March 3, 2024

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A 4,000-year-old burial on a Welsh island linked to mysterious Druid wizards

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On the British island of Anglesey, off the north coast of Wales, is a 4,000-year-old Bronze Age tombstone known as ‘Bryn Celli Ddu Bach’. It is a famous 5,000 year old passage tomb. Anglesey is famous for its association with the Druids, a mysterious order of Celtic wizards, healers and astrologers. The cairn is set in a complex ritual landscape rich in megalithic monuments and ancient structures. Researchers have found rock art tablets, cremation evidence, bones, flint tools, pits and prehistoric pottery shards. What lurks deeper in the mound remains to be seen.
The Bryn Celli Ddu site is a really complicated landscape; It appears to have been used as a ritual landscape for thousands of years after it was built.
Celtic Druids arrived in Anglesey around two millennia after Bryn Celli Ddu was built, contributing to the island’s long and storied history.
In a landscape rich in Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments, Anglesey is best known for the Neolithic passage tomb of Bryn Celli Ddu, which means ‘the hill in the dark grove’ in Welsh. It was originally built with an outer circular bank and an inner moat. In the center was a ritual installation with a circle of standing stones, some of which still survive today.
About 1,000 years after it was built, it became a passage tomb. Some of the standing stones were intentionally destroyed and a mound was built over the ritual site. Inside the mound is a polygonal stone chamber, accessed by an 8-meter (26 ft) long passage. At the bottom of the chamber, archaeologists found a stone carved with a serpentine pattern. Bryn Celli Ddu was also built to coincide with the sun rising on the summer solstice. On June 21st, the longest day of the year, the sun’s rays pass through the corridor and illuminate the inner room.
In 2017, archaeologists discovered the 4,000-year-old tombstone, one of four, during a geophysical survey around Bryn Celli Ddu, which revealed that Bryn Celli Ddu was connected to an even larger prehistoric complex nearby.
Bryn Celli Ddu is located in a complicated landscape. Ten rock art panels provided further evidence for a new Bronze Age mound, along with a group of prehistoric pits. There is evidence of over 5,000 years of human activity in the landscape, ranging from flint worked from the tool making of our prehistoric ancestors to prehistoric burial mounds and pottery pits.
The Welsh island of Anglesey has a strong connection to the mysterious order of magical priests and wizards known as the Druids. Druid comes from the old Irish word druí which means wizard. A druid was a specialist in Celtic rituals from Britain, Ireland, Gaul (France) and other parts of Europe and Galatia during the Iron Age and possibly before the Bronze Age. Very little is known about the ancient Druids as they had no written language and the records written about them have a strong anti-Celtic bias. The oldest text mentioning the Druids comes from Julius Caesar in 50 BC. in Book VI of the Commentary on the Gallic Wars. Caesar also describes how the Druids engaged in the worship of God and played an essential role in Gallic society, acting both as equites (a term meaning horseman, which could be synonymous with warrior) and as judges.
Druids fulfilled many roles in Celtic society. They were healers and doctors, as evidenced by the presence of surgical instruments in their tomb. They also served as soothsayers and astrologers, as items such as dowsing rods and Coligny’s calendar suggest. The Roman historian of the 1st century AD. Tacitus wrote that druids helped defend Anglesey during the Roman invasion of the island.
In AD 60, the Roman general Gaius Suetonius Paulinus, determined to break the power of the Druids, launched a surprise vanguard attack on the island and proceeded to destroy shrines and sacred monuments.
Before completing his conquest, the Roman general received word of Celtic Queen Boudicca’s revolt against the Romans in England, forcing him to withdraw from Anglesey. In 78 AD. the Romans under Gnaeus Julius Agricola returned to Anglesey and consolidated their conquest. Anglesey’s dramatic history continued with Irish pirates, Scottish warlords, Welsh kings, Danish invaders, Viking raiders, Saxon conquerors and Norman rulers before it fell to Edward I of England and eventually became part of Great Britain. What: Ancient Origins
Image: Bryn Celli Ddu
Celal Akca

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