Cruet Set: Trolling Romantics, pseudo Celts and snag after snag

So it seems I’ve hit a major snag in researching as A). All meaning behind the patterns, shapes and symbols that the Celts used are unknown seeing that there was no written accounts documents; and B). Thanks to the a certain Edward Williams (1747 – 1826) or “Iolo Morgannwg” as he liked to write under, most of what we thought to be ancient stories (and in turn Celtic symbology) turn out to be one hopeless Romantic’s cunning plan to make a bit of money, passing off his works as newly discovered ancient texts, leading to a completely new and imaginary set of ancient belief systems.

He wasn’t the only one, as many more would continue to do this, meaning I now need to sift through a lot of pseudo Celt imaginary beliefs to get to the real possible meaning. A lot of the Pseudo Celtic ideas of symbol meanings, animal totems, beliefs etc. also actually stem from Native American belief systems, borrowed and reinvented into the style and art that the Celts left behind, rather than being the actual belief and systems which the Celts themselves held.

Then there’s the question of what on earth I’m looking at when I look at the artifacts. Some of them are pre Celt, but some experts still reckon they were used by them hundreds of years later. The swirl pattern, for example, is far more ancient than the Celts themselves, but clearly still inspire the designs of true Celtic art:

celt swirl carvings

Neolithic carving

rock valley tingagel maze carving

Later Celtic Carving

What’s interesting is the role Celtic art has played in Archaeology and history. Of all the artifacts found, most of what has survived of this time has been craft and art. The items found: shields, elaborate swords, jewellery etc. have in nearly all cases been either buried on purpose (in a human burial or otherwise) or deposited in lakes and rivers on purpose. Most Archaeology believe that these were offerings, water sources playing, what seems to be, a pretty significant part in Celtic religion.


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