Manx Museum

1128 Reviews

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Things to do


Date of travel

August, 2019

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On your own

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This is one of a series of more detailed reviews about the Manx Museum, describing the prehistoric and Celt galleries.

The Isle of Man was settled from the Middle Stone Age by small family groups of hunter gatherers. The climate was warmer than today and the island was covered with woodland and food was plentiful with deer and wild boar, fish and wild fowl in the wetland areas. Local transportation was by water using boats made by hollowing out tree trunks.

By about 4000BC, small farming communities were established and woodlands were being cleared for fields to grow crops and rear livestock. Clay pots were used to storage and cooking. The dead were cremated and the ashes buried, usually in a clay pot beneath the surface of the soil in a cist and covered by a stone slab, as can be seen at Chapel Hill near Castletown. Later these were replaced by the larger communal burial chambers as seen at Meayll Circle and Cashtal yn Ard and date from this time.

Metal working appeared around 2600BC, first using bronze and later iron. There is no evidence of large scale migrations of Celts from Europe, but Celtic ideas and culture gradually spread west and became part of the traditional way of life. Family groups lived in round houses and the remains of one can still be seen at The Braaid.

Early Irish missionaries Known as Cukldees arrived in the C5th bringing Christianity with them. They established small keills, which were simple stone or earth and tiber structures and their remains can still be found across the Island. and Christian graves were marked by carved stones. These began with a simple carved cross but gradually became more elaborate.

The gallerires have a wonderful range of artefacts from stone age tools to burial sites. There are examples of Celtic crosses and detailed information boards describing not only the artefacts but also way of life and customs.


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