Who Were The Picts Part 2

I had originally planned part one of this blog series to be a stand-alone article, but it was obvious from some of the responses that there are some big gaps in a lot of people’s knowledge about the Celts and the Picts, and that people would like to hear more. I tend to forget that not everyone reads my regular research newsletter, which has had several articles over the years on the Celts and their origins. (To subscribe go to www.eirny.com and sign up in the right hand column.) So first a bit about the Celts as a category of people and then more specific info on the Picts.

It is known that the Celts migrated across Europe. The first official recognition of the Celts as a group was the Hallstatt culture of Austria. This article gives a good summary of the controversies and thoughts about the Celts and their migration across Europe.

But genetically, who are the Celts? We can start to answer this question by looking at who the ancestors of the people of Ireland were. First, I need to mention an issue that is sometimes problematic in genetically isolated populations. When a population is founded, the gene pool only has so many variations, and a small gene pool tends to concentrate genetic disorders. This is called founders effect. And yes, the Celts seem to suffer from this. But when did the genetic issues arrive in Ireland?

Well, a study of several ancient inhabitants of Ireland has yielded some very interesting results. It is a tiny sample, but it provides some very interesting insights. I am hoping that this sort of work will someday be able to be done on Pictish graves, as more quality archaeology is done in Scotland. The Picts do not appear to be as genetically isolated as the Irish were (more about that later), but the more DNA examples we have, the more we can begin to understand the origins of the various groups of Celtic peoples.

I ran across a very interesting article about Celtic languages during my research. I remember several years ago wandering around in some data bases that were discussing the number of languages that were spoken in the various countries of Europe. There were dozens of extinct and semi-extinct languages, many of which had Celtic origins. It really is quite amazing to consider the complexity of it all, and this article does a great job of explaining when the Celtic language arrived in Europe, and at least some of the branches that the language split into.

So back to the Picts. Why is there such an issue about finding information about them? It seems that the majority of Pictish finds have been in the form of hoards and standing stones. When settlements have been found, they are usually discovered through coastal erosion, and they are badly damaged.  This article reveals the typical Pictish site that has been excavated in the recent past, “phases I and II (of occupation) were Pictish and phases III-V were Norse; a sixth and final phase of activity was represented by a Viking-age burial inserted into the ruins of the last farmstead”.  Not exactly the most revealing discovery.

Next Time: The Foibles of Antiquarianism and More

SCA 50 Year Merchant List

Shopping is just one of the many exciting opportunities at SCA 50 Year. You’ll be able to find a very wide range of goods for sale, from supplies to “make your own” to fine finished goods that can only be found at larger SCA events. Whether you are looking for buttons to finish off an accurate piece of period clothing, complete ready-to-wear clothing, dress pins, armor, looms, chairs, jewelry, or any of thousands of other items to complete your kit or camp, chances are Merchants have something for you. Looking for a present for a pet sitter or one left at home – 50 Year Merchants can make your experience complete.

Amicia’s Amenities
Another Time Jewelry
Argent Fox
A’s Round Pottery
Ash and Griffin Pottery
Auntie Arwen’s Spices
Badger Creek Studios
Blue Dragon Glass
Board and Basket
Bucky Stuffe
By My Hand Designs
Calontir Trim
Celtic Wolf
Cloak and Dagger
Costume Ladies
Crimson Chain Leather Works
Darkwood Armory
Drachenstein Treasures
Dragon Scale Jewelry
Egill’s Woodstuffs
Elk Ridge Archery
Eriksen Exclusives
Fire Horse Pottery
Firedryk Steel
Four Seasons Tentmasters
Fudge Haven
Garb by Gwen
Giggling Wenches Handcrafts
Glier Meats
Good Girl Gone Bead
Green Mountain Leathercraft
Grey Goose Bows
Gryphon Furniture
Gulf Wars Bakery
Hammer, Fordge & File
Hannish’s Dreck
Hero’s Haven
Historical Glassworks
House of Avalon
Ice Falcon Armory
Irontree Works
It is What it Is
Jacob Gansneder
Jadi’s Silk Road
Jondalara’s Designs
Known World Treasures
Livingston Jewelers
Mostly Middle Eastern
Munitions Grade Arms
North Star Armoury
Odyssey Coffee- Food Vendor
Palmyra Traders
Past Tyme Perfumerie
Raymonds Quiet Press and Boots by Boheomond
Renaissance Arts and Design
Renboots
Revival Leather
Sartor
Snow Hawk Crafts
Starlit Studio
Tea & Comfort
The Amber Fox
The Basketman
The Haunted Bookshop
The Silk Shop
The Treasury
TLC Leathercraft
Tomas the Lapidary’s Jewelery
Traders of Tamerlane
Viking Archery Supply
Violent Discord LLC
White Wolf & The Phoenix
Wood and Antler
Ye Olde Soap Box