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Roman Brooch find in Shetland extends ancient travel routes
the herald(uk) ^ | 11JULY03 | Stephen Stewart

Posted on 07/11/2003 7:21:17 PM PDT by WoofDog123

Roman brooch find in Shetland extends ancient travel routes


AMATEUR archaeologists may have found Britain's most northerly ancient Roman artefact, it emerged yesterday.

The fibula, or brooch, which has been dated to between 50BC and 50AD, could have belonged to an islander returning to the area around Norwick on Shetland after serving in the Roman army.

The archaeologists made the find when they were called in after bulldozers unearthed items while extending the graveyard at Norwick.

It is highly unusual to find Roman goods so far north and the item gives a revealing insight into trade routes and social mobility at the time.

Les Smith, from Lerwick, is the member of the Unst Archaeological Group who found the bronze, two-inch-long brooch.

"This was a very rare and important find. I was very surprised when I saw the flash of the object. I have a reasonable knowledge of the artefacts in the local museum but this was unlike anything I had seen before," he said.

"At first, it was difficult to say what it was. Eventually, you could see that it was very finely made. Bulldozers at the graveyard site had uncovered some Viking objects and underneath that we found the Iron Age material."

Fibulas were used as fasteners to hold clothing together. Experts at the British Museum believe the one found on Shetland, from the late Iron age/early Roman period, could have been made in Germany.

It may have been traded several times and was likely to have been regarded as a much sought-after trinket by its owner.

Ralph Jackson, curator of the Romano-British collections at the British Museum, said: "It appears to be a Roman fibula and if that is correct, it is very interesting as they aren't normally seen in that part of the world.

"A fibula is a term given to a particular type of brooch. It is occasionally likened to a safety pin and consists of a spring and catch plate.

The Roman army occupied parts of southern Scotland at the end of the first century AD before units were transferred to the Danube, leading to the building of defences such as the Hadrian and Antonine walls.

Roman legions marched north several times, occasionally defeating the northern warriors but never fully subjugating them.

Dr Alan Leslie, director of the Glasgow University archaeological research division, said: "The brooch gives an indication of the extensive trading networks at the time.

"It could have been used as something to barter with and is certainly a very special find. There was substantial seaborne mercantile activity but it could have got there via other agencies. The Roman army was established in different areas and shifted about a lot. There were legionaries who were Roman citizens and auxiliary units from allied or conquered countries. Someone could join the army, serve their 25 years, and then move back to their locality."

Owen Cambridge, an archaeologist from Shetland Amenity Trust, who assisted the Unst group during the excavation, said: "It was fantastic that it was an amateur team of archaeologists who made the find. It is also good because in Shetland, we are often thought of as Orkney's poor neighbour in archaeological terms."

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Miscellaneous; United Kingdom
KEYWORDS: ancientnavigation; archaeology; caledonia; economic; ggg; godsgravesglyphs; history; ironage; pictish; picts; roman; romanempire; rome; sagalassos; scotland; scotlandyet; shetland; shetlands; turkey
Interesting, for those who don't know, the Shetland Islands are way out north of scotland, south of the Faroes, and west of Norway. They are part of Scotland and thus the UK today, but their spoken english has elements of Old Norse/North Germanic still, and a Norse language was spoken up until recently historically. IIRC, there are no gaelic elements in the language or place-names, unlike the rest of scotland. They historically were part of the Viking/Norweigan kingdoms.
1 posted on 07/11/2003 7:21:17 PM PDT by WoofDog123
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2 posted on 07/11/2003 7:24:36 PM PDT by Support Free Republic (Your support keeps Free Republic going strong!)
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Comment #3 Removed by Moderator

To: WoofDog123
Ther were Pictish settlements on the islands (possible sourse of the brooch)but they didn't survive the Norse/Viking settlements.
The debate swings from the Vikings slaughtering the population to total assimalation by the Vikings over a century or two, however there are NO place names or identifiable Pictish/Celtic markers left...
My bet is a little Dark Ages "ethnic cleansing".
4 posted on 07/11/2003 8:30:58 PM PDT by cavtrooper21 (I will not go quietly into the dark....)
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To: cavtrooper21
"The debate swings from the Vikings slaughtering the population to total assimalation by the Vikings over a century or two, however there are NO place names or identifiable Pictish/Celtic markers left...
My bet is a little Dark Ages "ethnic cleansing".""

I have no informed opinion on this, but DNA studies over the coming years may very well shed some light on this. The picts are still something of a cypher ethnically, despite circumstantial/place-name evidence at least suggestive (though not conclusive, as I understand it) of gaelic linguistic origins. Once again, I would assume dna studies in eastern scotland in the coming years would shed some light on this, and at least suggest some possible close genetic relations that may present some possible linguistic connections.
5 posted on 07/11/2003 11:59:12 PM PDT by WoofDog123
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To: WoofDog123
Yes, the picts were sort of an odd bunch, what art work and "writting" the left behind, is very Celtic in style, bu has its own overtones. They were also different in the manner of village structure (arrangement) and building styles.
I have some friends that say the picts are still here, hiding up in the hills and waiting for all of us folk to go away...
Hope they packed a lunch!
6 posted on 07/14/2003 2:44:29 PM PDT by cavtrooper21 (I will not go quietly into the dark....)
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To: cavtrooper21
For me personally, as a person who studies archaeology and philology as a hobby only, the most convincing piece of the arguement that the picts spoke a p or q-celtic language is the lack of any comments on language deviations after the establishment of scotland as a single territory about a 1000 years ago. If the picts were speaking, say, the finno-ugric tongue that one researcher postulated and published, or an unrelated stone-age language, I would think they would have been speaking it up until the early modern era.

Displacing a language is HARD, from all indications, apparently requiring either strong control of the governing and educational system over some long period of time(cornish, also possibly examples from the continent's roman period like gaulish), or large scale (a) extermination (american indians), or (b) enslavement/dislocation by a large conquering group (p-celtic in what is now england by the angles, saxons, frisians, jutes et al)
7 posted on 07/15/2003 7:02:31 AM PDT by WoofDog123
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To: plusones; blam
He's pinged. :o)
8 posted on 07/15/2003 7:03:56 AM PDT by austinTparty
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To: cavtrooper21
"My bet is a little Dark Ages "ethnic cleansing"."

...Or maybe a comet shower.

Catastrophic Event Preceded Dark Ages - Scientist

9 posted on 07/15/2003 8:34:22 AM PDT by blam
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To: farmfriend; JudyB1938; FreetheSouth!
10 posted on 07/15/2003 8:35:35 AM PDT by blam
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To: WoofDog123
Fish fossils reveal Roman trade routes

Genetics shows ancient Anatolians imported Egyptian catfish.

14 July 2003

Fossilized remains of a fish supper have revealed a hitherto unknown Roman trade route. Genetic analysis shows that 1400-year-old catfish unearthed in an ancient Anatolian city probably came from Egypt1.

The fossils were found among the mountain-top ruins at Sagalassos, 110 kilometres inland from Turkey's southern Mediterranean coast. Catfish (Clarias gariepinus) are not native this region.

In AD600 Sagalassos was a hub of Greco-Roman culture, agriculture and export. "The catfish was probably a delicacy for aristocrats," says the director of the dig Marc Waelkens from the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium. Romans may also have imported these and other exotic fish to stock their decorative pools. Waelkens and his colleagues found Nile perch (Lates niloticus) and African tilapia (Tilapia zillii) at the site too, they report in this month's Journal of Archaeological Science .

The fish add to growing evidence that Sagalassos had connections with far-flung regions of the Roman Empire - its pottery, for example, has turned up in north-east Africa.

It's interesting that trade relationships were going on this late, says Stephen Mitchell, who studies ancient history at the University of Exeter. From AD500 onwards, the city suffered earthquakes, economic recession, plague and invasion. Evidence of fish importing, he says, "implies a high level of organisation close to the city's end".

Head start

Waelkens' team found the fish remains in kitchen rubbish pits. The presence of fins, but no heads, was the first hint that they were from afar. Says fish geneticist Filip Volckaert, also from the University of Leuven: "Egyptians probably opened up the belly, took out the guts, took off the heads, treated them with salt or dried them, and then put them on a shipment." Sun drying might also have helped preserve the fishes' DNA.

The researchers analysed mitochondrial DNA from six of the pectoral fins. This genetic material changes little over time. They compared it against modern specimens from Turkey, Syria, Israel, Mali, Egypt and Senegal. The Sagalassos samples matched those from present-day catfish from the river Nile.

Since 1990, Sagalassos has become a large-scale, interdisciplinary excavation. Covering 1800 square kilometers, the area reveals a near intact city and its contents. Researchers are reconstructing the life style, economy, agricultural practices and climate changes experienced in this late Roman outpost.

11 posted on 07/15/2003 9:16:12 AM PDT by blam
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To: blam; *Gods, Graves, Glyphs
Gods, Graves, Glyphs
List for articles regarding early civilizations , life of all forms, - dinosaurs - etc.
12 posted on 07/15/2003 9:31:46 AM PDT by farmfriend ( Isaiah 55:10,11)
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To: blam
Also some rather interesting garbage pit remains in the Shetlands and Orkney.
When the Norse moved in the food remains in the middens changed. (almost overnight) Went from a mostly mammal/avain remain heavy layer to an almost totally fish remain layer. Also signs of commercial style preperation of many of the fish, signs pointing to an export market and better technology for catching fish. (better/bigger boats) I was facinated by just how much information could be gleaned from the middden heap of a isolated fishing village.
13 posted on 07/15/2003 4:07:27 PM PDT by cavtrooper21 (I will not go quietly into the dark....)
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To: WoofDog123
Maybe its his.

14 posted on 07/15/2003 4:11:25 PM PDT by KantianBurke (The Federal govt should be protecting us from terrorists, not handing out goodies)
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Just updating the GGG information, not sending a general distribution.

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15 posted on 07/30/2005 7:44:03 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (Down with Dhimmicrats! I last updated by FR profile on Tuesday, May 10, 2005.)
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16 posted on 04/18/2006 9:16:52 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (
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· join list or digest · view topics · view or post blog · bookmark · post a topic ·

Just updating the GGG info, not sending a general distribution.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.
GGG managers are Blam, StayAt HomeMother, and Ernest_at_the_Beach

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17 posted on 07/28/2008 9:21:28 PM PDT by SunkenCiv ( updated Friday, May 30, 2008)
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