Megalithic manufacturing in Britain

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Megalithic manufacturing in Britain

Postby Boreades » 11:32 pm

My father-in-law, by the family name of Nicholls, comes from an old line of seafarers with relatives in the Channel Islands, Cornwall and Wales. He was explaining to me why there are so many Nicholls in Cornwall and Wales, because of the high volume of shipping between the two. Shipping metal ore was a big trade. I was curious why if all the mines were in Devon and Cornwall, and the coal was in Wales, why were all the metalworks and foundries in Wales as well, and not in Devon and Cornwall? The answer is that for (say) one ton of metal ore, you need a lot more tons of coal (even if it's the finest Welsh coal) to smelt the ore. So, it is much more pragmatic to move the ore to the fuel than the other way around.

So what? (you might say).

As someone with a Celtic ancestry, I've always been a trifle miffed with the Trad.Archaeo's (TA) toeing the party line of the Romans invading the barbarian north. But the Celts had better chariots, better technology, better science. Better lots of things. It's just the Romans had better organised military muscle, and the victors write the history. Part of the TA story repeated ad-nauseum is that fine art bronze work only came to Britain from the Mediterranean area. But why? Britain had tin, it had copper, and it had the fuel to do the refining. Any megalithic manufacturers and traders worth their salt would do the sums. Move the high-bulk raw materials the minimum necessary distance before you produce the smaller higher-value items that are worth transporting over longer distances. The Megalithic British Isles had tin in Devon and Cornwall. It also had copper in a surprising number of places. Avoca, in the Wicklow Mountains of Ireland, Llandudno, Llanymynech and Machynlleth in Wales, Alderley Edge in Cheshire, Amlwch in Anglesey, also in North Wales, Shropshire, Coniston and southwest Scotland.

Ref: http://www.copper.org/education/history ... opper.html
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Re: Megalithic manufacturing in Britain

Postby Jacqui » 2:46 pm

Arthur and Stonehenge: Britain's Lost History (by Emmet J. Sweeney) seems to argue along the same lines. Since no-one knows where bronze began it may well have been a British 'invention' rather than a Mediterranean import. It certainly explains the mythos surrounding Arthur and the sword in the stone and the mystical as well as military overtones.
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Re: Megalithic manufacturing in Britain

Postby Iona » 9:23 am

Seems to me the TA party line is Roman-centric too. I've been looking at place-names in Ayrshire and surmised that the Kil part of Kilwinning, Kilmarnock, Kilbride etc. = cil = cell = Culdee.

Culdees, I read, were the earliest Christians in Scotland. The term Culdee is associated with the the term cil. According to Chambers dictionary the word cell is ultimately derived from the Latin celare (to cover). It is, of course, also cognate with the Germanic Keller - as in Bierkeller - and a wide range of IE words. Which would suggest that Culdees were named after the cells they inhabited.

Yet according to the same dictionary Culdee derives from (I quote) Old Irish cele de, servant or companion of God, Latinised by Boece into Culdei(pl) as if cultores Dei.

Further, Culdee is uncannily similar, both in appearance and pronunciation, to Chaldee - an adherent of the early Syriac church. Chambers defines the term Chaldee as: relating to Chaldaea, an ancient region of S Babylon ... a soothsayer (rare); a member of the Chaldaean church.

However it stops there but delving more I ascertained the ultimate derivation of the name Chaldea to be from the Assyrian word Khaldu, which means 'Land of Tin'. It referred to the southeastern section of the Caucasus mountains, which at one time was the main, if not the sole, source of the Ancient World's tin - not counting the Far East.

The Chaldeans were therefore instrumental in the evolution of the Bronze Age and as such came to be rich, influential and very numerous. They are generally better known as Hurrians, Uratians and Aramaeans - all being names which connected them with Ararat, the sacred mountain of their homeland.

Eventually the tin was worked out and most of the population was forced to go further afield - hence the collapse of the civilisation and the splintering of the Chaldean population as groups spread south and west across the Middle East. One such group, known to us as the Hebrews, settled in the land of Canaan (Land of the Khena-ani, or Purple People), whose language they adopted.

In partnership with the Phoenicians - a sea-going people - they explored and found an abundance of tin and other minerals in the British Isles. Around Loch Lomond there is a legend that some of the earliest inhabitants of the region were Jews and Egyptians.
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Re: Megalithic manufacturing in Britain

Postby Donna » 9:28 am

Were the Culdees/Chaldeans the same people referred to as Caledonians by Tacitus et al?

The Chaldeans were renowned astronomers as well as great tin traders. They're sometimes confused with the Babylonians rather than the Ionians.
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Re: Megalithic manufacturing in Britain

Postby Boreades » 2:45 pm

Coincidentally, re Kilwinning

There is a tradition that, after the Templar fleet left La Rochelle, some of the Knights went to Scotland and placed themselves under the protection of Robert Bruce. The same tradition holds that these Templars appeared at the battle of Bannockburn (led there by Angus Og Macdonald) at a crucial moment in the battle and tipped it in the Scots favour. The battle took place on St. John the Baptist's day (June 24th, 1314), after which Robert Bruce instituted the Royal Order of Scotland, Royal Order of H.R.M. and Knights of the R.S.Y.C.S. and established the chief seat at Kilwinning.
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Re: Megalithic manufacturing in Britain

Postby Mick Harper » 3:47 pm

Both Portugal and Switzerland are arguably 'Templar' states. Scotland too. By the way, I've been trying to get hold of a general history of Switzerland with no luck. Can anybody advise? English only, prettykins, my Swiss is rustische.
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Re: Megalithic manufacturing in Britain

Postby Iona » 10:16 pm

Switzerland is famously a neutral, if not outright secular, country, hardly likely to harbour a fanatic religious order. It's possibly tempting to see a connection between Templars and Switzerland based on banking; unfortunately, the first Swiss bank was established in 1741, quite a bit later than say Italy or Holland.
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Re: Megalithic manufacturing in Britain

Postby Mick Harper » 11:25 pm

Remind me, what's the connection between the Templars and a fanatic religious order?
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Re: Megalithic manufacturing in Britain

Postby Iona » 7:20 am

The Templars were soldiers of Christ or at least of the Pope and formed specifically as a Crusading order to protect pilgrims in the Holy Land and to fight the infidel. One of their most famous supporters was Bernard of Clairvaux, a zealous reformer who urged Catholics to go on crusades whenever possible, including the Albigensian Crusade.
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Re: Megalithic manufacturing in Britain

Postby Royston » 9:00 am

Boreades wrote: I was curious why if all the mines were in Devon and Cornwall, and the coal was in Wales, why were all the metalworks and foundries in Wales as well, and not in Devon and Cornwall? The answer is that for (say) one ton of metal ore, you need a lot more tons of coal (even if it's the finest Welsh coal) to smelt the ore. So, it is much more pragmatic to move the ore to the fuel than the other way around.

It seems that charcoal was used rather than coal to smelt metal ore. Kilns can be relatively portable compared to ore extraction sites?
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