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New Celtic Information
on March 12, 2013
Cunliffe is a noted archaeologist whose books are always a pleasure to read and highly informative. What I especially liked here was his examination of the possible origin of the Celtic language along the European Atlantic coastal region. It is possible that instead of the traditional view, which sees the Celtic language originating in Central Europe from Poland through Gaul and to Italy and Celtiberian Spain, that the Celtic language instead moved from the Atlantic coast, the peoples who eventually came to speak it, having come from the Anatolian region through Italy and along the Mediterranean to what is now
Spain and then to the Atlantic coast; then the developed Celtic language moved to Central Europe. Cunliffe was greatly affected by the DNA analysis of Stephen Oppenheimer in reaching this view, but Cunliffe has long been an expert on the Atlantic coastal regions. Since neither Cunliffe nor Oppenheimer are professional linquists, it will be interesting to see how the linquists react to this view. Cunliffe also follows Oppenheimer in positing that the inhabitants of what is now England may have been speaking a Germanic dialect from as early as 6000 BCE or have developed one from their known frequent interactions with the mainland European Germanic dialect speakers. This would explain why Celtic has left so relatively little trace on present day English and why the Anglo-Saxon dialects became so readily accepted.. Cunliffe is less sure than Oppenheimer that we can differentiate the early Neolithic Germanic influences from the later DNA supplied by by Angles, Saxons, Frisians, and Jutes of the 5th century CE and the still later Viking influence from CE 800 on. Readers should note that these speculations take up but one chapter in a many chaptered book on early Britain.