But scientists have been surprised by the idea that a nomadic population would have stayed in one place for the time required to fell and lay timber for ramparts, and to dig out lake bed sediments to construct the huge mounds - originally six to 10 feet high, and now three feet high and nearly 40 feet across.
“The idea that foragers could amass the numbers of people necessary to undertake large-scale projects — like creating the Kazakhstan geoglyphs — has caused archaeologists to deeply rethink the nature and timing of sophisticated large-scale human organization as one that predates settled and civilized societies,” said Persis Clarkson, an archaeologist at the University of Winnipeg, who viewed some of Mr Dey’s images.
Some hermits preferred to live on islands where they could pray without disturbance. A number of small monastic sites are on islets connected to the mainland only at low tide. This enabled monks to combine solitude with easy access to centres of population. A monk named Cwyfan who was said to be a disciple of St Beuno gave his name to the tiny church on Llangwyfan, a tidal island off the Anglesey coast north of Aberffraw.
Over the centuries the surrounding land has been eroded creating an island which is now a rocky outcrop in Caernarvon Bay ... In 1802 John Skinner wrote ‘Llangwyfan Church is erected on a rocky peninsula jutting out into the sea and is an island at high water so that not infrequently the congregation were interrupted in their devotions by the rapid approach of the waves.’
The island is less than an acre ... connected to the mainland at low tide by a causeway that is two hundred metres long. The single-chambered church dates from the fourteenth century to the sixteenth century and contains some Norman stonework.
The most recognizable church on Anglesey, St. Cwyfan's, is popularly know as the Church in the Sea (or eglwys bach y mor in Welsh). Perched on a tiny island called Cribinau, encircled by a sea wall, this simple medieval church dates to the 12th century. It is thought to be dedicated to the Irish St. Kevin, who founded the monastery across the sea at Glendalough in Co Wicklow, Ireland.
It may seem an odd and perilous place to build a church, but it originally stood at the end of a peninsula between two bays, Porth Cwyfan and Porth China, as shown on John Speed's map of Anglesey from 1636 (shown left).
In the decades after this the sea slowly eroded the coast in the two bays enough that the peninsula was cut off, turning it into an island.
A causeway was built to the island to allow parishioners to get to the island. (3) Its remains are visible in the picture below. However, even with the causeway, sometimes high tides prevented access. At those times services were held in a room in the nearby house, Plas Llangwyfan, which was specially consecrated for the purpose.
The waves continued to eat away at the island until, in the late 19th century, some of the graves surrounding the church began to fall into the sea. At this time the church was also disused and roofless, having been replaced by a new church further inland. However, in 1893 local architect Harold Hughes, concerned for the fate of this evocative old church, raised money to save the it by constructing a seawall around the island and restoring the building
Although the church was initially built in the 12th century, only a small portion of the south wall dates from this period. Most of the walls were rebuilt during a 14th century reconstruction. In the early 16th century an aisle was added to the north side, accessed through an arcade of three arches, but it was demolished in the early 19th century as the cliff edge eroded ever closer. The infilled arches can now be seen in the outer wall, after the old cement mortar was removed during refurbishment in 2006. This refurbishment also involved limewashing the walls, making them very white, to the consternation of some locals who were used to the old grey appearance.
I don't know what's it's like for you guys, but the other mental block I keep stumbling over is the separation between Church and State. Doh!!! That's just what we're used to now. But for our "Celtic Saints", it was all one big International Royal Family business. If you weren't already a Prince or a King or a brother or a cousin of another Prince or King, you didn't get far as a saint. They didn't get where they are today by being commoners!
TisILeclerc wrote:Or simple navigators judging by the family tree of Henry the Navigator whose ancestry leaps from Portugal to England, Scotland and of course la Belle France.
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