Geographical Distribution Of Finds Of Objects

OF THE LATE-CELTIC PERIOD IN GREAT BRITAIN1

In the present state of our knowledge no very satisfactory deductions can be made from a study of the geographical distribution of the finds of this period, partly because the discoveries have been so imperfectly recorded (more especially in Ireland;, and partly because a large number of sites which are probably Late-Celtic still remain unexplored. Another difficulty to be reckoned with is that it is only within the last few years that archaeologists have been able to distinguish between what is purely Celtic and what is Romano-British. Indeed, in many cases, in the absence of coins or other evidence, it is quite impossible to determine whether particular finds are of pre-Roman, Roman, or even post-Roman, as the Late-Celtic style of decoration was in vogue throughout the whole of the Pagan Iron Age in Britain, and survived in remote districts after the introduction of Christianity. Then, again, the fact must not be lost sight of that the greater frequency of finds in some districts than others can be accounted for by their having been covered with lakes where cran-r.ogs could be easily constructed, or on the limestone

1 A complete list of the? finds as far as recorded is given in the Archwubtgia Cambrensis, 5th ser., vol. xiii., p. 321.

formation, where rock-shelters and caves suitable foi temporary places of refuge already existed.

We will take the geographical distribution of the sepulchral remains first. It is most remarkable that up to the present no Late-Celtic- burials have been recorded in Wales, vScotland, or Ireland, although finds of objects of the period have been frequent in all three of these countries. The earlier Bronze Age burial customs may, of course, have survived after the introduction of iron, or interments of the Iron Age may have passed unrecognised owing to the rapid decay of the metal implements accompanying the body.

In England the greatest number of Late-Celtic burials have been found in the south-east corner of Yorkshire, near Beverley and Driffield. In most cases the tumuli covering the graves are in large groups, those at "Danes' Graves," near Kilbam, numbering 178; those at Arras, near Market Weighton, 200; and those in Scorborough Park, near Beverley, 170. The people to whom these extensive cemeteries belonged probably invaded Britain from the Continent some few centuries before the Roman occupation, and landing at the mouth of the Humber, settled permanently on the east coast of Yorkshire. The people in question had long skulls, and buried their dead in a doubled up attitude without cremation, which has suggested another less probable theory that they were the direct descendants of the more ancient Neolithic inhabitants of Yorkshire.

In Derbyshire one undoubted Late-Celtic burial has been found1 and there are a few others which seem to belong to the transition towards the end of tne Roman occupation or the beginning of the Saxon Pagan period. *

1 In DeepdcJe. 2 At Benty Grange, arid on Middleton Moor.

la Kent1 and Devonshire2 cemeteries contain'ng a large number of graves have been brought to light.

Isolated burials have been found in single local ties in each of the counties of Stafford,3 Gloucester,4 Dorset,s and Cornwall.9

The following lists show the geographical distribution of the inhabited or fortiiied sites of the Late-Celtic period in Great Britain :—

CAVES

Yorkshire. Dovvkerbottom Hole, Arncliffe. Victoria Cave, Settle. Kelko Cave, Settle. Lancashire. Kirkhead Cave. Derbyshire. Thirst House, Deepdale,

Poole's Hole, near Buxton. Staffordshire. Tlmr's Cave, Dovedale. Devonshire. Kent's Cavern, Torquay.

LAKE-DWELLINGS AND CRANNOGS Somersetshire. Glastonbury Marsh Village. Lanarkshire. Hyndford Crannog. Ayrshire. Lochlee Cramog.

Lochspouts Crannog. Wigtownshire. Dowalton Crannog. Co. Antrim. Lisnacroghera Crannog.

Craigywarren Crannog. Co. Roscommon. Strokestown Crannog.

Ardakillen Crannog. Co. Westmeath. Ballinderry Crannog. Co. Meatii. I, ago re Crannog.

1 At Aylesford. 2 At Mount Batten.

s At Bariastori. 4 At Birdlip.

» In the Isle of Portland. 6 At Trolan Bahow.

PICTISH TOWERS

Orkney. Broch of Ilarray.

Brocfc of Okstrow. Caithness. Broch of Ke.ttleburn. Selkirkshire. Broch of Torwoodlee.

UNDERGROUND HOUSES Aberdeenshire. Castle ft ewe. Forfarshire. Grange of Conan.

CELTIC OPPIDA AND FORTIFIED VILLAGES Yorkshire. Stanwick. Northamptonshire. Ilun.sbury. Kent. Bigbury Camp. Sussex. Mount C-aburn.

Berkshire. Northiield Farm, Long Wittenham. Dorsetshire. Hod Hill. Hambledown Hill. Maiden Castle. Rotherley. Somersetshire. Ham Iliil. Nairnshire. Burghead. Perthshire. Abt rnethy. Ayrshire. Seamill Fort. Cardiganshire. Castell Nadolig. Carnarvonshire. Trecciri.

ROMANO-BRITISH STATIONS AND TOWNS Northumberland. Great Chesters (/Esica).

Risingham (Habitancum). Westmorfland. Brough.

Kirkby Thore. Lancashire. Ribchtster. Yorkshire. New Malton. Northampton. Wellingborough. Surrey*. Farley Heath. Hampshire. Silchester. Perthshire. Ardoch. Dumfries. Birrenswark.

A study of the above lists discloses some interesting facts. It will be noticed that the caves are confined exclusively to the limestone districts of the counties of York, Lancaster, Derby, Stafford, and Devon. The lake-dwellings are found chiefly in the south-west of Scotland and the north-east and central part of Ireland, there being only one example in England and none in Wales. The brocks and laeems (or underground houses') are Pictish structures, and therefore do not occur anywhere except in Scotland, chiefly in its north-eastern counties. The Celtic oppida are most common in the south of England where the Belgic settlements predominated, but there are a few examples in Scotland. Probably a more systematic examination of the hili-forts throughout Great Britain would show that those in which large areas are enclosed by double and triple ramparts of stone or earth1 belong to the Late-Celtic period. At the present time practically nothing is known as to the age of the stone forts and earthen raths in Ireland or Wales.

Most of the Romano-British fortified sites which have yielded works of art of Late-Celtic type, although executed under Roman influence, are in the south of Scotland or in the north of England, on or near the Wall of Hadrian, or along the lines of the military roads leading to it.2 At Farley Heath, near Guildford, Surrey, numerous specimens of Kelto-Roman enamelled bronze objects have been found, and this

1 I refer here to defensive works in which the whole of the summif of the hill is enclosed. These forts are usually of approximately oval shape, and follow the conformation of the hill.

2 As, for instance, at Risingham (Habitancum) on the road going north from the Wall into Scotland, and at Brough and Kirkby Thore on the road from York to Carlisle, which passes through upper Teesdale, and thence into the valley of the Eden.

site would no doubt produce a plentiful harvest of antiquities of a similar nature if properly explored. The great difficulty, however, as we have already pointed out in dealing with the Romano-British sites, is to determine to what extent the style of the art of the objects found there can be shown to be definitely Celtic. In our lists we have only included sites from which have been procured antiquities exhibiting Celtic enamel and flamboyant ornament, or fibulae of known Celtic type.

If to the sepulchral deposits and inhabited sites just described be added all the miscellaneous finds of objects accidentally lost or purposely concealed, it will be observed that there is hardly a single county throughout England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland which cannot show one or two such Late-Celtic finds at least. Some counties are nevertheless richer than others,1 as, for instance, Aberdeen, Forfar, Perth, Ayr, Kirkcudbright, and Dumfries, in Scotland ; Antrim, Meath, and Roscommon, in Ireland; Denbighshire, in Wales; and Northumberland, Durham, Yorkshire, Derbyshire, Suffolk, Middlesex, Kent, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Berks, Wilts, Dorset, Hants, and Somerset, in England.

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