        •  That's pretty much me (5+ / 0-)

          or was before I became a silver fox.  Black hair, hazel eyes, and a melanoma waiting to happen.

          If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

          by marykk on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 11:04:24 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Irish and Cherokee? (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ojibwa, mayim, foresterbob

          That is one cool combo!  Hmm. . I don't remember if the folks from the Aran Islands are supposed to be dark too - although they are off of Galway. . .

          Oh, I can't tan for anything.  Just burn. Of course, my blue-eyed dad was, as a youth, white-blond, and he spent all summer turning lobster red.  With a bit of a tan in there somewhere.  ;-)

          But my mother's paternal side was very dark. My mom was pale as milk, though, with gorgeous black hair and brown eyes.  She was, as my aunt would say, a "smasher".

          A comic yet realistic dignity is an extraordinary defense against life's cruel setbacks - David Rakoff

          by Knockbally on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 04:23:25 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Probably much earlier (11+ / 0-)

      For a tale about ancient Irish Celts based on known history, myths, and legends, there's no better author than Morgan Llywelyn (she's an acknowledged expert on the early Irish, myths, and legends and now lives in Ireland).  I highly recommend Bard, since it is the tale of how Iberian Celts journeyed to Ireland.  I read the book many years ago.

      Here's Morgan Llywelyn's web site; click on Bibliography, you'll see the very long list of books she's authored, how many of them are about the ancient Celts.  Her earlier works she goes for stories; her later works are based in sound scholarship and she writes either Forewords or Afterwords to explain how much she's lifted from various legends, what's fact, what's storytelling.  At least one book (maybe Red Branch or Finn Mac Cool) has an extensive Glossary and she includes the pronunciations of Gaelic names.  (Or maybe the Glossary is in both books?  I no longer remember.)  The one thing I remember she said in the Glossary (paraphrasing) is 'The C is pronounced with a hard K sound. Always.'  It's why the Latin spelling of Celt, Celts, Celtic are pronounced Kelt, Kelts, Keltic - it's from the Greek Keltoi, meaning a people who were not Greek (apparently).  There's no K in the Latin alphabet, so the monks substituted a C for the spelling.

      [BTW, Llywelyn is also patron of a small cat shelter.  She is a cat person!  :-)  It's at the bottom of the home page.]

      In any case, between the essential facts from anthropological and archaeological texts and known histories and known myths and legends, great stories arise.

      Oh... the event that probably caused the lack of druidic knowledge to die out is tied to the Boudiccan Rebellion in 60/61 ACE, led by Boudicca, Queen of the Iceni.  About a century earlier, Julius Caesar, the arch hater of druids and their power, was trying to destroy the druids and never succeeded; he didn't even succeed in invading Britain until something like 54 BCE (though he tried the year before).  The school of the druids was on the island of Mona (Anglesey today), along with the surplus stores of grain for the Celtic tribes in Great Britain.  When Boudicca united the local Celtic tribes, killed everyone they encountered, destroyed the Roman temples, and burned everything to the ground in three towns and were on the way to the fourth, Suetonius Paulinus was back from haranguing his legions to fight the women on the shores of the isle of Mona (setting a furious pace to get back across Britain).  The Celts outnumbered the Roman army..., but while they were great at guerrilla warfare tactics, the Celts had no military discipline or staying power.  The Roman army did a pincer movement, trapped the Celts, slaughtered them because the Celtic spectators hemmed them in with the baggage wains loaded with small children and old people and they had no route to escape.  To this day, no one knows where the final battle took place, only that it was where there was a steep defile..., and Boudicca was either killed and her body not found, or she somehow made it off the battlefield and committed suicide.  Suetonius' aide-de-camp was Julius Agricola, father-in-law of Tacitus, and he's the one who has a physical description of Boudicca as being a tall woman with a deep voice and red hair down to her knees.  There were two contemporary queens in Britain at the time.  Boudicca everyone knows about, but north of that Queen Cartimandua of the Brigantes ruled; she was easily won over by Rome, so she never rebelled.  I read Tacitus' The Annals of Imperial Rome plus Caesar's The Conquest of Gaul one summer some 20-25 years ago.  Dio Cassius also wrote about the Boudiccan Rebellion, but I think I've only read quotes from him.  Interesting reading.

      In any case, with the school of the druids destroyed and most of the druids killed..., the thing that worked against them was the fact that they didn't believe in writing anything down.  Everything had to be memorized, and some people worked for 20+/- years to get all their knowledge learned.  They had Ogham, yes, but that seems to be a language best used for leaving brief messages on trees and such, not for compiling history, theology, recording song lyrics or melodies, etc.  So..., the result is that their knowledge is all lost to us and there have not been any authentic druids with druid lore & learning for nearly a couple of thousand years now.

      I do "full immersion learning."  I read everything I can get my hands on regarding a subject..., and when I'm feeling overloaded, I pick up an historical fiction work by a good author.  (I have a few favorites who reliably work from solid scholarship behind the fiction, and mix facts with the fiction.)  After I've had my fun, I go back to serious reading..., or switch topics if I can't find anything new to read..., and take up a new interest.

      I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

      by NonnyO on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 10:47:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  O/T sorta Why, oh why (6+ / 0-)

        has no one ever made a film or "Lion of Ireland?"

        If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

        by marykk on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 11:07:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I dunno.... (5+ / 0-)

          Brian Boru was certainly an interesting figure (and he was real, not fiction!)

          Llywelyn published Druids in 1991; it's about Vercingetorix, who was taken prisoner at the Battle of Alesia by Caesar, sent back to Rome to await Caesar's return.  When Caesar got back to Rome seven years later, he had the triumphal procession, and immediately thereafter Vercingetorix was executed.  I found the movie with the same title (Druids) with the exact story on a clearance table somewhere (with reproductions of things like Celtic shields found at various archaeological sites), and the quality isn't bad and a couple of the actors are well-known, but with the obscure nature of the knowledge needed to appreciate the story and the life of Vercingetorix, it's a bit much for the average person who wants the shoot-'em-ups, slo-mo car crashes, explosions, and the rest of the time-fillers that don't move the plot ahead but are just there for reasons only known to the producers and directors.

          I have resigned myself to the fact that the kind of movies I appreciate and want to see will probably not be produced any longer..., so I rarely spend money on movies (very occasionally I'll buy one if the previews look good), and I haven't gone to a theater in many years.

          I did purchase a movie recently, however.  More precisely, three in one.  The Swedish extended version of the Millenium Trilogy (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl who Played with Fire, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest).  Each DVD (with English subtitles) is @ three hours long.  There is a dubbed version of each, but the voices are not the actors, nor do they move with the actors' lips, so it's just too hokey.  I understand a bit of Swedish anyway, so I watch the ones with the English subtitles.

          Before that the ones to appreciate were Elizabeth, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, and Shakespeare in Love.

          I'm pretty picky about spending money on movies and what kinds of movies at that.  I'm looking for plot structures and good actors.  Without that, I can save my money for more worthwhile things.

          I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

          by NonnyO on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 11:35:44 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  OT note-- (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ER Doc, NonnyO, foresterbob

            I just picked up the trilogy yesterday. Looking forward to finding the time to watch it.

            •  I saw the first one... (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Ojibwa, foresterbob, flowerfarmer

              ... in the theater-length 90 minutes on YouTube before it was yanked for copyright violation, and since it was the Swedish version with English captions, I bought the extended-play version.  When it got here the (not-Amazon) shipper had not put it in a sturdy cardboard box, but in a bubble envelope and one of the fold-in sides had cracked the DVD holders inside, even knocking off a little piece of the plastic.  I'd read the first two books, got the third one at the same time as the movies and planned to wait to watch, but I had to make sure the cracks didn't extend to the DVDs or scratch it, so I watched all three of them.

              Honestly, I loved the longer version of the first one better!  I wasn't even aware parts two and three had been made yet, but apparently that's only in Sweden (altho the credits include Norwegian and Danish firms, too).

              If you've read the books (so sad Larsson is dead; he's a good author - when translated into English - and I would have appreciated reading more of his work), you can easily follow along with a three-hour movie (it stops in the middle and you have to manually click on the second half to start it for each DVD).  The extended version closely follows the books (only a few minor exceptions) so you know in advance what the story is and the language does not make much difference.

              [Clue: don't use the Swedish curse words (and Norwegians use the same curse 'cuz I heard it on the 22/7 tape from Oslo when the government headquarters blew up).  I heard them when I was a kid, hadn't heard them for years, remembered Mom said they were not nice words when I asked her about them, and while to my English-language ears they don't sound all that bad when translated into English, I was assured by a Swede when I finally wrote to one to ask the definition and correct spelling a couple of weeks ago that the curse words are not considered nice at all.  :-)]

              Have fun and let me know how you like nine whole hours of movies....

              I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

              by NonnyO on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 12:46:13 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  Have you ever written a diary about this? (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ojibwa, marykk, foresterbob, NonnyO

        Wow!  I remember watching a show describing the pincer attack, but didn't know as much about Boudiccea.  

        You may have mentioned Morgan Llwelyn before - I really must read her - the topic is fascinating, and I love history.  Especially pre-Renaissance history, for some reason.

        This is fantastic info - thanks!

        A comic yet realistic dignity is an extraordinary defense against life's cruel setbacks - David Rakoff

        by Knockbally on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 04:16:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  :-D (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          flowerfarmer, Knockbally, Ojibwa

          Renaissance history... on the continent where it happened earlier with painting and statues?  Or in England where the Renaissance was almost a century later was almost all in literature which gave us Shakespeare, Marlow, Spenser, Donne, and the like?  I like the movie Shakespeare in Love for the simple reason I get all the inside jokes embedded in the script and the story - I had classes on Shakespeare and his plays, plus Renaissance Literature; the costumes and music are fantastic!  Plus which, Henry VIII and Elizabeth I had a lot to do with being patrons of the arts and education, so they "set the stage" for Renaissance literature in Great Britain.

          Oh, and I also have a minor in Art History; my special likes involve Paleolithic and Neolithic artifacts which spills over to Celtic art and artifacts, plus architecture in very old buildings that still exist, including the old Romanesque and Gothic cathedrals..., and some of that all ties in with my earliest known ancestors and my genealogy research..., and some of my English ancestors were from where Boudicca's Iceni tribe lived, and others were from the north of England where Cartimandua, her contemporary, was queen.  No connection to either one via documents, of course, since documents don't go back that far.... But:  It's all connected in a generalized timeline, one before records were kept and one after (I have proved seven countries of origin for my ancestors; I don't know where they came from before that).  Oh, and who knows but maybe some of my ancestors were settlers who founded and helped populate England or Ireland where the Anglo-Saxons and Vikings invaded more than a thousand years ago, then came back as farmers, merchants, and traders and settled those regions....]

          I haven't written diaries on these things because I do genealogy research where everything must be documented..., and while I have quite a lot of this stuff memorized because of the "full immersion learning" I do with reading everything I could get my hands on regarding subjects which fascinate me (and they are legion; my bookshelves are in sections, some taking up an entire six-foot tall set, or more), I'd have to go back and find things online where the same things I know have been documented.

          Back to Historical Fiction - there are a FEW good authors who engage in it (Morgan Llywelyn is one, yes, and probably the most famous since she is a very prolific writer, but there are others), stick to the facts and add contemporary quotes by contemporary persons who participated in historical events, and all in conjunction with what was written two millenia ago.

          In this case, the one who relied heavily on Tacitus and Dio regarding the Boudiccan Rebellion was Pauline Gedge who wrote a book entitled The Eagle and the Raven in 1978 (totally not to be confused by a book of the same title about something entirely different by James Michener - something I didn't know existed until I did a title search on Wikipedia a few minutes ago).

          Gedge's story is lifted straight out of Tacitus and Dio, even though the fiction part is mostly in private conversations that did not make it into the official versions of the historical events of some 30-35 years as written by the Roman historians.  [I got the impression that Tacitus was a gossipy little hen from the way he writes of events in Rome.  Really, some of the early works by world-renowned authors - and "leaders" like Caesar - makes them seem like petulant little Chatty Cathys and braggarts.  Seeing them for the humans with feet of clay that they were is quite enlightening.]

          One need no longer buy the books by ancient writers.  The copyrights (if ever there were any in modern times, like say, for translators) have long since expired.  If you know the title and author, do a Google search and there are some university web sites that have acceptable translations by these same authors and you can read the books online as .html or text pages.  Of course, if you are a bibliophile like me, then nothing will do but to get the books so you can refer back to them for quotes... and fill your bookshelves.  Or, there may be free versions on Google Books (but they'll give you the books they're now charging for with re-publishing them first; sometimes one must really dig for the free versions), or perhaps on Internet Archive ( not to be confused with which is totally different).

          When you become old like me, you will have long since filled the bookshelves and have no more space to put any more, so you'll end up putting them in boxes that take up a lot of closet space.  Go to your local stationery store (or maybe a large firm that uses lots of paper, like a college) and get the empty cardboard boxes with lids on them, take them apart, re-glue them straight (they're often askew and the glue doesn't hold as tight as Elmer's glue, so I make sure the ends have nice 90 degree angles), put water-proofish  decorative contact paper on both the box & lid, and they become handy cartons in which to move to a larger place where you can put more bookshelves and have all your books out and handy.

          I've had insomnia most of my adult life, so the quietest thing to do to keep one's mind occupied in the dead of night is to read......... (altho both my parents were avid readers, so I kind of come by this acquiring knowledge for the sake of knowledge rather naturally as an inherited trait).


          I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

          by NonnyO on Mon Oct 15, 2012 at 12:29:41 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  I had read that the earliest Irish were dark haire (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ojibwa, Knockbally, marykk, foresterbob

      d and shorter... and following waves of newcomers were taller and included the red haired etc.

      The muddle of the earliest myths and stories have echoes of this apparently... waves of invaders over time and the fifth on the list were the Tuatha Dé Danann who preceded the Gaels.../ Celts and of whom there are many mythic stories of their legendary figures.

      Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie (hah...)

      by IreGyre on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 03:12:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I've heard that too (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        marykk, Ojibwa, foresterbob, flowerfarmer

        That the original inhabitants (or one of the settled groups of inhabitants) was dark, and perhaps the red haired and blond people were the Norse?

        A comic yet realistic dignity is an extraordinary defense against life's cruel setbacks - David Rakoff

        by Knockbally on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 04:25:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  no, Celts, came much earllier than the Norse... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Knockbally, Ojibwa

          and they had plenty of blond and red haired among them.. the Celts ranged very widely... there are even red haired mummies in the arid lands on the Chinese western borders... who wore woven wool plaid garments....

          The red haired Irish (apparently of Celtic origin) were in Ireland for quite a while before the Irish tribe the Scotti moved to the Western side of Scotland and became so dominant there that their tribe name became the name of that land... and one of the earliest Scots if not the earliest we know of were the Picts and they were if I am not mistaken... dark haired and not too tall... just like the early Irish.

          Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie (hah...)

          by IreGyre on Mon Oct 15, 2012 at 05:36:06 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Oh, okay! (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Thank you.  I've heard all this history in bits and pieces, but I don't have a whole view of it.  I have heard of the Picts, but I guess I didn't think them as being in Ireland.  

            Were they in Ireland?  Or were the dark-haired early Irish a group of people not Celt not Pict not Norse - something else?

            Fascinating stuff!!!

            A comic yet realistic dignity is an extraordinary defense against life's cruel setbacks - David Rakoff

            by Knockbally on Mon Oct 15, 2012 at 07:07:15 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  A favorite book when I was younger (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ojibwa, ER Doc, marykk, foresterbob

    Was Life and Death of a Druid Prince, which reconstructed the life and death of the bog body called Lindow Man. It was a great treatment on the subject.

    “If you are irritated by every rub, how will your mirror be polished?” - Rumi

    by Jaxpagan on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 11:42:03 AM PDT

  •  Thanks, Ojibwa, this has become a regular Sunday (6+ / 0-)

    treat for me. My sister had her MtDNA analyzed a few years as part of the NGS' Genographic project. We've got northwest Iberian DNA in the stream, and it links to Ireland and the Levant as well according to the charts they sent. Phoenicians or Atlanteans? ;)

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