June 25, 2004 12:09 AM   Subscribe

The Boscombe Bowmen. Archaeologists say they have found the remains of some of the builders of Stonehenge. Tests on their teeth indicate that they were Welsh, prompting the archdruid of Wales to ask for the return of Stonehenge. (Here's a previous thread on the Amesbury Archer.)
posted by homunculus (14 comments total)
Darn it, the title should read "What's '18 feet' in Welsh?"
posted by homunculus at 12:17 AM on June 25, 2004

That's really fascinating. I may have missed it but how can they conclude that these are in fact the builders? Is it a deduction because the dates match up, and the teeth and stones are from Wales?

On the Welsh question, perhaps they should build a new Stonehenge, they have a knack for it.
posted by stbalbach at 12:48 AM on June 25, 2004

I may have missed it but how can they conclude that these are in fact the builders?

I don't get that part either.

perhaps they should build a new Stonehenge, they have a knack for it.

If they don't, the Kiwis will.
posted by homunculus at 12:58 AM on June 25, 2004

Robyn Lewis looks like what happens to someone after they've pissed off a real Archdruid.
posted by Opus Dark at 1:25 AM on June 25, 2004

Agreed, it looks like the evidence that they were the builders is circumstantial. But whether these exact people were among the builders or not, it's still significant, I would say, that these people came from Wales. Coupled with the blue stones' origin in Wales it points to a significant link of some sort between the two areas.

But even if these bowmen came from the modern-day geographical region of Wales -- which is not 100% certain from the tooth enamel evidence -- it does not mean that they were Celts. They were not necessarily Welsh in the ethnic or cultural sense. Rather, they could have been among the various pre-Celtic groups supposed to have inhabited the British Isles. It has long been debated whether Celts or pre-Celts are responsible for Stonehenge, and I doubt this newest find will help in solving that question.
posted by caveday at 1:44 AM on June 25, 2004

"You bastards! Two hundred miles in this day and age? I don't even know where I live now!"
posted by Mayor Curley at 5:22 AM on June 25, 2004

They were not necessarily Welsh in the ethnic or cultural sense.

If they were celts, they were more likely goidelic (ancestors of the Irish) celts than brythonic. The amount of linguistic divergence between p-celtic languages (specifically Welsh and Cornish) strongly suggets that the Brythonic celts came to the isles sometime after 1000 B.C.
posted by Mayor Curley at 5:28 AM on June 25, 2004

Mayor Curley: Yes, there is clearly a split between P and Q-Celtic languages... but why does that mean that we know for certain when the P and Q-Celtic speaking groups settled in the British Isles? I saw an interesting hypothesis that Ireland was settled by Q-Celts from Spain and England by P-Celts from France -- but as far as I know it's only supported by rather tenuous evidence. But I haven't read too extensively on this, do you have links for what you said?
posted by caveday at 6:53 AM on June 25, 2004

There's always the wikipedia article about ancient Britain, which places Celtic migration (through the appearance of iron) at the post-Stonehenge date of 900 B.C. It doesn't mention whether these were p- or q-celts.

The order that I was taught was:

1. First migration from southern France or Iberia of q-celts to Ireland

2. Second, larger migration of q-celts from northern France to Ireland and western Britain

3. First migration of p-celts from northern France to southern England. P-celts disperse west and displace q-celts in Cornwall and Wales (and a few argue they went north and became Picts, but probably not). here's a link. It's not especially reputable, but it does show that someone else has heard this and I'm not talking completely out of my ass.

Google yields a ton of too-much-information, the linked article would suggest that even if my order is correct, q-celts came too late to build stonehenge, anyway. So I was wrong in suggesting that q-celts could have built it, but it appears that no celts could have.
posted by Mayor Curley at 7:33 AM on June 25, 2004

Mayor Curley - can we switch those two stones over?

This one ammuses the hell out of me.

There are some things that we English blatently stole, and which we should give back. the Elgin marbles was a good example. These were made for Sailsbury Plain. So the demand is based on what exactly?
posted by twine42 at 8:06 AM on June 25, 2004

Here is an interesting article on the genetic background of the Welsh. It links them with the Basques, the Irish and Scots Gaelic, and that all came from a tribe in Siberia called the Kets. And it argues that the Welsh are older than thought and predate the Celts that spread through Europe a few centuries B.C.
posted by lobakgo at 11:16 AM on June 25, 2004

Roundhouse couple fined £800
posted by homunculus at 5:56 PM on June 25, 2004

Welsh, eh?

So that's why I sneak out of bed every night, 'round midnight - to walk down to the old stone field wall in my backyard - and heave huge rocks around.

It just feels good and proper.

There's nothing like a good bit of boulder-heaving to get a man in the proper mood to write poetry and drink.
posted by troutfishing at 9:47 PM on June 25, 2004

I did a "book report", in 6th grade, on the history of Wales. I employed a thing called a "typewriter" to do so but anyway...

I mentioned the topic of my book report to a friend of mine who proceeded to inform me that "they were sort of like pigs, and then they went back to the sea and lost their legs."

Was it a metaphor ? Or an insult ? It seemed as if it would be kind of rude of my friend to insult my ancestors like that.

We worked it out though.
posted by troutfishing at 9:56 PM on June 25, 2004

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