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By Miranda Green

In Animals in Celtic lifestyles and fantasy, Miranda eco-friendly attracts on facts from early Celtic files, archaeology and iconography to think about the style within which animals shaped the root of difficult rituals and ideology. She unearths that animals have been endowed with a very excessive prestige, thought of by way of the Celts as valuable of admire and admiration.

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Sheep Two thousand years ago, a group of Celts went, with their sheep, to live on the islands of St Kilda off the north-west coast of Scotland. 46 These animals look more like goats than sheep; they are brown with white underparts, slender, fleet of foot, and both sexes have horns. They wander widely over the land and cannot easily be controlled with dogs. Indeed, as Peter Reynolds comments, a Celtic shepherd ‘followed if not pursued his flock’. Soay sheep shed their long hair in an annual moult at the beginning of summer, and Iron Age people probably tried to pre-empt this and to pluck the hair before it was scattered (see pp.

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. 112 The simple plough or ard was an uncomplicated implement consisting of a wooden shaft ending in a spike set at an angle, sometimes iron-tipped, which simply stirred and made furrows in the soil.

This occurred, for instance, at Epiais-Rhus and at Villeneuve-Saint-Germain (Aisne). Cows were kept for milk and for breeding; a few bulls would be retained to maintain the stock; the rest would be oxen raised for traction. 38 It was the Germans whom these Mediterranean writers saw as the great cattle-owners and herdsmen. Caesar says ‘. . 40 He says that the number of cattle they possessed was the key to their status. 7 Bronze sword-scabbard engraved with bulls, fifth century BC, from a grave at Hochscheid, Germany.

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