Ancients Partied on These Manmade British Isles

History

| LAST UPDATE 10/07/2022

By Daria Appleby
British Isles Ancient Parties
Ludovic Debono via Getty Images

Recently, researchers have uncovered historical evidence of lavish and grand parties thrown by ancient elites around The British Isles. That being said, these traces could indicate a different lifestyle in the 16th Century C.E. Here's what we know so far.

According to A.T.I., authors have coined the term 'crannog,' defining an "artificial island within a lake, wetland, or estuary." These crannogs have been spotted throughout Scotland, Ireland, and Wales, dating all the way back to 4000 B.C.E. In simpler terms, these hotspots are more ancient than we think, indicating more life in these locations than history has already predicted. According to Live Science, "just as waterfront mansions are status symbols for today's rich and famous," these crannogs could have been used by "elites to display their power and wealth through elaborate parties." The term crannog was constructed by Antony Brown of UiT Arctic University of Norway, who logged these findings in the journal Antiquity. He found this area would create build-ups of "shallow reefs or elevated portions of lakebeds with natural materials like stone, timber, and peat." This escalated into miniature versions of islands with diameters up to 100 feet. 

British Isles History Crannogs
@elgol via Instagram
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These islands were perfect for small gatherings and activities for elite individuals during periods. Conclusively, this evidence displays exclusive islands for the "high status" and "social exclusion," noted the study. Furthermore, the researchers commissioned a D.N.A. analysis of the plants and animals found on the islands. Findings show the crannogs and the plants could have been used for bedding or roofing material, a luxury considering the time period. Reports from Kake also found bones from cows, sheep, and goats' D.N.A., indicating these animals were slaughtered for food used in "feasts or ceremonies." Considering this evidence is a hit-or-miss, Simon Hamma, a food chemist from the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in Germany told Live Science, "given how little we still really know about crannogs and the human activities surrounding them, the methods and results described here are very interesting." Nevertheless, in 2019, an additional study was revealed that "challenged the notion that crannogs were a creation of the Iron age." Although at least 600 crannogs were found in just Scotland, they were nearly 3,000 years old, placing them in the Neolithic era, indicating believable behavior from "prehistoric humans." 

What is striking about this finding is the notion that environmental factors can "threaten archeological sites," but also have the potential to transform them into sites for other uses. Furthermore, these findings help researchers unveil hidden life surrounding deserted islands. Whether these sites were abandoned with no other human D.N.A. or animal remains in question, the crannog sites identified insightful revelations. Stay tuned while this story develops.

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