Twice a year the Order of Bards Ovates & Druids holds a big gathering at Glastonbury. Over the last few years we’ve started to have more members arriving from abroad – contingents from Italy, Portugal, Germany and beyond. Reading the following post on the BBC website shows a nice continuity of this practice:
Chemical tests on teeth from an ancient burial near Stonehenge indicate that the person in the grave grew up around the Mediterranean Sea. The bones belong to a teenager who died 3,550 years ago and was buried with a distinctive amber necklace.
“The position of his burial, the fact he’s near Stonehenge, and the necklace all suggest he’s of significant status” Said Professor Jane Evans British Geological Survey. The conclusions come from analysis of different forms of the elements oxygen and strontium in his tooth enamel.
Analysis on a previous skeleton found near Stonehenge showed that that person was also a migrant to the area….Tests carried out several years ago on another burial known as the “Amesbury Archer” show that he was raised in a colder climate than that found in Britain.
Analysis of the strontium and oxygen isotopes in his teeth showed that his most likely childhood origin was in the Alpine foothills of Germany… The Amesbury Archer was discovered around 5km from Stonehenge. His is a rich Copper Age or early Bronze Age burial, and contains some of the earliest gold and copper objects found in Britain. He lived about 4,300 years ago, some 800 years earlier than the Boscombe Down boy. The archer arrived at a time when metallurgy was becoming established in Britain; he was a metal worker, which meant he possessed rare skills.
“We see the beginning of the Bronze Age as a period of great mobility across Europe. People, ideas, objects are all moving very fast for a century or two,” said Dr Fitzpatrick. “At the time when the boy with the amber necklace was buried, there are really no new technologies coming in [to Britain]… We need to turn to look at why groups of people – because this is a youngster – are making long journeys.”He speculated: “They may be travelling within family groups… They may be coming to visit Stonehenge because it was an incredibly famous and important place, as it is today. But we don’t know the answer.” Other people who visited Stonehenge from afar were the Boscombe Bowmen, individuals from a collective Bronze Age grave. Isotope analysis suggests these people could have come from Wales or Brittany, if not further afield.