By Miranda Green
In Animals in Celtic lifestyles and fantasy, Miranda eco-friendly attracts on proof from early Celtic records, archaeology and iconography to contemplate the way during which animals shaped the foundation of tricky rituals and ideology. She finds that animals have been endowed with a very excessive prestige, thought of by way of the Celts as necessary of recognize and admiration.
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Extra resources for Animals in Celtic Life and Myth
118 Animals were also required for their pulling-power at harvest time. 119 After the corn had been cut, oxen or horses would be needed to carry the harvested crop away from the fields to the farm for processing and storage. 19). 120 After harvesting, the grain had to be extracted from the raw corn. 121 Right through the farming year, therefore, from the initial manuring of the fields and ploughing to the harvest and even after, animals were closely linked with humans in nearly every aspect of crop production.
That they were important to the Celtic economy is in no doubt: their bones are found in some numbers on most settlement sites. Danebury seems to have been a centre for breeding cattle, although they were present in far fewer numbers than sheep. The large numbers of young calves found here indicates that calving (like lambing) took place either inside or in the vicinity of the hillfort, where the cows 13 ANIMALS IN CELTIC LIFE AND MYTH could be tended and watched. 34 Cattle at Danebury were killed, at the end of their useful lives, when they were turned into meat (probably rather tough), hides, sinew, bone and horn objects.
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. Width of scabbard: 5cm. Paul Jenkins. 41 This is interesting because Tacitus is describing a society which is very like that chronicled in the early Irish literature as pertaining to Celtic communities.
Animals in Celtic Life and Myth by Miranda Green