Glossary

Amphorae - Large ceramic vessels/containers used for transporting liquid commodities such as wine, olive oil and fish sauces. Used in seaborn commerce, transporting these desirable Roman goods from the Mediterranean around the Empire and beyond.

Bronze Age - The name given to the period of prehistory, characterised by the earliest bronze metalworkers and their tool and weapon technologies. In Britain it spans the period from c.2300BC - 750BC, immediately preceding the Iron Age. Also the time when people were buried within barrow and cairn monuments and used ritual stone and timber circles (e.g. Stonehenge).

Celts - Constructed ethnic name, deriving from Keltoi in Greek and Celtae in Latin, given to people who spoke Celtic languages. Commonly also used in relation to people who used 'Celtic' or La Téne art.

Chiefdoms - Used to describe a society that operates on the principle of ranks (i.e. differential social status). Different lineages are graded on a scale of prestige, calculated by how closely related one is to the chief. Chiefdoms generally have permanent ritual and ceremonial centres, and are characterised by local specialisation in crafts.

Deposit - When used in conjunction with votive, a term meaning a body of material carefully or deliberately placed into the ground or below water (often groups of artefacts). In more general terms a deposit is for the archaeologist a unit of stratification. It may be a soil layer, natural or man made, distinguishable by colour, texture and character. Archaeological sites are made up of sequences of deposits, these are a record of activities through time.

Druids - Priestly class in Iron Age Britain and Gaul. Wise men and women, were observers of natural phenomena, moral philosophers, stores of knowledge, administrators of justice and supervisors of sacrifices and religious ceremonies. They played influential roles within Iron Age societies.

Gaul - The Roman term for a province roughly corresponding to modern France. The term Galli was used in relation to the Celts of France, the Alpine regions and northern Italy.

Granaries - Grain stores, usually built as rectangular structures and probably raised above the ground as protection from damp and vermin.

Hillforts - Fortified enclosures built of earth, timber or stone, usually situated in an easily defensible situation, frequently a hilltop. Constructed during the Late Bronze Age and throughout the Iron Age.

Hoard - Deliberately buried group of artefacts, often prized possessions, which were not reclaimed. Hoards are a primary source of evidence for the Bronze Age, although important too, during the Iron Age. Interpretations of their burial range from religious reasons, or accumulation of wealth, to burial at times of conflict.

Iron Age - Term used by archaeologists to characterise the period of time after the Bronze Age and before the Romans, when iron was the principal tool and weapon making material. In Britain it lasts from c.750BC - 50 AD. The terms Early, Middle and Late have been used to subdivide this time. The Early Iron Age spans from c.750-400BC, the period which precedes the appearance of La Téne or Celtic art in Britain. The Middle Iron Age is generally viewed to span the fourth and second centuries BC (400 - 150/100 BC), and was the period of currency of the Earlier La Téne art styles. Finally late La Téne art styles are largely confined to the Late Iron Age (150/100BC - 50 AD).

La Téne - This archaeological art form is typical of many parts of Europe and the British Isles, from the fifth century BC onwards. Named after a particularly large discovery of votive metalwork and artefacts in Lake Neuch‰tel, Switzerland.

Mabinogi - Reference to a collection of medieval Welsh narratives, occupying a central position in Medieval Welsh literature. They provide insight into life, customs and society in medieval Wales.

Mediterranean World - In geographical and climatic terms the landscape surrounding the Mediterranean Sea used in contrast to the term Temperate Europe, and encompassing the areas occupied by Classical Worlds (Greek and Roman).

Prehistory - Term given by archaeologists to period of time characterised by pre-literate societies. In Britain, this is generally accepted as being before Christ, and the Roman Conquest, although some societies retained an oral tradition for much longer.

Radiocarbon dating - A common method of dating organic material.

Roman conquest - South-east England was invaded in AD 43 by the Romans, however it was not until about AD 47 that they reached the borders of south Wales. Northern parts of Wales were not fully occupied until about AD 78.

Roman occupation - Term given to the continuing cultural control of areas and peoples not necessarily sympathetic to becoming Roman, often through continuing army presence. North Wales remained a frontier zone throughout the Roman period (AD 60-40), whilst south-east Wales became fully Romanised.

Romano-British - The name given to the period when Britain was part of the Roman Empire.

Trapezoid - Quadrilateral, whose sides are not parallel.

Triskele - A symbolic motif consisting of three legs radiating from a common centre. A characteristic motif of La Téne art in Wales, also seen on the continent.

Tufa - Geological name for a soft lime stone, deposits near springs.

Votive - Given as an offering to the gods and goddesses, literally in fulfilment of a vow.