Copy of `Gallica - A Celtic Encyclopedia`

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Gallica - A Celtic Encyclopedia
Category: History and Culture > Celts
Date & country: 01/12/2007, UK
Words: 100


Anvil
A heavy object that is used as a surface to rest metal on while the metal is hit or forged into another shape.

Archery
The use of a piece of wood held into a bent shape with a string (bow), to propel a long thin stick with a sharp point on the front end (arrow). Used in hunting and warfare.

Ard
An early plough used to break the ground up prior to planting crops.

Armour
A strong covering worn to protect the body from injury. See CHAIN MAIL

Art
The use of decoration on objects.

Artifacts
This is the name given to the objects that are found in archaeology, and are the items left behind by people in the past.

Axe
A sharp tool comprising of the axehead with the cutting edge, and a handle to hold on to. Used to chop trees down and cut other hard materials apart.

Barrel
A container made of pieces of wood held together with hoops or bands of metal.

Boat
A form of transport for travelling on water (they float!). Can be as small as a coracle, or as large enough to cross seas.

Bone
Bones from a wide variety of animals were used. It can be cut, carved and decorated easily Uses: Whole - tools, handles, flutes Ground - grog for pottery Roast - source of potash

Boudica
Queen of the Iceni, wife to Prasatugus. Revolted against Roman atrocities in 60AD.

Bronze
A metal alloy of copper with less than 10% tin added. It is easily worked by casting or hammering. Uses: Personal - jewellery, razors, mirrors, coins Weapons - cast handles on swords shield decorations Domestic - cauldrons

Bronze Age
2500-1000BC (Britain) Use of bronze for tools and weapons. See TIMELINE

Burials
The disposal of dead bodies.

Calendar
The year was divided and calculated using the moons phases.

Casting
The method of producing metal objects by pouring into a mould

Celts
An Indo-European people that spread across Europe. They had a common base to their languages and cultures, but had diversity between the tribes. See there position in the TIME-LINE

Chainmail
Body armour made of interlinked rings of metal.

Charcoal
Wood burnt in reduced oxygen to drive off water and gases, leaving the carbon structure intact. Achieves a high temperature when burnt with air blown into the fire and is used in working metal.

Chariot
A fast two wheeled cart mainly used in warfare.

Clay
A water softened rock, composed of Aluminium Silicate, that can be moulded to shape. When fired it becomes a ceramic. Main use in the production of pottery. See ARTIFACTS or KILN

Coins
Set amounts of precious metals forged into disks and decorated. Used as wealth or to trade with.

Cooking
Preparation and heating of food before eating. See diet.

Coppicing
Cutting a tree down at ground level and allowing it to re-grow. The multiple shoots grow in competition and increase after each cut. The growth area is known as a 'stool'. Harvesting is done every5-7 years. The wood is thin and flexible. Used as 'wattle' to weave fences and walls of buildings. Also see Pollard

Coracle
A small one man boat made by stretching animal skins over a wooden frame

Crannog
A man-made island, usualy in a lake, with housing on it. Good examples in Britain were the lake villages at Glastonbury and Meare

Currency Bars
Iron ingots formed into the shape of sword-blades. Used as 'currency' for trading with.

Daub
A mixture of clay, soil, hair or hay, and animal droppings. Plastered onto a wattle wall in the construction of a building.

Diet
The Iron Age diet was very healthy, and consisted mainly of boiled meat, fresh bread, and seasonal vegetables. The main drinks were water and beer.

Ditch
An elongated hole dug as protection or drainage. Usually around a settlement.See EARTHWORKS

Druids
A fire cult that arrived in Britan during the first century BC and gained the ears of the ruling class

Dyes
The product used in the process of colouring a material

Earthworks
A large series of ditches dug around defended settlements, and linear ditches dividing up the countryside. Also see MAIDEN CASTLE

Evidence
The information and finds from an excavation that are used to reconstruct the use and purpose of the origional item. (An example is a click away)

Farming
The Celts farmed a wide range of crops. They produced excess wheat and were exporting it to the Roman empire in large quantities.

Fields
Enclosed areas on cultivated ground used for growing crops or enclosing animals.

Flax
The seeds of the plant are rich in oil. A fibre can be processed from the stem of the plant and can be spun into a thread called linen. Oil Used as a fuel in lamps Thread woven into a strong cloth

Fletching
Feathers fastened onto the back of an arrow to help it fly straight. See ARCHERY

Flint
Nodules of stone found in layers in chalk deposits, extracted by digging or mining. Flint can be worked by splitting into shards, then shaped using percussion or pressure flaking. Uses: Tools - cutting blades, scrapers, axe heads Weapons - arrow heads, spear heads. Fire - struck on iron to produce a spark

Glass
A fusion of sand and wood ash. Coloured with the addition of metal oxides. Used for the production of beads, and enamels for decoration.

Gods
The gods live alongside the human world and can be called on to help.

Gold
A soft yellow precious metal found in pure nuggets or extracted by sieving ground rock or sand. It was a highly prized metal for its decorative qualities and is found as jewellery in particular. The metal can be worked cold, including hammer welding. Uses: Jewellery - torcs, bracelets, fibula Coins - called a stater (used by Belgae/Gallic tribes)

Granaries
Storage units for grain

Grinding
The crushing of food to make it more palatable and to release more of the nutritional values.

Henge
An area of ground that has a bank and ditch structure around it.The area inside was normally used for 'rituals'.

Hillfort
An area of ground that has a ditch and bank structure around it. Strange though it may seem, not necessarily on a hill! The area inside was normally lived in. SeeMaiden Castle

Horn
Horn is the covering over a bony growth on the head of a cow. It is composed of the same material as finger nails. It can be moulded, or split into thin layers. Uses: Heated glue, shaped and moulded Whole - drinking vessel Layer - lantern glass

Houses
Buildings in which people live (not huts!!!)

Ice Age
- 10,000BC (Britain) The Ice Sheet retreats. SeeTimeline

Iron
A hard metal extracted from ore by smelting at high temperatures. Capable of holding a sharp edge. Uses: Weapons- swords, spears, arrow heads Tools - chisels, drills, hammers, tongs, saws, axes Domestic - cauldrons, chains Personal - pins, torcs, razors

Iron Age
800BC-43AD (Britain) The technology of smelting iron, and use of iron for tools and weapons. SeeTIMELINE

Ivory
The tooth of an animal used as a material in making decorative items. In Nothern Europe the tusks of wild boar were used.

Javelin
A short throwing spear, used as a shock weapon

Jet
Fossilised coal, only use is as jewelry.

Jewelry
Decorative or functional items that are worn on the clothing or around parts of the body.

Kilns
Enclosed structures in which pots can be fired. See POTTERY and CLAY

Lake Village
See Crannog

Leather
Preparation of animal skins and hides using vegetable extracts to preserve and alter the structure of the skin. Types and uses: Furs - bedding, floor covering, clothing Raw-hide thonging, armour Sheet - buckets, bags, shoes, clothes.

Linen
The fibre obtained from the plant FLAX

Looms
The frames on which cloth is woven.

Lynchet
Terraced field systems around hills with steep slopes.See FIELDS

Maiden Castle
The largest Iron Age hill-fort in Europe. Interior area is big enough to hold 50 foot-ball fields! It is though to have been the capital of the Durotiges, one of the most powerful tribes of the South of England.

Mesolithic
7000-4000BC (Britain) See TIMELINE

Mirror
A number of bronze mirrors have been found across Britain all decorated on the backs.

Moon
Very important in the Celtic Calendar, more so than the sun. Used to plot the seasons and festivals. Great Lunar years marked with extra significance as they only occur every 22 years. See Calendar

Music
Although the Celts had access to the musical instruments of Greece and Rome, there is nothing in the archaeological evidence to show their use in the Celtic world. Do not get misled with the idea of a celtic harp, they are 14 century instruments and do not have Celtic origins!

Neolithic
4000-2500BC (Britain) See TIMELINE

Nettles
A plant rich in vitamins. The stems can be processed into a thread similar to linen.

Oppida
This is a latin word that describes a Celtic town rather than a hillfort, but not in the sense of a 'civitas' - a centre of government.

Ovens
There have been a number of clay ovens found in assorted excavations. Most were within buildings and are presumed to be for cooking bread and other foods.

Paleolithic
10,000-7000BC (Britain) Resettlement of Britain as the ice sheet retreats. See TIMELINE

Peat
Caused by the growth of plant material in waterlogged conditions. Because there is no oxygen available below the upper surface there is no rotting taking place so the vegetation is preserved and builds up over time. In later years when the bog is drained, the peat can be dug out and used as fuel.

Pits
Assorted pits were dug into the ground and used for storage of food or materials, or for the disposal of rubbish

Pole Lathe
Machine for turning a material so that it can be shaped and carved into circular or round objects. See SHALE and WOOD

Pollarding
Cutting timber off a tree at the top of the trunk to produce new growth. The new branches are in competition and grow fast and straight. Harvesting is done every 15-20 years. Also see Coppicing

Pottery
The process of heating clay to turn it to a ceramic.

Quern
Stones used for the grinding of cereals to make flour. Saddle Quern - One large stone with the grain on it, and one smaller stone moved around on the top to crush the grain against the lower stone. Rotary Quern - Two circular stones fitted together one on top of the other. The top stone is turned around a spindle set in the lower stone. Grain is fe…

Razor
A tool with a sharp edge used for shaving.

Reed
A plant of the grass family that has adapted to living in water. The most well known is the Norfolk reed. Uses Thatching roof covering with a long life (60+ yrs) Woven mats, screens

Romans
A people who were once a Celtic tribe named the Romani, and were fed up of being beaten up - so they joined forces with the tribes around them, and started an empire! (We hate Romans !!!!!, well - professionally anyway!)

Salt
A mineral used for flavouring and/or preserving food.

Shale
An oil bearing rock found at Kimmeridge in Dorset. Pieces turned on a lathe to make bracelets and bangles.

Silver
A bright white precious metal extracted from ore by smelting. Finds suggest that silver was not in wide use in Britain, but it does turn up as a small quantity of jewellery, and in sheet form with hammered decoration.

Spinning
The process of turning a raw product (wool, nettle, flax) into a thread by twisting to bind the fibres together.

Straw
The by product of wheat, being the stalk, left over from the production of grain. Uses: Thatching - roof covering with a short life (20+ yrs) Loose - bedding for livestock, then composted Tied - coil mats, bee skeps.

Tin
A white coloured metal extracted from ore at low temperatures. Uses: Solder - bonding two pieces of metal together Alloy - mixing with other metals Decoration coating metals to stop oxidisation See BRONZE

Tools
Items used to assist work. Some of them having sharp edges to cut with. Examples: Hammer, chisel, spade, knife.

Torc
Neck ornament worn as a status symbol.

Transport
Getting around - See: Horse, CHARIOT, CORACLE, Boat, Cart.

Tribes
Large stable groups of poulation with well defined boundries. Each tribe had a ruling class comprised of Chieftans or Kings.

Urine
Stale urine (piss) is used for the preparation of leather, and as a mordant in the dyeing of cloth.

Wall Decoration
The Romans wrote that the Gauls houses were 'brightly coloured', and from evidece in Britain there was possibly painted decorations on the inside of the houses. The paint base was lime-wash, with mineral pigments added for colours.See House Interior

Warriors
Persons (male or female) who take up weapons and go to war. They can also be deployed as a protection.

Wattle
Thin rods of wood used to weave fences and house walls.

Weapons
Tools that are use for hunting and warfare

Wicker-Man
A large man-shaped basketwork, made of wood. This was filled with animal and human sacrifices, and set on fire.

Willow
Thin withies of willow are used for the production of baskets. They become flexible when soaked in water and can be bent with ease. Hardens again when dry.

Wood
The woodlands during the Iron Age were heavily managed to produce the right wood for the builder and carpenter. Methods of production include coppicing and pollarding. Uses of wood: Construction of buildings Lathe turned bowls, platters Boats - plank built and hollowed log Boxes - storage chests, and bent wood boxes Fences - wattle and hurdles Fuel…

Wood-Ash
Alkaline remains from burnt wood. Uses: Production of soap and glass.

Wool
Wool is the hair off a sheep. One of the by-products is lanolin which can be used in the production of soap. Uses: After spinning into a thread - sewing, weaving, embroidering Felt clothing See Spinning