Identification of race not just with place but with earth in a very physical way, identification of race
and earth with language
Recent studies have suggested genetic affinities within the Atlantic zone – Western part of Britain,
Brittany, France, Scotland, down into NW part of Iberian peninsula. Interesting because all of those
places are places we associate with Celtic peoples.
Preservation of this genetic connection suggests that the area was relatively undisturbed by other
migrations across the continent. Genetic evidence does what with our notion of a Celtic culture
originating within the Danube valley spreading through migration westward? Suggests that culture
was spread more in terms of trade, etc, rather than migration. Spread of art styles, language, and
who knows what else. Presumably by choice.
Britain is more heterogeneous genetically than Ireland and in ways that don’t seem to have to do
with the AngloSaxon invasion of the 5 century – seems to go back to trade with the continent in
the Neolithic era.
DNA weighs in on the side of culture rather than the movement of peoples carrying that culture.
What it also adds is that people on the British isles seem to have a connected genetic affinity, a
We have Hallstatt swords across Ireland, so we know that contact with the Hallstatt and La Tene
cultures that we’ve come to think of as Celtic was happening in Ireland from a very early time. As
soon as there was something that was Celtic, it got to Ireland. But, whether that’s the primary or
exclusive definer of their culture is something else.
So Celtic is apparently a linguistic category rather than historical, cultural, genetic, archaeological.
We not only know that the Ancients knew of people called Celts, some of whom called themselves
Celts, but we know because there’s a huge body of especially place name evidence with names
with Celtic roots.
We know Celtic was spoken on the continent. We know that by the time Ireland is identified as
Ierna on a map, they seem to be talking Celtic there. So, if people aren’t moving en masse, how
does it happen? Cunliffe in his book Facing the Ocean: ruling classes are shipowners, speak
elite language, that elite language spreads. ??
This isn’t super convincing, but how did it get to be