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For North American Bronze Age Material


Dr. Erich Fred Legner

University of California




[Note:  All references to “Celts” should instead be made to other groups—see Celts]


Aesir.  Sky gods, chiefly Woden, Tiw, Thunor, and Loki, introduced into North American contexts ca. 1700 BC from either northern Germany or southern Denmark.


Aquitania.  District in southwest France, adjacent to the Basque provinces, where an ogam consaine coinage in silver was struck in the second century BC, carrying the Celtic word nomse [see Celts ] and modeled on the Green coinage, nomisma, issued by the nearby town of Emporion.  See ogam, ogam consaine.  The projectile points called "Clovis Points" that are found all over North America are now known to have been first developed in Aquitania and spread from there across the Atlantic to America in ancient times.


barrow.  An earth mound, usually circular in America, covering one or more human burials.


boustrophedon.  Term of Greek origin used for Bronze Age script that runs alternately from right to left and left to right, like a plowman's furrow.  The term means literally "walking like a plow-ox."


brachycephalic.  Adjective meaning skulls of rounded type.  Seen in most North American Indians, Asiatic peoples, and the peoples of central Europe.


Byanu.  (and similar spellings).  Mother goddess of the Gadelic Celts [see Celts ], worshipped at Windmill Hill, Britain, ca. 2000 BC and in North America, as ogam consain inscriptions at both extremities of the range disclose.


cairns or carns.  Mounds of stones, sometimes covering burials, sometimes serving as way guides or as sighting points in calendar regulation by the sunrise position.


capstone.  the uppermost slab of stone, or a boulder, covering a dolmen or a part of a stone chamber, extending from side to side, without corbeling.


cog.  An oceangoing Norse trading ship.  Used by the Ontario Nordic settlers, who called it kogh in their inscriptions.


consonatal script.  Typical writing of the Bronze Age in which only the consonants are expressed, the vowels being supplied by the reader with the help of the context.


corbeling.  Method of roofing a stone chamber in which each successive tier of stones overhangs the tier below and projects inward, so that ultimately a tier is reached at which the overhanging stones all meet at the center, producing an arched ceiling.  Used where large capstones are not available.


Creole language.  Any tongue that has developed from the fusion of two or more languages.  (A term used professionally, not yet assimilated into vernacular English).  Middle English and many North American languages are example.  Another term, preferred by some linguists is Mischsprache (German, "mixed language:")


cromlech.  A megalithic tomb in which a large capstone and several vertical stones supporting it and concealing a burial has become exposed through erosion of the original earth covering.  Some dolmens may originally have been earth-covered, and could therefore be called cromlechs.


determinative.  (also called classifier).  A small pictograph supplied by a Bronze Age scribe in words where the consonants alone may not suffice to disclose the word intended.  it indicates the category of a word; e.g., "brother" is a member of the category "men."


disk barrow.  A low circular earth mound containing one or many burials, usually females.  Typical in Europe of the early Bronze Age.  They occur in New England.


dolichocephalic.  Adjective meaning long-headed, applied to skulls where the cranium is relatively long compared to its width, as in many people who live on the western borders of Europe, or who descend from such stock.  See brachycephalic.


dolmen.  Megalithic monuments in which a capstone of up to 90 tons stands supported on three or more vertical stones.  Large examples appear to have been monuments in honor of a deceased chief; perhaps sometimes also used for religious gatherings.  Smaller examples are considered to be the internal chamber of a burial, exposed through erosion of the earth.  See cromlech.


druid.  Member of the Celtic pagan priesthood [see Celts ].


druid's chair.  Term used in New England for megalithic rock thrones, adapted for use from naturally occurring boulders of appropriate shape.


dysse.  Scandinavian term for dolmen.


Gadelic Celts.  Celts [see Celts ] who spoke a language related to Gaelic, and who came to Britain from the Rhineland around 2200 BC.  They built Stonehenge and their inscriptions from Windmill Hill show them to have written their language in ogam consaine, similar to that of New England.  In Britain they are called Beaker People.


gorget.  A neck or breast ornament.  Ogam and Iberic inscriptions cut on some bear out the true nature of some crude stones so identified as being loom weights, for holding warp threads taut.


grave goods.  Articles buried with the dead.  if inscribed in a readable script, they disclose the linguistic relations of the deceased or of peoples with whom trade was carried on.


bella.  A flat rock platform, often used for Norse inscriptions.


henge.  A circular enclosed area, surrounded by an earthen mound or by large stones, constructed in Europe at the end of the Neolithic period, 2500 to 2000 BC, but continuing in use into Bronze Age times.  Presumably for religious and astronomical purposes.  North American stone rings in some cases may have been henges.


Hjulatorp.  The locality in Sweden where Nordic words for wheel and globe occur in ogam and Bronze Age runes ("Libyan Tifinag") beside engravings of wheels and globes, dated to the Scandinavian Bronze Age.  Also applied to similar localities.


intrusive burial.  A later burial inserted into an ancient barrow and therefore accompanied sometimes by grave goods inappropriate to the era of construction of the barrow.


Iron Age.  The period when iron replaced bronze as the principal metal.  In northern Europe it lasted from about 700 BC until Roman times.


jaettestue.  Scandinavian term meaning "giant's salon."  Applied to megalithic chambers of the Bronze Age and late Neolithic.


Jol or Yul.  Yule, the midwinter pagan festival of the Nordic peoples.


Jol-man or Yul-man.  A clown featured in the midwinter festival of the Nordic colony in Ontario, Canada.


Lex Coloniae.  Decree issued by the Roman Senate in 133 BC, forbidding (among other things) the use on Iberian coinage of ogam or Iberic scripts.  Temporarily revoked by Augustus in AD 2, when an ogam consain coinage celebrated the adoption by Augustus of Lucius Caesar as his heir.


loathsome runes.  Term used by nonliterate Norse, fearful that written inscriptions might contain a curse.


loom weights.  Small stones with one or two holes, used for keeping warp threads taut on the vertical loom of Scandinavian and Iberian type.  Ogam and Iberic inscriptions on North American examples identify their purpose.  Usually called "gorgets" in North America.  See gorget.


Lug.  Gadelic Celtic god of light [see Celts ].  In North America, introduced by the Celtiberians but later fused with the Nordic Woden.


Mabon.  Gadelic Celtic [see Celts ]  god of music, sports, and fertility of males.  In North America later fused with Freyr and named in younger runes, but by his Celtic name.


megalithic.  Term applied to structures built of large stone blocks, without mortar, usually religious or burial chambers, standing stones and dolmens.


menhir.  Synonym for sarsen.


mesocephalic.  Referring to skulls intermediate between long- and round-headed types.


mesognathous.  Jaws intermediate between orthognathous and prognathous types.


nokkvi or noghwi.  Ancient Nordic and later Norse term for a ship.  used in Bronze Age inscriptions in North America and Scandinavia as a term for the sky-ship of the sun god and moon goddess and also for ordinary seagoing craft.


Nordic.  Any member of any tongue of the group that includes the related Norse, Germanic, English, and Gothic peoples and languages.


ogam. A system of writing employing combinations of up to five parallel strokes set on a "stem" line.  An ancient writing system ranging back to at least the Bronze Age.  See Aquitania.


ogam consaine.  Consonantal ogam, not employing vowels.  Used in Swedish Bronze Age inscriptions in conjunction with Bronze Age runes, in the Basque provinces at least as early as the second century BC, also in France, in North America throughout the first millennium BC, and thereafter to modern times.


orthognathous.  Term applied to skulls in which the chin is well developed and the teeth form a vertical, not projecting, border to the mouth.


orthostats.  Large flat slabs of stone sometimes used to form the walls and entrance of megalithic chambers.


Ostre or Eostre.  A goddess of the dawn of the Germans and English, lacking from Scandinavia.  Celebration of the spring equinox (Easter) by Woden-lithi's colonists [at Peterborough, Ontario, Canada] marked the beginning of the new year and planting of crops.


petroglyph.  Any inscription or picture cut in rock.


phonoglyph.  Any carved letter that conveys a sound, as in modern alphabets.


potsherd.  A broken pottery fragment.  They are often used in classifying archaeological sites.


prognathous.  Term applied to skulls in which the teeth and jaws project.


Regin-Domr.  "Doom of the Gods," the end of the world, as depicted in King Woden-lithi's inscriptions at Peterborough, Ontario, Canada.


rain god.  A sky god, called Taran or Daran by the Celts [see Celts ], Thunor by the Ontario, Canada Nordic people of Woden-lithi, and corresponding to Thor and Jupiter.  Rock-cut inscriptions in North America name the god in both languages.


runes.  (Old Norse runar, secret writing).  Term applied to any Nordic script, from the fact that originally the Nordic scribes were wizards who did not disclose to commoners the meaning of the letters.


sarsen.  Term used in southwest Britain for natural stone elongate slabs that have been erected vertically by human agency, either singly or in groups.  Also called phallic monuments, and supposedly the sites of fertility ceremonies.


spatulate or "shovel-shaped"  Term applied to the upper incisor teeth of many North American Indians and Asiatic peoples.  The characteristic is ancient, and occurs in the Australopithecine ape-men of Africa, in Neanderthals, in Asian Paleolithic people, and in a proportion of the population in many other races.  The characteristic is rare in Europe and in Negroid races.


suffix-article.  Linguistic term for the definite article suffixed to its noun, a characteristic feature of the Scandinavian tongues.  The suffix-article occurs as a Norse aspect of the language of King Woden-lithi in Ontario, Canada, ca. 1700 BC.


trilithon.  Two upright stones with a third lying horizontally across them.  In the Midwestern and Western states they seem to take the place of the eastern dolmens, where three or more uprights support the capstone.  At Stonehenge a group of trilithons occurs, in which the capstone is smaller than the uprights.  In North America only solitary examples are known, and the capstone is much larger than the uprights.


Walhol.  The sky residence of the Aesir in Woden-lithi's [Ontario, Canada] mythology.  It corresponds to Valhalla of the Norsemen.


Wanir.  Earth gods, chiefly Freyr and Freya, relating to fertility, and introduced to North America ca. 1700 BC from north Germany or southern Denmark.  See Aesir.


Woden-lithi.  A Nordic king, perhaps of Jutish origin, who established a trading colony in Ontario, Canada ca. 1700 BC.  The name means "Servant of Odin."


Ymir.  A sea-dwelling giant of Nordic mythology (Himir in Norse), recorded in King Woden-lithi's Ontario, Canada inscriptions.


younger runes.  Norse script in use after ca. AD 1000.  It appears in rock scripts in North America, notably as identification labels on Celtic [see Celts ]  gods such as Lug and Mabon.