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European Celtic Tribes

The historical Celts were a diverse and predominant Western and Central European culture of the Early Iron Age Europe, from the 8th to 6th Centuries BC.  Today, the term often refers to the cultures, languages, and people that are based in Scotland, Ireland, and other parts of the British Isles and Brittany in France. 

Given the changes in languages over time and the migration of people, the relationship between modern-day Celts and their ancient forbearers is a contentious issue among scholars.  Some scholars now believe that the ancient Celts did not live in Britain but were confined to the European continent, with evidence of settlements interpreted as Celtic located as far east as Turkey.  

Today, there are six "living" Celtic languages from two groups Gaelic (Irish, Scottish Gaelic, and Manx Island) and Brittonic (Welsh, Breton, and Cornish).  Four languages have substantial numbers of native speakers - Irish, Scottish Gaelic, Brittonic, and Welsh.  The other two, Cornish and Manx (Manx Island is located between Britain and the Republic of Ireland), almost died out in modern times but more recently have enjoyed a revival.

By the 5th Century BC, vigorous tribes had spread outwards from their original homeland east of the Rhine, in places such as Hallstatt and La Tène.  The Hallstatt culture (Hallstatt is present day Austria) developed out of the Urnfield culture of the 12th Century BC (Late Bronze Age) and followed this by the La Tène culture, the classic Celtic culture of the later Iron Age.  This began around 450BC and is named after Lake Neuchatel Switzerland where a large amount of weaponry from this culture was found last century.

By the later Iron Age (La Tène period) with the advantage of their iron weapons, the Celts had expanded over a wide range of lands being as far west as Ireland and the Iberian Peninsula, as far east as Galatia (central Anatolia, Turkey) and as far north as Scotland. 

Celtic tribes of Britain and Ireland
Before the spread westwards of Angles, Saxons and Vikings, Britain and Ireland were inhabited by people speaking Celtic languages.  Who were they?

Native Tribes of Britain

The Celts

Ancient Warriors - Episode 02: The Celts (History Documentary)
This Ancient Warriors series from the Discovery Channel is an excellent look at the warrior groups and armies that shaped history.

How the Celts Saved Britain - HD - 1 of 2 (BBC) - A New Civilisation (2009)
Provocative two-part documentary in which Dan Snow blows the lid on the traditional Anglo-centric view of history and reveals (in part 2 of 2) how the Irish saved Britain from cultural oblivion during the Dark Ages of 400-800AD.

"How The Celts Saved Britain" (part 2of2) Dark ages and the Celts - BBC 2009
In this second program, Snow follows in the footsteps of Ireland's earliest missionaries........Celtic skin boats

Barry Cunliffe: Who Were the Celts?
Shallit Lecture given at BYU on March 17, 2008. The Celts living in the middle of Europe were the fearsome opponents of the Greeks and Romans and in 390 BC they actually besieged Rome.  The classical writers have much to say about their 'warlike' activities but where did they come from?

A Celtic Fort Village in the Iron Age
Presented by Phil Bennett, Castell Henllys, set amongst the wild hills and forests of Wales was a Celtic 'homestead', between 600BC and the first Century AD.  From settlement to abandonment, all aspects of Celtic life is examined at war and in peace.

Reconstructed Celtic houses - Castell Henllys

Celtic Life in the Iron Ageceltic village
See some of the skills and technologies from the Iron Age.

The Celts - Lost Treasures Of The Ancient World
Europeans went through cultural phases from the Ice Age and developed into the Celtic culture.  Most Celtic people were farmers.  Their cultural life was farming villages.  Read more about Celtic Farming.

The drawing gives some idea of their lifestyle.  If you look closely, you will notice the gates with guards protecting the village. 

One of their methods of storing grain would be in a pit underground. 

Celtic men assembling a hot steel ring onto a wooden wheel for their carts and chariots. 

Woven wicker sticks were coated with mud and animal dung and this was how they built the walls of their round houses.  They also built square cabins using logs. 

Woven wicker was also used for building boat frames, then they used animal skins making them waterproof with a thin layer of tar over the skins.  More reading about this method of proofreading is found here:  Oval Shaped Coracle Boats

Celtic legent about Egyptian Princess

An old Irish legend about an ancient Egyptian princess


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