Irish Celtic history is much older than previously thought
“DNA and Carbon Dating evidence pushes Irish history back to 2000 BC.”
It was with great interest I read an article in the Washington Post dated March 18th, 2016. It was titled, “Irish may not be Celts after all, scientist find.” It seems a grave site was discovered behind McCuaig’s Bar in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. Now why would that interest me you might ask, and that is the reason for this addition to my web site.
The grave proved to be around 4000 years old or 2000 BC. and the DNA proved they were ancestors of the current Irish (Celtic) population. This goes against the current belief the Celts came from central Europe in about 1000 BC to 500 BC during the Iron Age. Some believe this will upset some of the Irish population. I would hope it doesn’t because I believe the Irish history is much more exciting than that.
Fifteen years ago in 2000 I published a book titled, “Ancient Mines of Kitchi-Gummi.” It is featured on this web site and is sold through Amazon in both digital and printed form. I have sold over 4000 copies and it still sells well. The reason for my excitement is this DNA and carbon dating evidence provides solid support for the theory I propose in this book.
I will quote a few paragraphs to show the key features. I believe after you have read them you will be able to see how 4000 years ago the people who lived in Ireland and especially Northern Ireland were deeply involved in the Bronze Age Copper Trade between Lake Superior, in Michigan and the Minoan cultures of the Eastern Meditation.
This may have been an explanation as to why some of them left Sumer and migrated west into the Aegean. They then made the short hop over to Italy at Tarentum and the Island of Sicily. Then they continued from Sicily and the west coast of Italy on to Sardinia, Malta, southern France, Spain, western France, Great Britain and Ireland. As we can see here, Gimbutas’ and Eisler's goddess culture lead us right from the Minoan Island of Crete all the way to Ireland. This will be established in the Tracks in Stone chapter.
To avoid too much duplication, let us look again to see if the Minoan influences are apparent along this route. Yes, we will find it is as indicated later in the book. In this chapter, we are trying to identify and put a name to these people. We can easily see that the Old European culture must have accepted the alliance. But, it is also obvious, that within the large Neolithic populations of Western Europe, the trading Minoan group was for the most part, a minority.
We can find a blending of the religious symbols and activities in Spain. Here is the western most influence of the bull—in a direct fashion. We still have the bullfights today, almost a direct replay of Gilgamesh's victory over the great bull, and the Greek hero's submission and killing of the Minitar. We have the double ax picked up later by the Battle Ax people and the shaft graves, which are found in many of the cultures.
We also find a new name here in Western Europe, The Bell-Beaker or Maritime, Bell-Beaker folks. They used the double ax or battle-ax symbol in this culture on the stones of Stonehenge, which show the deepening relationships of the Megalithic people and the Minoan Marine traders. Now we must make a choice, since I do not plan to add another name to the already confusing list of cultures.
How Did These Cultures Spread?
There is one last point to be made here. How did these cultures spread? The Greeks make this clear when they describe how the Phoenicians did it a few hundred years later:
How did the Phoenicians of the narrow coastal strip of Lebanon and Palestine with their poor resources, political disunity and restricted manpower, manage to settle this network of small communities? The genius of the Carthaginians, like that of the Tyrians in Cyprus, consisted in planting but a small number of colonials and allowing them to mix freely with the local populations. To the Greeks these bastard communities were known as the Libyphoenices of Africa and the Bastulophoenices of Southeastern Spain. (30) p – 118-Not Shown)
In reality, this non-threatening approach was exactly what was necessary to promote trade. The trade and its new technologies would then win over the population, and a new culture would be created.
The description in the tale of Gilgamesh of using the wiles of one of their young women to win over the wild men of a new country is perfect. This is, no doubt, how it often happened in the real world of that time.
In New Grange we find the Sun God as part of this early 2000 BC culture. The massive stone works of the megalithic culture seems to also accompany these traders. Later in chapter 7, “Tracks in Stone”, we pick up the Sun God connection.
We can see evidence that it started in the early Neolithic farmers of Catal Huyuk and Crete. It was carried west by ship to Malta, Sardinia, southern France, Minorca, and finally mainland Spain. Then it proceeded through the Straits of Gibraltar to Portugal, western France (Brittany), southern England, and Ireland. Then perhaps, by purpose or by chance, they went across to New England, Hudson Bay, or down the St. Lawrence and Ottawa Rivers to Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan across the great lake, "Kitchi-Gummi," and into northern Minnesota. I believe these ideas of sun worship and the use of great stones were carried on the ships of early copper miners between 2400 BC and 1200 BC.
The Monolithic stones along this tract do make it evident that these early Neolithic cultures had a strong fishing and sea trade element among them at a very early period. It was already well established by 3000 BC. Also, it is evident that this trade or religious network connected a group of islands and peninsula points all the way from Crete to Ireland and beyond to the Orkneys of northern Scotland.
The Procession went like this:
Cyprus, Crete, Corfu,
West of the Greek mainland, "The Heal" of the Italian Boot.
Sicily, Malta, Sardinia (Italian)
Minorca and Majorca (off the coast of Barcelona Spain)
Almeria (on the Spanish mainland)
Lisbon (a Portugal Atlantic port)
Oviedo Province (north coast of Spain on the Atlantic)
Brittany Province (in western France on the Atlantic)
Salisbury plain, Stonehenge, Isle of Wight, Belfast, New Grange Complex (northern Ireland)
Hebrides Islands (off the Scotland coast)
Orkney Islands (north of Scotland)
The fact that these European megalithic sites existed has never been questioned. However, there has been substantial controversy about who built them, and why. We will shed very little light on that issue in this book. All we want to do is point out that these megalithic structures, especially the long boroughs, standing stones, stone circles, and dolmen appear to be located along this particular sea route from Crete to the Tin Isles. This was, in all probability, the same route taken by the early metal workers in search of raw materials.
Near the end of the monolithic period about 1200 BC, they seem to represent two different aspects of the same culture. The metal workers and the builders of the long boroughs appear to be the same people. Some would even call them the Maritime Bell-Beaker Culture.
To my knowledge, no one has ever searched for standing stones or dolmen sites farther west then Ireland, such as, on Denmark’s Faeroe Islands, or on the shores of Iceland. This could be very interesting especially if some are found. We do know they show up again on Greenland and the North American continent. They are in the Canadian Maritimes, New England, and west through Ontario to Lake Superior and into Minnesota. This has not been broadly reported since, in my opinion, our archeological community cannot readily explain it.
The religious belief systems of this culture were no longer relevant in Europe, after the Romans invaded and conquered the literate world about 150 BC. They crushed the monuments and laughed at the superstitions. The Roman governors were far removed from the spiritual side of life. They had secular laws to govern the people and calendars to tell when to plant crops.
Only in the secret societies of the Celtic Druid monks did any knowledge of the stones persist. Even this was scattered and condemned as devil worship by the Christian teachers the Romans brought along. Most of the monuments were physically destroyed, because they were said to be the works of the devil. What was not destroyed was driven underground during the Inquisitions and witch burnings. Thousands who believed in the simple spirituality of the natural world were killed. The stones could talk no more to those with no ears to hear. This is still a problem to many.
I saw this with sadness at first, but now the mere fact that I can write this without being burned at the stake is something. I am not asking you to think as I do, but I am suggesting you cannot keep these stones silent forever. People are starting to hear these ancient messages from the past. These are people who are no longer threatened by the denials of the establishment. These stones are footprints, footprints from the copper mines of Lake Superior to the smelters of the Iberian Peninsula and on to the warehouses in Ugarit or the Levant. They represent a route that lead from the mines on Lake Superior to the Bronze Age cultures of Egypt and Mesopotamia, and their armies of conquest outfitted and shielded by copper and bronze.
Some may ask the question, “Do these stones really have any connection to the copper trade or the Minoan culture for that matter?” To strengthen the connection for you, the reader, I want to examine the early history of five locations along the route: Spain, France, England, Ireland and New England area of the USA.
Along the Monolithic Track
Iberian Peninsula, Tarshish (Cadiz) and (Lisbon):
Back in our early Christian Bible, we hear of the ships of Tarshish. Some people think this is in reference to a group of traders in Spain, possibly located at Cadiz, or the massive ancient Reo Tinto Mine. However, we need not make suppositions; it is a well-accepted fact that the Phoenician culture of about 800 BC traded this far west.
It is not so clearly accepted, but according to Grolier Electronic Encyclopedia, 1992, there is some support for the idea that a monolithic trade group, we may even call them Pre-Phoenicians, did stop there much earlier. Let me quote them here:
The Beaker culture is a name given to a group of communities responsible for the spread of copper metallurgy in Europe in the third millennium BC. . . . The second major Beaker tradition probably originated in Iberia, (Spain & Portugal). The vessels of the southern Beaker people are distinguished by their bell-shaped profile. The Bell-Beaker or Maritime-Beaker culture, as it is sometimes called, developed out of the local culture represented at Villa Nova de Sao Pedro in Portugal, from which the Beaker people adopted copper metallurgy. Radio carbon dating suggests that this happened around 2500 BC. From Iberia, Bell-Beaker culture spread to France, Britain, and ultimately to Germany and the low-countries. A fusion of traditions resulted in northwest Europe, Beaker people being influenced by the battle-ax culture. . . . In Britain, the beaker people are associated with some major ritual monuments, including Avebery in Woltshire. (25) Beaker culture.
Although the monolithic tie here is not strongly defined, we know there are monolithic stone structures on the Iberian Peninsula and its islands—one of these is mentioned by Hawkins. “The Taulas of Minorca, eighteen megalithic monuments were orientated to the sun and moon.” (32) p – 121-not shown)
The mountains and the sea gave substantial isolation and protection to the river estuaries and valleys where they met the sea. These rich soils and good harbors were the ideal locations for the Maritime Beaker villages. Harrison describes this below:
It is on the Lisbon and Setubal peninsulas of central Portugal, where the rivers Tagus and Sado widen out into estuaries, that nearly all of the Portuguese Beaker sites are located. Over one hundred of all kinds have been found . . . Favored as much by climate as by its’ geography, this region supported one of the richest and most populous Copper Age societies of the third millennium in Iberia, and it is upon the settlements and in the tombs of these people that early Maritime beakers are nearly always found. (31) p - 128
It is characterized by fortified settlements, small hamlets and a wide variety of megalithic tombs and small caves for collective burial. The earliest periods of this culture are obscure, but by 2400-2300 BC it had a flourishing copper industry making axes, chisels, knives and awls in quantity, and a great variety of luxury objects. . . . (31) p - 128
In more recent times, the enigma of the stones (like Stonehenge) has melted away under the increase in technological advances. Carbon dating, for example, now tells us a time frame for Stonehenge, the greatest of these monuments. It also gives us a name for the people who were there to make and use it.
Richard Harrison in his book, The Beaker Folk, Copper Age Archaeology in Western Europe, does an excellent job putting together the chronology and movement of the "Beaker Folk.” He places the Beaker Folk there during the construction of the Henge.
Jean-Pierre Mohen does a good job laying out the chronological stages of Stonehenge:
Stonehenge l, 3100-2300 BC.
Stonehenge ll, 2300-2100 BC.
Stonehenge llla 2100-2000 BC.
Stonehenge lllb 2000-1500 BC.
Stonehenge lllc 1500-1100 BC.
(33) p -130
Mr. Mohen recognizes Beaker objects at Stonehenge, but he does not seem ready to admit they built it. In contrast, Mr. Harrison states:
Beaker pottery is also intimately associated with many of the great ritual monuments in the British Isles. . . . Much the same can be said of the great Wessex Ceremonial centers at Avebury and Stonehenge where major excavation has shown that the Beaker communities played an important roll in both the construction and remodeling. This activity was matched at Stonehenge where Beaker shreds are known to be stratified in the silting from the ditches as well as from various parts of the interior. They are generally associated with phase two of the monument’s, radiocarbon dated around 1700-1600, when the circle of blue stones was set up on a new alignment towards the midsummer sunrise. (31) p - 94, 95
These two authors may quibble some about the dates of the "Bell Beaker" associations, but they both concur that these people were there around 2000 BC to 1600 BC. The question that still seems unresolved is, “Were they there at the very first construction?” My assumption is, the Bell-Beaker pots may not have been present, but the Beaker people probably were. Remember, we believe the reason for these large ceremonial centers was to mark and honor the relationship between Father Sun and Mother Earth of these sun-worshipping societies.
More importantly, what we must not overlook is that the Beaker people were the first copper and bronze using people in the area. The colonized settlements were in close association with local sources of copper and tin. A second major point is that they were definitely a water based, sea-going folk. In fact, some archaeologist have pointed out that the early Beakers were not associated with the villages. The unusual distribution of the pottery leads some researchers to believe this item may be related to trade. I believe this is the logical assumption to make.
When speaking about the fact that most Beaker findings come from graves, Harrson states, “The result is that we are well informed about the dead and a few select aspects of their society, but we know next to nothing about the economic base of their lives." (31) p - 14
Without going into too much detail here, the concept of colonial villages established to support a far reaching trade network to secure copper could well explain the unusual distribution of these vessels and their association with the first copper and bronze artifacts.
There is a final story, if you will, about the Beaker Folk. They introduced into the formerly un-stratified (without a hierarchy) Neolithic society, "the concentration of private wealth in the hands of a few people, the rise of Chieftains and their consorts." (31) p-8
This same storyline we find everywhere—merchant sovereigns colonize. The emphasis is then put on religious ceremonies to tie the people together; the merchant kings then utilize this power-base to secure a stable trading partner. Although the trade benefits everyone and keeps the system going, the merchant king always becomes the richest. This religious organization also made it possible to organize the large numbers of people to complete Herculean tasks like building Stonehenge or New Grange. This would also allow them to mine 50 million pounds of copper—two months travel to the west of their home base.
We also have another author, Gerald Hawkins, an astronomer, whose book is entitled, Stonehenge Decoded; it gives us a similar view of Stonehenge:
Beginning about 1700 B.C. the Bronze Age proper came to Britain, and with it the final wave of construction at Stonehenge. This date is fixed within a hundred years or so by radiocarbon dating of a deer antler found buried in the fill around stone 56. (32) p - 50
The building of Stonehenge I, which began about 1900 B.C., lasted for an indeterminate number of years. Perhaps several decades several decades were required for the various diggings and stone and wood column preparation and placement. . . . We cannot know what these earliest builders were like, nor what they felt and thought about their first handiwork, . . .” (32) p - 47
About 1750 B.C. the second wave of construction at Stonehenge began. This work was done, apparently, by a different race of people: the Beaker people.
These second builders brought the first assembly of megaliths, or “large stone.” At least 82 blue stones, weighing up to five tons each, were to be set up in two concentric circles around the center of the enclosure, about 6 feet apart and 35 feet from the center. . . . This bank-bordered roadway, now almost obliterated, originally went northeast from the Stonehenge entrance and curved right to the river Avon, some two miles away. The avenue was probably used as a road for hauling blue stone from the river to the monument. (32) p - 48.
It was obvious that it was taken off some sort of boat or ship. They probably would have traveled a total water distance of 215 miles.
The last builders were, apparently, the powerful, rich, commercially active Wessex people. They were excellent craftsmen who possessed quite sophisticated tools and ornaments and weapons, of gold as well as bronze. They seem to have organized themselves into groups led by warrior chieftains, but they probably preferred trading to fighting. There is strong evidence that they were in communication with the great contemporary Mediterranean civilizations of Minoan Crete, Mycenaean Greece, Egypt, and the ancestors of the traveling-trading Phoenicians. (32) p - 50,51
Atkinson inclines seriously to this theory, stressing the importance of the evidence of a dagger carving and ax carvings as well as Mediterranean artifacts found in the burial of Stonehenge, and pointing out that Stonehenge is unique not only in the elegance of its construction but also in the fact that it is the only stone monument known to have been built by Wessex people. Therefore, it would seem not to have been part of a local building tradition, another in a continuing series, but a rara avis—a Minerva sprung full-grown from some father’s brow without ever having a childhood. Now how could such a complex structure, embodying very subtle, advanced concepts and even more advanced building techniques, have risen from nothing? (32) p 48 - 51
Now we know that they quarried and moved by ship the 82 huge blue stones, which make up the circle at the Henge—a feat similar to the well known transporting of the construction blocks for the Egyptian pyramids. Here, also, we have an actual connection to the Minoan culture. It is obvious that the necessary shipping technology to move the copper ore had reached the British Isles by this time (approximately 2100 BC).
Just to verify why the Bronze Age copper miners were in England this early, I would like to quote a short passage from J. A. Buckley’s book, The Cornish Mining Industry.
“Artifacts found on the tin sites, and identified by archeologists, indicate that the tin industry was established by the Early Bronze Age (2100-1500 BC), and was widespread by the Middle Bronze Age” (1500-800 BC).
“Historical references support this. They show a well established and fairly sophisticated tin trade between Cornwall and the Mediterranean by the 4th century BC.” (36) p - 3
The reader should be aware that this does not mean this is when the trade started, only when it showed up in the historical record. More recently, work by a small number of dedicated individuals has located about 30 ancient copper mining sites in England.
All of the sites were in use during the Bronze Age. Ross Island appears to be the earliest, with dates clustering in the second half of the 3rd millennium BC (2500 to 2000 BC). This is just prior to the beginning of the early Bronze Age in Ireland—the period associated with the introduction of metallurgy in the British Isles. The other sites were all in use at much the same time spanning the early Bronze Age and earlier Middle Bronze Age from c 1900–1200BC. But what of the evidence for the copper they produced?” (48) p - 4
This last quote make it clear someone was expanding the copper mining business west into England and Ireland around 2500 BC. This is earlier than is generally recognized, but it fits exactly into our carbon date at the mines on Lake Superior (2470 BC). It also coincides with the end of the trade, 1200 BC.
Here is another excellent example to describe the trail left by the megalithic copper traders. Because of its out-of-the-way location, the Mesolithic culture (Pre-Neolithic Agriculture) still existed with, "little change over a period of almost 3000 years, suggesting that the people there continued to live in comparative isolation in the same area over a number of millennia" . . . "c. 6240 - c.3465 bc.” (34) p - 25
The arrival of the farmers in the fourth millennia was clearly and dramatically shown in the abrupt changes of lifestyle. This change had spread to Europe from Mesopotamia over two routes, "one by land along the Danube into central and northwestern Europe and the other by sea across the Mediterranean to Spain and France, as far as the straits of Dover." (34) p - 27
It is this sea expansion we are interested in pinpointing better. A plank house, constructed in 3215 BC, gives us the best usable date. This fits well into the pollen dates for the spread of farming between 3895 BC and 2965 BC. These Neolithic farmers (Beaker folk) proceeded to build, ". . . the great passage tomb at New Grange which provided a radiocarbon date of c. 2500 BC but which is likely to have been built 600 years earlier around 3100 BC. " (34) p-10
This religious structure of these people did not originate in Ireland. The Beaker people brought it in when they colonized the place. They also brought in sheep, goats, and cattle, which were not found in Ireland before they arrived. It is believed they were imported around 3430 BC. This tells us a lot about how the colonizing took place. The colonist and their cattle and sheep were loaded on big ships and transported to the suitable locations. No doubt, promises of land and trade went along with the process. The religious centers were quickly built. This allowed the merchant or sun-worshipping priest-kings a measure of organization and control. Sites, such as this great site at New Grange, dot the countryside. There are also numerous Henge and Stone circle sites in the same part of Ireland. These date to around 2000 BC.
G - 55 New Grange Interior Author’s Sketch (33) p - 269
Were these colonists really "Beaker Folk"? I think the answer to this is yes. “Different from Britain here the beaker pottery is associated with domestic activity, as we have seen at New Grange, Knowth, Ballynagilly, Dalkey Island, and Lough Gur.” (34) p - 90
It is evident to me there were few, if any, Neolithic farmers here when the Beaker traders arrived. They took this opportunity to set up their own kick-off point for the trips west. The New Grange site is one of the most sophisticated sun sites in existence.
This connection between Beakers and megalithic is, however, also something which Ireland shares in common with Brittany and other areas of the Atlantic Europe, where Bell Beakers, popular in Ireland, also are found. (34) p - 91
This predilection for the northern half of Ireland in the distribution of Beaker pottery can also be followed in items such as the tanged copper dagger, archer’s wrist guards and the v- perforated buttons, which are usually associated with Beaker pottery in Britain and on the Continent, though never found together with it in Ireland. (34) p - 91
A substantial number of flat copper ax molds were also found. A dagger and ax mold was both found on the same rock. Also, a bronze ax was found at New Grange with an approximate date of 2100 to 1935 BC. An interesting thing happened in Ireland around 1200 BC:
The vigorous industry which began to flourish in the period around 1200 BC, and which is most easily exemplified in the Bishopsland hoard, is one which was not anticipated in the immediately proceeding centuries. It introduces a freshness into a long-established traditional industry. (34) p -131
The "action-reaction" stimulus here could be expected. Ireland’s New Grange Community, primarily one of purely "Beaker Folk" (a possible Minoan Settlement), was the ideal respite for some of the skilled craftsmen from Crete. No doubt, as the take-over by the Dorian Greeks became evident on their homeland, some of the craftsmen took their families and slipped on the next ship out to Ireland, where they may even have had kin. Enough of this took place for it to show up in the archaeological record. This is, of course, only part of my hypothesis showing up a little early.
In their westward expansion, our Minoan traders have acquired a new name, "The Beaker Folk." Perhaps, I should say, by blending with the locals they have created a new culture called the "Beaker Folk or the Maritime Beaker Culture."
We should not get too hung up on this beaker pottery, it could be something as simple as a milk or beer bottle. Neither of these items may have been used much back in the sheep and wine cultures of Crete. However, they found a real niche in northern Europe.
Do the beakers come west to North America? I am not sure. Maybe what this pot was used for was not used at the mine sites. As an example, there would be no need for a milk bottle on Lake Superior. Remember, in Europe they did not show up at a lot of the village sites. Their use was quite specific. However, the stone monuments and sun worship calendar sites did make the trip. Also, the designs of a lot of the copper artifacts are identical to those found on our side of the Atlantic.
This summary on pages 132-142 in my book, “Ancient Mines of Kitchi-Gummi” provides the real history of Ireland and the Celtic culture. A group of ocean traders made up of the original Neolithic farmers of England and The Minoan traders who moved into their communities. Within this culture the Celtic Sun-worshiping Mysteries survived in Ireland, later to migrate east inland into Europe.
You are invited to read my book and get the whole story.