Animals in Celtic Life and Myth by Miranda Green

By Miranda Green

In Animals in Celtic existence and delusion, Miranda eco-friendly attracts on facts from early Celtic records, archaeology and iconography to think about the style during which animals shaped the root of problematic rituals and ideology. She finds that animals have been endowed with an exceptionally excessive prestige, thought of by means of the Celts as priceless of admire and admiration.

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In the Camunian scene, the ploughman carries a stick, which is generally interpreted as a goad, to keep the cattle moving. But in Spain a stick is used by the ploughman to free the point of the plough periodically, as it becomes bogged down in heavy soil. 17 Ploughing scene, on a Bronze Age or Iron Age rock carving at Camonica Valley, north Italy. Paul Jenkins, after Anati. 110 We do have the evidence of the rock art, where the plough is depicted as a simple angled spike or ‘ard’. 111 In Britain, evidence for Iron Age ploughs exists mainly in the form of score-marks; an ox-drawn ard was used at Danebury.

Cattle or horses could be used in ploughing: the bone evidence o f h o r s e s s u g g e s t s t h a t t h e y w e re s o m e t i m e s u s e d f o r t h i s purpose. 113 Again, a later Iron Age Camunian rock-art scene depicts a plough pulled by horses. 18). The presence of middle-aged or elderly cattle on archaeological sites implies that they were worked before they were eaten. Such is the case at the habitation site of Variscourt; and at the sanctuary of Gournay, the cattle had undoubtedly been used as working animals before they were sacrificed to the infernal gods.

But in the latest phase of the hillfort’s occupation, there seems to have been a shift in horse-management practices: young horses are represented in the bone assemblage, indicating that breeding did now take place on site. Sometimes there is evidence as to how horses were used. 11 Bronze figurine of a horse, fifth to fourth century BC, Freisen, Germany. Length 12cm. Paul Jenkins. horse bones at Gussage indicates that here they were used as draught-animals or pack-horses, 79 perhaps for hauling carts of produce.

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