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It's a complicated one. It's something that would be very difficult to find evidence for. Roman authors (who incidentally tended to all be living in Rome and had never visited Britain) wrote very little about the tribes of Ancient Britain. Indeed our knowledge of the names of them mainly comes from crudely drawn maps with names scrawled across regions. Occasionally names are found in carvings and some Iron Age tribes feature more prominantly than others in the records. It appears that some, like the Votadini who occupied the Lothians were likely to be on good terms with the Romans as a large number of high status goods have been excavated from their main hillfort. Other Iron Age sites have yielded evidence of anhilation by the Romans, presumably because they opted to fight the incommers.
So in some parts of the country (and I'm really thinking Scotland here), we can build up a patchwork map, knowing that a large number of areas were conquered by the Romans, while some were absorbed into the periphery of the Empire. What there is little evidence of is how these tribes interacted with each other. We can speculate that some got on, and some kicked ass (Boudica's lot, the Iceni appear to have gone after anyone, not just the Romans), but what we can't say is that some joined together in an anti-Roman coalition - there's just no evidence for it, and it would be hard to find conclusive proof. there is evidence that Iron Age people traded extensively with each other - often goods from overseas will be discovered at sites around the UK, indicating trade between a great number of people from the manufacture site to the final resting place. So it's fair to speculate that the tribes had a lot of good and bad contact with each other, but whether this extended to the creation of a signalling system is another thing.
The more I think about my original question, the more I think I was speaking crap. Why would the indigenous population, which was fractured into different tribes, want a system that stretched halfway across the country, particularly as the Roman tended to move in groups in one area, and wouldn't have fanned out accross half of Scotland to move north. And secondly, before the Roman invasion, there was no concept of a large army, so why would they have thought of a signally system on a large scale. I could see them setting up a small, localised system, but not a large scale one. Rather it is the Romans who appear to have introduced an early signalling system on the Gask Ridge which stretched from central Scotland to the northwest.
So in conclusion, I withdraw my earlier comments.
Edinburgh's huge Beltane festival started out small, I am sure yours will go from strength to strength too.
I don't think it was a stupid question, the Fortunate People (Cairds) used to travel from one area to another taking news. They were taught the Berla Egain naSaer (sacred language) of the Druids, so they could pass along messages between Druids of different royal courts. Gold routes existed across different regions. People travelled from all over Europe to famous healing sites, and they traded too, as you said. So infrastructure between different kingdoms wasn't a foreign concept.
What are the three wealths of the Fortunate People?
Not hard to tell.
- a ready conveyance
- ale without a habitation
- a safeguard upon the road
Hey all, there are no excuses for my lateness. Anyway here are my photos I took. All unofficial of course.
Unfortunately they're not very interesting :P
Anything happening for Midsummer or even Midwinter Urisk?
Wayland's Smithy is one of the most impressive and atmospheric Neolithic burial chambers in Britain. Read More »