- November 18, 2021 at 6:51 pm #14162
It is often said that there is no actual archaeological evidence so support the existence of druids – no inscription with ” x the Druid was here” sort of thing! However, I’ve come across an interesting reference to an ogham stone from the Isle of Man that bears the following inscription (in ogham):
DOVAIDONA MAQI DROATA
The language is Archaic Irish (Gaelic) – early to mid 6th century CE, and has been interpreted as “Dovaidona the son of the Druid”.
The stone itself is located in the Manx Museum, Douglas and it was originally found at a site in the parish of Rushen, Port St Mary. “Dovaidona” could mean “black” or “dark” fire, which is quite enigmatic in itself, and although some scholars seem to doubt that Droata is connected to the word druid, others have indeed interpreted it as meaning this.
As usual, it’s tantalising, tempting and yet frustrating at the same time. Nonetheless, perhaps, just perhaps, this is indeed epigraphic evidence of druids.
/|\November 19, 2021 at 4:42 am #14163Dave TheDruid-3X3Participant
I found a Website that shows this Ogham Script Stone as well as a few others found on the Isle of Man:
3X3November 19, 2021 at 9:10 am #14165DannorixParticipant
Absolutely fascinating! Miranda Aldhouse-Green has a new book out, which focusses on the archaeological evidence: Rethinking the Ancient Druids. I just ordered it, hopefully she’s mentions this too. Well, Droata does sound like it!November 19, 2021 at 7:48 pm #14166david pooleParticipant
There are other Ogham stones in Ireland and some in Wales; Ireland is very strong on this. The amount of real evidence may be larger than you thinkNovember 20, 2021 at 9:30 am #14172
There are indeed many ogham stones in Ireland and western Britain, however, direct evidence of their being connected to druids is lacking – at least from an archaeologist’s point of view. In addition, there’s scant evidence that ogham was really used before the Christian period, so linking this again to the druids is problematic – as usual, we’re in the realm of could be, may be and might be.
Digressing a little, it is interesting that some of these stones may have been “re-used”, that is to say, they were older stones dating from the Neolithic. Obviously, some idea of power or importance was still being attached to them. Similarly, in the Welsh stanzas of the graves -Englynion y Beddau, the warrior-heroes from British legend and lore are associated with dolmens and stones far, far older.
/|\November 21, 2021 at 10:40 pm #14179Dave TheDruid-3X3Participant
I guess such Stones are Aged from when it original was Cut and had its Oghams Inscribed, not from when the Stone was originally Created.
3X3November 22, 2021 at 8:43 pm #14182
Hi Dave 3×3.
The dating of ogham stones is an interesting topic, and not without some difficulties, either. A good number of the stones were prehistoric standing stones that had the ogham letters carved on to them at a much later date, obviously. The standing stones, or menhirs, are usually from the late Neolithic to early Bronze Age, thus pre-dating the use of ogham by millennia in some cases. As for the dating of the megaliths, dolmens and menhirs themselves, this is a subject for archaeologists and relies on factors such as archaeological context and the dating of material finds contemporary with the stones in question.
Regarding the dating of the ogham inscriptions themselves, well, linguistics can help out with this. Sound changes and language forms, principally in Archaic and Old Irish and then in Brythonic, Latin and Norse can all give an indication of the timeframe in which to place them. In addition to this, the subject matter, i.e. the names and so on, may also offer some indication. It’s important to note that ogham is first found in Ireland and seems to have spread out through parts of the British Isles, mostly the western areas, which came under Irish influence or which were colonised or invaded by Irish groups; ogham is not found throughout the Celtic world and nothing survives to suggest it dates from anything much earlier than the 4th century CE – the druids whom the Romans encountered would in all likelihood not known about ogham at all.
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