Brit-Am Historical Reports

11 May 2009 17 Iyar 5769 Contents:
1. Picts: Short, Interesting Article, Pelagianism
2. Book Review throws light on British Support for Zionism
3. Ancient Middle East: Archaeologists Discover Temple That Sheds Light On So-called Dark Age
4. Irish were on both sides of slavery issue
5. (a) The Brit-Am Version of
Explorator move to BHR!
(b) Archaeology: Brit-Am Version of
Explorator 12.03


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1. Picts: Short, Interesting Article, Pelagianism
Laser technology preserves Pictish carvings
by Norma Jackson
Extracts Only:

The Saint Vigeans Stones are a set of 38, dating from the early Christian period. Among them are the Drosten Stone, a cross slab that, like only one other stone, carries inscriptions in a non-Ogham alphabet. (Ogham was the alphabet of the Celtic people). The words on the Drosten Stone appear in Latin and Pictish and suggest 842 AD as the date of origin.

Pictish symbol stones are the main remnant of these people, who were known in historical times to occupy parts of northern England, Ulster and Scotland. They were called Pictoi ("painted people") by the Romans, who took the name from the Greeks, a reference to the elaborate tattoos the Picts wore.

As a separate people, the Picts persisted well into the Dark Ages, and married into the leading Scottish families. They warred periodically against "P Celtic" groups of "Strathclyde Welsh," who were related to today's Welsh people and who had kingdoms in Scotland. The Picts also fought the Romans, and, later, the Saxons. The P Celts called the Picts "Prydyn," which the Romans Latinized into the basis of the word "Britain." There is debate about what kind of language the Picts spoke, with some claiming it was linked with Celtic languages, and others claiming it was an Old European tongue, perhaps related to pre-Indo-European languages like Basque. Pictish words may continue to exist in place names like Aberdeen.

The main enemies of the Picts in Scotland were the "Scotti," "Q Celtic" invaders from Eire who gave their name to modern Scotland. The name "Caledonia," a folk name for Scotland, comes from the Caledonii, a Pictish federation.

The restored Saint Vigeans Stones have already given clues about Pictish life. They seem to indicate that the area supported both a church and a monastery. Since monasteries were centers for the intelligentsia and attracted royal patronage, the area would have been a very important cultural, political and ecclesiastical center and the stones probably played some kind of ceremonial role. The Picts are believed to have been evangelized by Saint Palladius (Pelagius), who had been the first Bishop of Ireland, and whose "Pelagian" theology was considered heretical*. None other than Saint Patrick himself, who succeeded Palladius as Bishop, denounced the "apostate Picts."

The physical appearance of the Picts is thought to persist in the dark hair, pale skin, light eyes, "lantern jaws" and "long heads" of many of the Ulsterfolk. The current Catholic/Protestant conflict in Ulster may be a continuation of historical struggles between the Celts of Eire and the Ulstermen which began long before Christ was born. Such an ethnic conflict is recorded in the Tain Bo Cuailnge (The Cattle Raid of Cooley), the central tale in the Ulster Cycle dating from late 11th/early 12th century AD preserving the oral bardic legend of a much earlier Iron Age war between the Ulstermen, led by their hero Cuchulainn and the army of Irish Queen Maeve.

Arbroath, home of the Saint Vigeans Stones museum, is also an important site for Scottish nationalism. In 1320, Scottish aristocrats signed what is often cited as the first declaration of independence in the world, which influenced the signers of America's Declaration, many of whom were of Scots and Ulsterfolk descent, in 1776. Called The Declaration of Arbroath, it was a letter sent to Pope John XXII, and is remarkable as a declaration of Scottish nationhood. The idea of nationhood based on language, tradition and culture was foreign to the Middle Ages, and would not be fully realized as an active norm until the French Revolution.

* A version of Pelagian views lies at the heart of Methodism and the Holiness movement: "Man is basically perfectable, and through living a saintly life may become essentially sinless." This thinking was behind various blue laws, prohibitionism, abolitionism and even eugenics in the United States, and is still seen in many "Christian conservative" efforts against pornography and in favor of public displays of faith, election of Christian politicians and enforced teaching of "intelligent design" in schools. It is also seen in efforts of the "religious left," such as the "sanctuary movement." Outsiders often see the campaigns from both sides as self righteous excess and religious fanaticism.

Brit-Am Points to Note:
Pelagianism in some ways was close to Judaism.
This is consistent with the ethnic connection between the Khazars and Picts.
Note also the assumed dominance of "Picts" in Ulster.

2. Book Review throws light on British Support for Zionism
James Renton. The Zionist Masquerade: The Birth of the Anglo-Zionist Alliance 1914-1918. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007. xi + 231 pp.
Reviewed by Antoine Capet (Department of British Studies, Universit?de Rouen (France))
Published on H-Albion (March, 2009)

Extracts Only:
...the author suggests, the Anglo-Zionist alliance was born of the deeply ingrained anti-Semitism of the British upper political establishment. David Lloyd George, prime minister from December 1916, believed like most of his contemporaries that it was impossible to assimilate the Jews, simply because they did not want to be assimilated. As he put it in a speech of 1896, 'the Jewish nation had clung to its traditions, language and religion through all the ages' (p. 15). This elite believed that it was impossible for a Jew ever to make a loyal subject: his innate allegiance was to his own "nation," curiously identified as world Jewry. They were convinced that whatever loyalty a government could expect from a Jew had to be bought by making concessions to world Jewry.

The second element is best made explicit by a quotation from the introduction: "The decision to issue the Balfour Declaration was not therefore driven by British strategic interests in the Ottoman Empire. The main concern for policy-makers in relation to Zionism was the conduct of the war in the USA and Europe, rather than the future of the Holy Land itself" (p. 5). From its fundamental belief in the indefectible solidarity of world Jewry, what Renton calls "the official mind" drew the conclusion that, in time of war, with the enormous importance of keeping and getting allies against Germany, it was imperative to placate Jewish opinion in Russia and the United States--again with the belief derived from this viscerally anti-Semitic mental framework that the Jews wielded tremendous power in these two countries, if only because of their number (p. 11). The Jews were seen as a double menace. Either as pro-German or as pacifists, they were in a position to weaken the Russian war effort and prevent the United States from joining Britain in the war (before their entry) or sapping the Americans' will to fight (after their entry). That the menace was nonexistent is beside the point--what counts is the perception of it among the (foreign) policymaking elite, intent on buying continued support in Russia and consent to declaring war in the United States from the all-powerful Jews there.

Renton very convincingly points to the third misapprehension by arguing that there was no real demand for a "Jewish home" among world Jewry, if only because there was no such thing as world Jewry. The Jews, like the rest of mankind, were profoundly divided among themselves, and the Zionists were probably in a minority everywhere. But then the idea of a Jewish regrouping in the Holy Land perfectly fit in with the romantic Protestant cultivation of the narrative in the Old Testament, a Hebrew golden age, in combination with the anti-Semitic conviction that the degeneracy of the Jews was due to the diaspora and that a return to Palestine might (the Zionists naturally said would) bring regeneration. The seminal concept of the "invention of tradition," so fruitful in other contexts, seems to be equally operative here: for Renton, the British elites literally invented a demand that was not there before (or only in virtual form, among the isolated Zionists)--attributing to the vast majority of Jews aspirations that only existed in their own romantic imagination (cf. The Invention of Tradition, edited by Eric Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger [1983]).

But then, Renton explains, the Zionists (who of course knew that their doctrine left most Jews indifferent, when not hostile) immediately perceived the opportunity thus opened to them. He usefully reminds us that it was Herbert Samuel, the Anglo-Jewish Liberal member of parliament and at the time president of the Local Government Board, who first submitted a memorandum to the cabinet on possible British support of Jewish settlement in Palestine in March 1915. He posed a new argument beside that of placating Jewish power: a British protectorate in Palestine would be eminently desirable for the control of Egypt and the Suez Canal (and, consequently, communications with India). It is not clear if the latter idea (extremely seductive of course for the military and for the imperialists of all parties) came from Chaim Weizmann, the leading British Zionist, but it received his unreserved backing. Still, at the time, only Lloyd George (not yet prime minister) showed interest.

Renton admirably unravels the complex interplay of military events, diplomatic necessities, and masterly Zionist exploitation of the moving situation that led to the progress of Samuel's initial suggestion and its eventual adoption as the so-called Balfour Declaration (in fact, an open letter to Lord Rothschild, a prominent Anglo-Jewish figure, was sent by Arthur Balfour, the foreign secretary, on behalf of the British government) of November 2, 1917. Renton ascribes the merit of instigating the government's evolution primarily to "four Jewish activists from the USA, England, Russia and Egypt, Horace Kallen, Lucien Wolf, Vladimir Jabotinsky and Edgar Suares," the decisive element probably coming from Weizmann's (mendacious) report of German agitation to win over Jewish opinion in the United States and Russia (p. 46).

Lord Curzon (at the time leader of the House of Lords and chair of the War Cabinet's policy committee on the region) was the foremost opponent of the declaration in the cabinet, objecting that it would raise "false expectations which could never be realised" (p. 72). At first glance, he was wrong, since "the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people"--the passage in the declaration which is the only one that most people remember--is now accomplished fact (p. 70).

The subchapter entitled "The Historicisation of the Balfour Declaration" superbly deconstructs what Renton calls the "myth of British 'proto-Zionism', which has had such a longstanding influence on the historiography of the Balfour Declaration" (p. 85). Here we have to deal once again with another "invention of tradition," going back to Oliver Cromwell, if not earlier, in the literature widely distributed by the Ministry of Information. Simultaneously, a parallel "invention of tradition" was taking place to counter the dominant position of the anti-Zionist Anglo-Jewish Association and Alliance israelite universelle, which clung to English and French as the language of instruction in their schools in Jerusalem. "One of the quintessential elements of the Zionist project was the invention of Hebrew culture," which was given a tremendous boost by British authorities after their conquest of Jerusalem in December 1917, "essentially a propaganda measure" (pp. 106, 91). The Ministry of Information staged a "theatrical" reception for the official Zionist Commission headed by Weizmann in order "to create specific messages for Jewry," especially the Jews of America, as the Bolshevik Revolution had greatly reduced communication with Russian Jews (p. 112). Here again, therefore, a two-way make-believe process was at work, with the British government using the Zionists for its own agenda and the Zionists using the British government for theirs. But, of course, at such games, one player always turns out to be cleverer than the other, and Renton has no doubt which it was: "the Zionists were undoubtedly used by the Government. They were not, however, unwitting pawns, duped by the British. It was in fact the Zionists themselves who established the rationale for using Zionism as a propaganda weapon, and consistently showed the Government how and why this should be done" (p. 7).

One constant difficulty for the Zionists, however, was that many American Jews saw the United States as an "American Israel"--they had found the Promised Land in the New World and did not see why they should endorse the idea of a Jewish state that would open them again to the old accusation, "citizen in name and alien at heart," with the "danger of a hyphenated citizenship" (pp. 136, 135, 142).

The greatest irony of it all--the grossest masquerade as Renton would put it--is that the modest achievements of the American Zionists in the late 1910s boosted their "claim to legitimacy and leadership," which "could not have been further from the effect intended by the British Government" (p. 148). The Zionists had now outlived their usefulness as far as the British government was concerned: the perceived danger of world Jewry siding with the Germans had been warded off, and the British Empire was among the victors in 1918 and it duly received a Mandate of the new League of Nations over Palestine. As Lloyd George said to his private secretary on February 15, 1919, "If the Zionists claim that the Jews are to have domination of the Holy Land under a British Protectorate, then they are certainly putting their claims too high" (p. 153). Indeed Balfour himself made it explicit again to Lloyd George four days later that the "home" in his famous declaration did not mean exclusive power to the Jews, reiterating in another form the precondition that so many people tended to omit, "provided that home can be given to them without dispossessing or oppressing the present inhabitants" (p. 153).

But there was no way the Zionist movement could be curbed in its development, especially in Palestine, without British authorities reneging on the promises made in the Balfour Declaration and betraying the hopes raised in subsequent publications of the Ministry of Information. As Renton puts it, "once the war was over, Britain's Zionist propaganda came back to haunt the administration in Palestine. Not only were the Arabs stubborn in their suspicion of British intentions, but many Zionists came to see the Mandate as a grave disappointment, if not a betrayal of the promise of the Declaration" (p. 151).

Brit-Am Points to Note:
The book itself as well as the Reviewer have taken a skeptical detached anti-Zionist intellectual approach that is also not very flattering to the British. Nevertheless whatever the motives may have been or were presented as being some important points remain:
The British believed in Zionism.
They identified with it and helped breath life into it.
The British bureaucracy and the Zionist functionaries may well have used each other but it was a marriage of convenience that could have worked and should have done so.
Peoples may let themselves be used but often enough it is because they wish the cause they are being used for to succeed as well as their own.

3. Ancient Middle East: Archaeologists Discover Temple That Sheds Light On So-called Dark Age
(a) ScienceDaily (Apr. 16, 2009) ? The discovery of a remarkably well-preserved monumental temple in Turkey  thought to be constructed during the time of King Solomon in the 10th/9th-centuries BCE  sheds light on the so-called Dark Age.
Uncovered by the University of Toronto's Tayinat Archaeological Project (TAP) in the summer of 2008, the discovery casts doubt upon the traditional view that the transition from the Late Bronze Age to the Early Iron Age was violent, sudden and culturally disruptive.

Ancient sources, such as the Homeric epics and the Hebrew Bible, depict an era of widespread famine, ethnic conflict and population movement, most famously including the migrations of the Sea Peoples (or biblical Philistines) and the Israelites. This is thought to have precipitated a prolonged Dark Age marked by cultural decline and ethnic strife during the early centuries of the Iron Age. But recent discoveriesincluding the Tayinat excavations  have revealed that some ruling dynasties survived the collapse of the great Bronze Age powers.

"Our ongoing excavations have not only begun to uncover extensive remains from this Dark Age, but the emerging archaeological picture suggests that during this period Tayinat was the capital of a powerful kingdom, the 'Land of Palastin'," says Timothy Harrison, professor of Near Eastern Archaeology at the University of Toronto and the director of the project. "Intriguingly, the early Iron Age settlement at Tayinat shows evidence of strong cultural connections, if not the direct presence of foreign settlers, from the Aegean world, the traditional homeland of the Sea Peoples."

(b) Oriental Institute Publications (OIP)
OIP 95.
Excavations in the Plain of Antioch, Vol. II: The Structural Remains of the Later Phases: Chatal H??, Tell Al-Judaidah, and Tell Tayinat.
R. C. Haines
The three sites included in the report-?tal H??, Tell al-Judaidah and Tell Tayinat-are all situated in the central part of the Amuq valley around the city of Rihaniyyah. ?tal H??. The most interesting feature of this site is the northern quarter of the city, dated to the beginning of the first millennium B.C. It shows some unusual features of city-planning. The individual units have new plans and the building tradition clearly differs from that of the end of Late Bronze Age Alalah. Tell al-Judaidah. ...Excavations revealed a royal citadel similar in plan and in details to the royal citadel of Zinjirli-Samal some 100 km to the north, supporting the assumption that Tell Tayinat should be identified with Kinaluwa, the capital of Hattina. It should be noted that the capital of this same region, called Mukish during the Bronze Age, was situated in Alalah. (Tell Atchana) just 1.5 km to the southeast. ...A new citadel was built on top of this complex, probably after its destruction. The destruction could be dated by the fragments of a Hittite (Luwian) hieroglyphic inscription found under the floor of building II (the palace). The inscription mentions the name of Halparu(n)da, probably the same king of Hattina mentioned by Shalmaneser III (middle of the 9th century B.C.). This suggests a date in the 10th century (or even slightly earlier) to the mid-9th century B.C. for the first citadel. Three main building phases continue from that date until the final destruction of the city by the Assyrians in the last third of the 8th century B.C.

4. Irish were on both sides of slavery issue
By Maureen Mulvihill
All nations have their dirty laundry. But through the quiet process of cultural erasure, cover-ups, and whitewashing, historians and others have found ways to marginalize disturbing events.

Ireland's complicitous role in the black slave market, dating from the 1600s, has surely been acknowledged by historians, but no one until now has undertaken an immersive reconstruction of the role of that small green island in the busy "black Atlantic" of the slave trade.

Before the abolition of slavery by the British crown in 1833 and by America in 1863 -- and certainly well before the success of abolitionists on both sides of the Atlantic -- many enterprising Irish merchants and property owners got rich in the Black slave market.

Fortunes were made by an oppressed people on the backs of an oppressed people; even today, the historical irony of the situation is difficult to fully take in.

Before 1833, the Irish had distinguished themselves as energetic players in human trafficking; and Ireland's profits from cotton, tobacco, indigo, and sugar products stimulated a feeble Irish economy and thrust forward its urban growth, particularly in such hubs as Dublin and Belfast, as well as in Limerick and Galway.

For a while, many Irish were prosperous and Ireland had become a new member in the booming economic system of the Black slave trade.

When the British crown granted Ireland "free trade" in 1779, many Irish got rich fast. Montserrat in the Caribbean, for example, a British possession from the mid-seventeenth century, was full of Irish and Irish planters who eventually created the island's Irish Creole identity. Charles II's Governor of Barbados described Montserrat as "almost an Irish colony."

Cometh the hour, cometh the woman. Dr. Nini Rodgers, an honorary senior research fellow at Queen's University, Belfast, and who was a recent guest speaker at Glucksman Ireland House in New York and at Notre Dame University, has done an important service for Irish studies in her new book, "Ireland, Slavery and Anti-Slavery, 1612-1825," published by Palgrave Macmillan.

Not only does this closely researched monograph position a controversial subject in wholly new and necessary ways, but it also demonstrates a measured methodology in the classic mold.

Drawing upon such primary sources as merchants' letter-books, slave trade statistics, census data, newspapers and pamphlet literature, parliamentary debates, planters' wills, legislation, and selected polemical writings and speeches, Dr. Rogers has given us the yield of her dedicated researches on a highly complex subject.

She wisely organizes a daunting range of information with two large intersecting paradigms: the economic and the moral. Economically, Ireland was deeply invested in the slave trade, and the island's growth and participation in the larger European theater resulted at this time from an infusion of new monies from Ireland's slave trade activities. As Rodgers explained to this writer and to a riveted audience at Glucksman Ireland House, slavery was so interwoven with daily life at this time, in America, in Ireland, and in Britain, that it was difficult to "escape" some involvement.

Said Rodgers: "Mary Shackleton Leadbeater's father had the sons of West Indian planters among his pupils at his proper Quaker school in Ballitore Village, County Kildare. And the great Irish statesman and orator, Edmund Burke, when as MP for Bristol, defended (early on) the British crown's African Company which ran the British slaving forts in West Africa.

"Burke's brother, Richard, had an official appointment in the West Indies, and he owned at least 11 slaves and tried unsuccessfully to boost his family's fortunes by acquiring a large sugar plantation on St Vincent. Maurice "the Hunting Cap" O'Connell, cousin of Ireland's famous emancipator, Daniel O'Connell, sent out one of his nephews to Jamaica.

"Hunting Cap O'Connell lived by buying and selling slaves on the island. And at the very time that Dan O'Connell was joining the anti-slavery society in London, his brother back in Kerry was saying he would have been ruined be failing butter prices if the West Indies market had not held up. Overall, Ireland had become part of the global economy, an economy heavily dependent on slavery."

But from a moral point of view, slavery was undermined, and eventually outlawed, owing to the force of public opinion whipped up by fierce abolitionists in Ireland, England, and the new United States.

Rodgers gives special attention to anti-slavery agitation created by such public personalities as Frederick Douglass, Olaudah Equiano, William Wilberforce, Edmund Burke, and, to a lesser extent, by such Quaker women writers as Mary Birkett in Dublin and the prolific Mary Shackleton Leadbeater in Kildare, a prot?? of Edmund Burke.

This is a serious book, not to be missed. It will benefit students in diaspora studies, slavery studies, Irish studies, and Irish-British relations circa 1612-1865.

Dr. Rodgers is presently delving into selected family papers (circa 1870 and thereafter) with an eye to women and marriage, child-rearing, careerism, missionary work, and literary activity. Hats off to Nini Rodgers for all that she has done and given us. And now: Let the debates begin.

Maureen E. Mulvihill of the Princeton Research Forum edited "Mary Shackleton Leadbeater" for Alexander Street Press and is advisory editor for the three volume "Ireland & The Americas." She is currently at work researching Irishwomen's political writings pre-1800.

5. (a) The Brit-Am Version of Explorator move to BHR!
Explorator is an e-mail listing of the latest archaeology reports and articles available on the web. Explorator is sent out weekly by David Meadows. The Brit-Am Version of Explorator is a very slight modification of  the regular version. The Brit-Am Version simply culls the regular version of entries that may be considered less pertinent to Brit-Am fields of interest. We do this with permission.
Until now  "Archaeology: The Brit-Am Version of Explorator" was a regular feature of the "Ephraimite Forum". From now on it will be a feature of BHR.  "Ephraimite Forum" will be dedicated more to articles concerning Ephraimite issues or issues Ephraimites may have an interest in from a cultural or religious point of view that are not covered by regular Brit-Am Now Postings.

(b) Archaeology: Brit-Am Version of Explorator 12.03
From: David Meadows <>
explorator 12.03 May 10, 2009
Getting a pile of coverage this week is a story suggesting the
famous bust of Nefertiti is a fake:,25197,25436791-12377,00.html

... not much of the coverage includes Zahi Hawass' response to the claim:

That Egyptian fortress in the Sinai is getting renewed coverage (I
think this is the same one as a few weeks ago, no?):

... perhaps this 'Karnak connection' is the reason for the renewed

Identifiying the herbs in Egyptian medicines:

Israeli police have recovered a 1900 b.p. Hebrew papyrus which was
on the illegal antiquities market (more coverage under 'crime beat'):

Nabatean pottery from near Jeddah:

There's a new archaeological garden near the Knesset:

Rachel Elior's theories continue to garner press coverage:

... related:



Visit our blog:

Mediterranean Archaeology:
A very old wooden spear tip from Slovenia:

Archaeologists are going to be looking for remains of a Redcoat
camp near Fort Augustus:

A Viking ship from a Swedish lake:

They're excavating a mass WWI grave in France:,0,2360956.story

Bulgaria is seeking UNESCO Heritage Status for its 'Valley of the Kings':

A 1641 'passport':

Archaeology in Europe Blog:

Some burial mound finds are hold up creation of an artificial lake
in Florida:

Flood damage inspection at Knife River Indian Villages revealed some
archaeological sites too:

Hype for an upcoming dig of the William Ladd homestead site in
Minot (Maine):


Nice feature on technology and ancient manuscripts:

Latest on Leonardo's Codex Atlanticus:

Handling pirates in the 'Golden Age':

How Google scans all those books:

Tel Kadesh:

Tel Dan:


Archaeology Briefs:
Israeli police foiled an attempt to sell a 1900 b.p. Hebrew papyrus

... and an "amateur antiques hunter" in Tubas was arrested:

eBay is apparently having a 'chilling effect' on the looting of antiquities:

The largest known (and previously unknown) Roman silver coin is
coming to auction:

... as is a hoard of Jacobite gold coins:

Nice feature on the Ancient Coins for Education program:

Walter Breen's Complete Encyclopedia of US and Colonial Coins:

Ancient Coin Collecting:

Ancient Coins:

Amsterdam/New Amsterdam:

Al Ain Museum:

Merchant of Venice:

Khazars Cover
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