History of the Cymry: First People

24,000BC – the estimated date of the skeleton found on the Gower Peninsula, Goat’s Hole Cave at ImagePaviland in Gower, the first human fossil to be found anywhere in the world, discovered in 1823 by William Buckland following the explorations of Daniel and John Davies in 1822, and described as a Red Lady, a woman of ill-repute of Roman times, but now known to be the headless remains of a young man in his twenties, 5’8” tall, an antediluvian homo sapien, hunter-gatherer and ceremonial buried, covered with red ochre which stained his bones. Similar finds of Palaeolithic hunters found in Cae-Gwyn, St. Asaph, King Athur’s Cave near Ross-on-Wye, and Coygan in Sir Gaerfyrddin (Carmarthenshire). His diet included fish, horse, bear, ox, rhinoceros, reindeer, mammoth and hyena.

8000-4000BC – Neolithic Revolution, the establishment of farming communities, begins to spread through Europe from the Near East.

2500-2000BC – The approximate date for the first farming migrants to reach the Islands of Britain, generally thought to have arrived from the Iberian Peninsula.  The first wheat is cultivated, the first cows milked and sheep tended, houses built and pottery fired.

Image2000-1500BC – Arrival of the Cromlech builders, from western France and Spain, seafarers who originated in the eastern Mediterranean. Their Cromlechau were places of mass community burials, some have carvings of an Earth Mother Goddess. There are over 60 cromlech surviving in Cymru. Tinkinswood, near St. Nicholas, Cardiff, is an example of a large earth and stone mound. Pentref Ifan, Pembrokeshire is an example of a free-standing cromlech. These adventurers were seeking copper and tin to be exported back to the Mediterranean. The cromlech builders are thought to have been the builders of a few stone circles in Cymru, as well as Stonehenge and Avebury, transporting the Preseli Mountain ‘blue-stone’ across 200 miles, a feat that met with failure by modern seafarers in 2000AD.

2000-1500BC – Arrival of the Beaker people, so called for their custom of placing small red-brown drinking cups, five to seven inches tall, in the graves of their dead. The Beaker people inhumed their dead in single graves beneath round mounds.

1500-1170BC – Bronze Age, Brythonic Celts arrive on the shores of the British Isles, emerging from France. These early Britons left very few dwelling-sites. They lived in caves and left small hoards of gold, amber, faience and bronze implements in their burial mounds.

1000-500BC – The Late Bronze Age brought continued unrest to the inhabitants of the British Isles and a new wave of immigrants. As the previous entries on this timeline show, migration is nothing new to the human species. At this stage of human development, economic and social disturbances on the Continent and the need for iron, drew more explorers, traders and iron-miners.

500-100BC – The Iron Age comes to the Britons, the later period, known as Iron Age B, was equivalent to the Celtic La Tène period on the Continent. This is the glorious era of Celtic art, producing tankards, bronze collars and great hoards of bronze and iron objects: harness fittings, shield ornaments, weapons and parts of chariots.

100-55BC – The Late Iron Age brought another wave of immigrants to the coasts of Britain. The Belgae were of mixed Celtic and Teutonic stock.

55-54BC – Julius Caesar brought his army to the most northwesterly edge of the Roman Empire, raiding the coast near Caergrawnt occasionally and reported that the island was inhabited by people who painted themselves blue, dressed in animal skins and subsisted on milk and meat. In actuality, the Celts wove cloth, made wheat into bread and herded cattle and sheep. Blue-skin-painting was reserved for special celebrations. Julius wasn’t inclined to tell his civilized Roman followers that the Celts were equally sophisticated.

Next Post: History of the Cymry (Welsh People): First Millennium


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Filed under Cymraeg/Welsh Language, Cymreig/Welsh, Cymru/Wales, Hanes Cymru/Welsh History, Y Cymry/Welsh People

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