Celtic Tribes

The known British Celtic Tribes, an overview

The Iron Age in Britain was a period of profound social transformation and cultural vibrancy, marked by the emergence of distinct tribal identities that would shape the island’s history for centuries to come. As the Bronze Age waned, a new era dawned, characterized by the use of iron, which revolutionized tools and weaponry, and gave rise to a patchwork of tribes across the British landscape. These tribes, each with their unique customs, beliefs, and political structures, were the ancestors of the peoples of modern Britain.

The names of these tribes, such as the Iceni, Trinovantes, and Catuvellauni in the south, the Brigantes in the north, and the Silures and Ordovices in the west, were recorded by Roman and Greek historians and geographers, particularly Ptolemy, whose accounts provide invaluable insights into the distribution and territories of these groups. The archaeological record, enriched by the distribution of Celtic coins and pottery assemblages, offers a tangible link to these Iron Age societies, revealing the complexity of their settlements, from hillforts to sophisticated roundhouses.

The Iron Age tribes of Britain were not isolated entities; they interacted with each other and with continental Europe, as evidenced by shared names with tribes in France and Belgium, suggesting movements of people and ideas across the Channel.

This period also saw the rise of powerful chieftains and the formation of tribal kingdoms, hinting at a hierarchical society that valued warrior prowess, as reflected in the richly adorned weaponry and chariots buried with their elite. The legacy of the Iron Age tribes is not merely an academic curiosity; it is a story of resilience, innovation, and the enduring human spirit, which continues to captivate and inspire. As we delve into the history of these ancient Britons, we uncover a narrative that is integral to understanding the cultural and historical fabric of Britain, a narrative that is as complex as it is fascinating.

Atrebates

The Atrebates (pronounced Atre-bar-te) occupied the area now known as Hampshire. This British tribe shares its name with and has close relations with another tribe in pre-Roman France (Gaul). This tribe was the second most powerful group in southern Britain at the time of the Roman Conquest. They issued and used coins, and had many contacts with France. They probably consisted of a group of tribes ruled by a single dynasty. Their territory originally stretched from what is today West Sussex, Hampshire and Berkshire.

After the Roman Conquest, their territory was divided into three separate civitates. One tribal centre was at the major settlement at Silchester, near Reading. Another major Royal centre, comparable to those at St Albans, Colchester and Stanwick, was at Chichester. The Atrebates had long links of trade with France, and it is likely that people from the Atrebates were related by married to people from French tribes. The origin of the name Atrebates may have come from France.

A French leader from the French tribes called the Atrebates, Commius, fled to Britain during Julius Caesar’s conquests of Gaul. Commius then appears as the name of the Atrebates ruler. From about 15 BC, the Atrebates seem to have established friendly relations with Rome, and it was an appeal for help from the last Atrebatic king, Verica, which provided Claudius with the pretext for the invasion on Britain in AD 43. After the Roman Conquest, the territory of the Atrebates was divided up, with Silchester (Calleva Atrebatum) becoming the capital of a Roman civitas the administered the area of modern Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Surrey and north Hampshire. The name Atrebates means ‘settlers’ or ‘inhabitants’.

Belgae

The Belgae were probably not a British tribe. Rather the Romans created this civitas (an administrative unit within a Roman province). Before the Roman Conquest, the whole of the territory between what is today, West Sussex, Hampshire and Berkshire was the territory of the Atrebates.

The Romans applied the name Belgae to a whole group of tribes in northwest Gaul, but the appearance of a civitas of this name in Britain is something of a mystery. According to the Roman geographer Ptolemy, its territory included not only Winchester but also Bath, and a nearby, but as yet unidentified settlement called Ischalis. It seems likely that Ptolemy has made an error here since the resulting shape of the territory of the Belgae would bear little resemblance to pre-Roman tribal geography and would be something of an administrative nightmare.

If the civitas was actually focussed around Winchester (called by the Romans Venta Belgarum – town of the Belgae) there is still a problem, since this area seems to have been part of the old kingdom of the Atrebates. The civitas of the Belgae was therefore most probably an artificial creation of the Roman administration, like the neighbouring civitas of the Regni, and was created at about the same time in c. AD 80 following the death of King Cogidubnus. Its administrative capital at Winchester was known as Venta Belgarum, which was an important settlement before the Roman Conquest.

Brigantes

This large tribe was, like the Votadini, a federation of smaller communities. The name means ‘upland people’ or ‘hill dwellers’. This name is very appropriate as the Pennines formed the heart of their territory. After the Roman Conquest, the Brigantes were formed into a huge civitates, or administrative unit that covered most of Yorkshire, Cleveland, Durham and Lancashire.

It stretched from the North Sea to the Irish Sea. We know the names of some of the smaller tribes they comprised the Brigantes at the time of the Roman Conquest. They include the Setanti in Lancashire, the Lopocares, the Corionototae and the Tectoverdi around the Tyne valley.

This huge area was very varied. As well as people living in the Dales and hills, many people farmed the fertile land in Durham, Tyneside and Teeside. At the time of the Roman Conquest, people in this region wore swords carried in distinctive local metal scabbards that were highly decorated. An important centre for the Brigantes was built at Stanwick in North Yorkshire in the first century AD.

This was probably the capital of King Venutius after he defeated Cartimandua in AD69. Cartimandua, the rightful ruler of the Brigantes and Venutius’ ex-wife was friendly towards the Romans, but her husband became anti-Roman after their split. Venutius and Cartimandua fought for many years until in 69AD when she was finally expelled from the kingdom. In 70 AD, the Romans invaded and occupied the territory and completed their conquest of the Britons and went on to conquer much of Scotland. In the subsequent years of the Roman occupation, the Brigantes were the cause of many serious revolts, which culminated in the building of Hadrian’s Wall.

Carvetii

This tribe lived in what is today Cumbria. They are a poorly known group which were made into their own civitas (an administrative unit or ‘county’) in the Roman Province. There is very little archaeological evidence of the people who lived in this area before the Roman Conquest. Like their neighbours, the Novantae, these people probably lived in small farms. They did not use coins or have big hillforts. The Carvetii might have been a smaller tribe within the large kingdom or federation of the Brigantes.

Cantii

 

Cantiaci

This is the name of the tribe or people who lived in north and east Kent. Like other peoples in southeast Britain at the time of the Roman Conquest, this group was very open to influences from France and the Mediterranean World. They had been using coins for at least 150 years. Like the Catuvellauni and Trinovantes they buried their dead according to the north French custom of cremation. This small tribe became part of the large kingdom of Cunobelinus. After the Roman Conquest, they became a civitas based on their principal settlement at Canterbury. The name of the modern city of Canterbury still contains the name of this Iron Age tribe.

Caledones (Caledonii)

This is the name of peoples who lived in the Scottish Highlands and Islands. The Romans used the word Caledones to describe both a single tribe who lived in the Great Glen between the modern towns of Inverness and Fort William. They also called all the tribes living in the north Caledonians. We know the names of some of these other tribes. They include the Cornovii and Smertae who probably lived in Caithness, the Caereni who lived in the far west of the Highlands, the Carnonacae and the Creones in the Western Highlands. The Vacomagi lived in and around the Cairngorns.

Other unknown tribes lived in Orkney, Shetland and the Hebrides. Warriors from many of these tribes came together to resist the Romans under a leader called Calgacus at the battle of Mons Graupius in AD 84. Although the Romans won this battle, they never successfully conquered the Highlands. The Romans admired the Caledonii for their ability to endure cold, hunger and hardship.

Tacitus described them as red-haired and large-limbed. All these tribes lived very different lifestyles than neighbouring peoples in other parts of Scotland. In many areas, they lived in tall stone towers, called Brochs, or other fortified sites, called Duns. Unlike the Taexali and Venicones, the Caledones rarely made religious offerings of fine metal objects.

Catuvellauni

The Catuvellauni were the tribe that lived in the modern counties of Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and southern Cambridgeshire. Their territory also probably included tribes in what is today Buckinghamshire and parts of Oxfordshire. The tribal name possibly means ‘good in battle’. The Catuvellauni existed as a tribe at the time of Julius Caesar, but in the following years became a mighty group. Their first known king was Tasciovanus, who is known from the coins he minted with his name on them.

He founded a royal and ritual centre at Verulamium, modern St Albans in about AD10. There were several other large settlements or clusters of villages in their territory, such as at Baldock and Welwyn. Before this time, the Catuvellauni, Trinovantes and Cantiaci were very different from other British tribes. They had been using coins for at least a century, adopted the same way of burying the dead as was practised in northern France, and eat and dressed in ways more common in France than in other parts of Briton.

Tasciovanus’ successors created a large kingdom through conquest and alliance that included the Trinovantes and Cantiaci. The most successful king was Cunobelinus (Cymbeline) who had maintained a pro-Roman stance until his death in 40 AD. Afterwards, two of his three sons, Caracatu and Togidubnus became anti-Roman and invaded the Atrebates and the Trinovantes (held by their pro Roman Brother Adminius).

This was the reason that Claudius used to invade and conquer southern Britain in 43 AD. Apart from this brief period, the Catuvellauni were one of the most pro-Roman of British peoples. They rapidly and peacefully adopted Roman lifestyles and Roman rule after the conquest. A wealthy grave of a pro-Roman Catuvellaunian ruler who lived at the time of the Roman Conquest has been excavated at Folly Lane, St Albans. They became one of the first civitas in the new province, Verulamium becoming one of the first and most successful cities in Roman Britain.

Corieltauvi (Coritani)

Another of the larger tribes, with tribal capitals and extensive farmlands. After the conquest of 43AD they were probably one of the first to become suppliant. However, between 43AD and 47AD the Romans found cause to enter the territory of the Coritani and made a legionary fortress of the capital Retae (Leicester). It is likely that those tribes north of Leicester were brought under the administration of Brigantia, who were enjoying a fruitful relationship with the Romans.

This large tribe appears to have been created only shortly before the Roman Conquest of Britain. It offered no resistance to the Romans and was quickly turned into a civitas (an administrative district equivalent to a modern county) with its capital at the city of Leicester. The Corieltauvi combined groups of people living in what is today most of the East Midlands (Lincolnshire. Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Northamptonshire). Before about 50 to 1 BC, archaeological evidence suggests two different groups or tribes lived in this region.

One lived in what is today Lincolnshire, the other in what is today Northamptonshire. Both areas were different to each other and were important centres of population and economy in the period c. 400 and 100 BC. At this time, Leicestershire was not a critical area. The Corieltauvi are known from their coins that are found throughout the East Midlands. This group appears to have been a new federation that united earlier different groups. This was a region where people lived in villages, and sometimes larger settlements. Leicester was certainly an important large settlement before the Roman Conquest, as were a number of large settlements in Lincolnshire, such as Dragonby and Old Sleaford. Between 43AD and 47AD the Romans found cause to enter the territory of the Coritani and made a legionary fortress of the capital Retae (Leicester), moving the IX legion there as part of the early Roman expansion.

Cornovii

The Cornovii are a surprisingly obscure tribe, given that they lay well within the boundaries of the Roman province and their civitas capital, Wroxeter, was one of the largest in Britain. They share their name with a Caledonian tribe who lived in the far north of Scotland. The name probably means ‘people of the horn’. There is no reason to think that this group shared any common ancestry with the group in Caithness. Many tribes or peoples in Europe at the time of the Roman Conquest shared similar names. This might be because these tribes had contacts with each other. But it is just as likely to be a coincidence, as people used similar types of names for themselves such as ‘the people of the mountains’ or ‘the brave people’ etc. The Cornovii never issued coinage and before the Roman Conquest and left little evidence behind. They probably lived in what are today the modern counties of Staffordshire, Shropshire and Cheshire.

Damnonii

This tribe lived in the central part of Scotland around what is today Glasgow and Strathclyde. The name of this tribe could be spelt either as Damnonii or as Dumnonii. The Dumnonii is also the name of a tribe who lived in Devon and Cornwall at the same time. Many tribes in Britain and France at the time of the Roman Conquest shared similar names. In some cases, this was probably due to part migrations of tribes due to internal conflict or external factors such as the expansion of Rome, it could also be coincidence, as people used similar types of names for themselves, such as ‘the people of the mountains’, ‘people of the horn’ or ‘the brave people’ etc. The Dumnonii were conquered by the Romans and for many years their territory was occupied by the Roman army before they retreated further south to the line of Hadrian’s Wall.

Deceangli

The Deceangli, the Ordovices and the Silures were the three main tribal groups who lived in the mountains of Wales. The Deceangli were the peoples of what is today north Wales. They probably included the peoples who lived and supported the Druid centre on the Isle of Anglesey. The Romans considered Anglesey, or Mona as they and the locals at the time called it, as the stronghold of the Druids in Britain. The Romans learnt that many Kings in Gaul would send their son’s to Mona for education, thus reinforcing this illegal religion, this made Mona a prime target for the Romans.

Caratacus‘ last battle was Close by in Newtown in the Territory of the Ordovices, helping to prevent the fall of Mona, after he was defeated, the local Brigantes revolted, helping to stall the Roman advance. On the eve of Boudica’s revolt in what is today East Anglia, the Roman Army had only just completed the long and difficult task of conquering the tribes living in the Welsh Mountains. The final episode of that conquest was the invasion of Anglesey and the slaughter of the Druids there.

Demetae

These were the people who lived in the fertile lands of Pembrokeshire and much of Carmarthenshire in southwest Wales. They lived in small farms scattered across the countryside. This people shared many features of their lives with their neighbours across the Bristol Channel in Devon and Cornwall. They were friendly towards the Romans and quickly adapted to Roman rule. Unlike their more warlike and scattered neighbours in the mountains of Wales; the Silures and the Ordovices. Because of this, the Demetae did not need to be intensively garrisoned by the Roman army, except along their eastern border, which may have been to protect them from their hostile neighbours, the Silures. The tribe was incorporated into the province of Britannia and became a civitas (an administrative unit, or county, within the Roman province). The capital of the Roman civitas was at Carmarthen (Moridundum Demetarum).

Dubunni

This large tribe lived in the southern part of the Severn Valley and the Cotswolds. They were one of the few groups to issue coins before the Roman Conquest. The main distribution of these coins shows that the Dubunni occupied or ruled an area as far south as the Mendip’s. The coins also hint that the group was divided into northern and southern subgroups. The Dubunni lived in very fertile farmland in farms and small villages. They did not resist the Roman Conquest, unlike their neighbours, Silures. Indeed, they may have been one of the first tribes to submit to the Romans, even before the Romans reached their territory. The Dubunni had a central or important settlement at Bagendon in Gloucester, on the eastern edge of their territory. This centre was replaced by the important Roman city of Cirencester, which became the capital of the Dubunnic civitas after the Roman Conquest.

Dumnonii

A British tribe that occupied the whole of the South West peninsula and parts of Southern Somerset. They did not use coins. Nor did they have large settlements to act of political centres for the tribe. The Dumnonii were probably a group of smaller tribes that lived across the large area of Cornwall, Devon and Somerset. There is no evidence for a dynasty of Dumnonian kings. People lived in small farmsteads, usually surrounded by large walls. They shared similar styles of highly decorated pottery. There is also evidence for contacts and trade with Brittany.

However, there were also local differences in the types of settlements and other aspects of life between different parts of Devon and Cornwall. Cornwall was one of the few parts of Britain where the dead were buried at this time. The Dumnonii appear to have accepted the Roman conquest without resistance and as a result, few garrison forts were placed in their territory. Yet, this area never fully adopted Roman ways of life. Lifestyles and types of settlements remained little changed from the Iron Age through the Roman period. The Romans granted them civitas status and the town of Exeter (Isca Dumnoniorum) was their administrative centre.

Durotriges

The Durotriges (pronounced duro-tree-gays) Centred in Dorset, this people were also found in southern parts of Wiltshire and Somerset and western Dorset. This was a people that minted and used coins before the Roman Conquest, but there is no evidence from the coins or burials for a strong dynasty of kings. Rather, the Durotriges seem to have been a loosely knit confederation of smaller tribal groups at the time of the Roman conquest. One of these smaller tribal groups that lived around Dorchester, buried their dead in inhumation cemeteries. A unique feature of the Durotriges at this time was that they still occupied hillforts. Although hillforts are one of the most well-known features of the Iron Age, most were no longer occupied at the turn of the first millennium.

The best known of these Durotrigean hillforts is that of Maiden Castle near Dorchester, others include South Cadbury Castle and Hod Hill. The Durotriges did have some trading contacts with France. A major trading centre existed at Hengistbury Head from which cross-channel trade with Gaul was controlled. This may be the settlement called Dunium by Ptolemy. It was located on the border between the Durotriges and Atrebates. However, cross channel trade was not an important source of goods for the Durotriges, who preferred local products.

A particular type of pottery made at Poole Harbour was traded throughout the territory of the Durotriges. At the time of the Roman invasion the Durotriges put up a spirited if unsuccessful opposition, and they are almost certainly one of the two tribes that Suetonius records fighting against Vespasian and the 2nd legion. After the conquest, they were made into a civitas with their capital was at Durnovaria (Dorchester) in the mid-70’s. Later, a second Durotrigean civitas was created, administered from Lindinis (Ilchester).

Epidii

Little is known about this tribe. They lived in the modern region of Kintyre and probably the islands of Arran, Jura and Islay

Iceni

This was another tribe that issued coins before the Roman Conquest. Their coins and other archaeological evidence indicates that the tribe’s territory was in the modern counties of Norfolk and parts of Suffolk and Cambridgeshire. They appear to have been a wealthy and powerful group of tribes between 200 and 50 BC. From their territory come the finest hoards of gold treasure found in Iron Age Britain; the Snettisham Torc’s.

Other hoards of elaborately decorated bronze chariot fittings point to a love of conspicuous display by the nobles of the Iceni. This tribe also shunned contacts with the Roman world and the changes they brought with them that characterised the lifestyles of Catuvellauni and Trinovantes at this time. The Iceni had important religious centres at Snettisham and at Thetford. But when they were made into Roman Civitas, the Romans did not choose either of these centres, but the settlement at Caistor, near what is today Norwich.

Was this because the Iceni led the most successful revolt against Roman rule in the history of Roman Britain? When the Romans invaded southern Britain in AD 43, the Iceni were friendly towards the new rulers. Their king Prasutagus became a client-king of Rome. But on his death the kingdom was incorporated into the Roman province and, together with other abuses, led to the Icenian revolt led by Prasutagus’ widow, Queen Boudica.

Novantae

A little known tribe or people who lived in what is today south-west Scotland. The people living in this area did not build massive forts on the tops of mountains, as did the Votadini. Nor did the make many offerings of fine metal objects. Like their neighbours to the south, the Carvetii, archaeologists have found little evidence of the lives of these peoples before the Roman Conquest. They were clearly farmers and herders, but few of their farms and other settlements have been excavated by archaeologists so far.

Ordovices

This group covered much of the mountains and valleys of what is today mid-Wales. They were the northern neighbours of the Silures and the Southern neighbours of the Degeangli. Like the Silures and Degeangli, these peoples lived in small farms, often defended against attack. After the emperor Claudius invaded southern England in AD 43, one of the main leaders of the Britons, Caratacus, led his army to the Silures after his defeat on the Medway and the fall of his Capital, Camulodunum. Having raised forces with the Silures he travelled to the territory of the Ordovices and fought with them against the Roman’s in their push against Mona. He was defeated close to Newtown in 50AD. The Silures and the Ordovices remained unconquered for some time afterwards as the Roman’s were pre-occupied by other matters. The Roman general Agricola finally defeated the Ordovices in 77-8. The tribe was incorporated into Britannia and became a civitas (an administrative district).

Parisii

The Parisi lived in East Yorkshire. They had a tiny patch of territory which formed a Selby – Bridlington – Spurn Head triangle. The Parisii seemed to have their own unique culture for this part of Britain, having square burial enclosures, many containing chariot burials.

The Parisi share their name with the people who lived in France around what is today Paris. Whether both tribes shared strong links is hotly debated. Unlike other people living in Britain between about 300 and 100 BC, the people in East Yorkshire buried their dead in large cemeteries. This was much like the way many people in France and Germany buried their dead at the same time.

However, in other respects, the East Yorkshire Parisi lived in British style houses, wore British style ornaments and used British style pottery. At the time of the Romans, the Parisi had stopped burying their dead in this unusual way. However, they carried on other distinctive styles of life and remained separate from their large, powerful neighbours, the Brigantes. During the Roman advance into Brigantia in 70AD, the Parisii played an instrumental role, giving the IX legion an unmolested route via Brough up the eastern side of the country towards York. After the Roman Conquest, they were made into their own small civitas with their capital at Petuaria (modern Brough on Humber)

Regni

The Regni holds a special place in the history of Roman Britain. Under the leadership of Cogidubnus, it achieved the fastest level of Romanisation in Britain. By providing facilities for the Romans, and access to the harbour at Chichester, it gave Claudius a massive foot hold on the south coast. In return for this, Cogidubnus was given a magnificent palace at Fishbourne. There is some argument to suggest that the Roman arrival happened in this area, in the territory of a friendly king.

Selgovae

A British tribe of Scotland, the name is thought to mean ‘hunters’. The Roman geographer Ptolemy places them in the Southern uplands of Scotland. It is not clear from the little evidence we have as to exactly where these people lived. Some scholars place them in the upper Tweed Basin. It is unclear if they were part of the Votadini. They might have used Eildon Seat as their principal settlement. But this might have been a Votadinian site. Like the Votadini the Roman army in AD 79-80 conquered them.

Silures

Several Roman authors including Pliny, Ptolemy and Tacitus mention this tribe and later civitas (administrative unit in a Roman province). Their territory was south-east Wales – the Brecon Beacons and south Welsh valleys. A people of the mountains and valleys, we know relatively little about how they lived. Like the other tribes of the Welsh Mountains, they were difficult for the Romans to conquer and control.

For a time in the period around AD 45-57, they led the British opposition to the Roman advance westwards. Tacitus describes them as a strong and warlike nation, and for ten years or more the Romans fought to contain, rather than conquer them. Although defeated and occupied by the early 60s, their bitter resistance may explain the late grant of self-governing civitas status to them only in the early 2nd century. The capital was established at a previously unoccupied site at Caerwent and was given the name Venta Silurium.

Tacitus described them as swarthy and curly haired, and suggested their ancestors might be from Spain because of the similarities in appearance with some peoples in Spain. However, there is no evidence to suggest any genetic links between south Wales and parts of Spain.

Taexali

Little is known about this group who lived in what is today Grampian. They shared much with their neighbours, the Venicones to the south. These low-lying and fertile parts of eastern Scotland provide archaeological evidence for different types of settlement and rituals compared to those of the Highlands and Islands to the west and north. Brochs and Duns are not found here. People lived in small undefended farms and hamlets. The name Taexali is sometimes spelt Taezali. Either spelling is a very unusual name that is not recognisably of the same Celtic origins as other British tribal names. Although the Taexali were defeated by the Romans in AD 84, they were never permanently occupied. Like the Venicones and Caledones, they lived beyond the northernmost frontier of the Roman Empire; the Antonine Wall.

Trinovantes

The Trinovantes are the first British tribe to be mentioned by a Roman author, appearing in Caesar’s account of his invasion of 54 BC. Already at this early date, they seem to have been involved in a power struggle with the neighbouring tribes to the west who were to be forged into the kingdom of the Catuvellauni under Tasciovanus. This group shared the same ways of life and religious practices as the Catuvellauni and Cantiaci. They used coins, cremated their dead, ate from plates and drank from cups. They became part of the large kingdom established by the rules of the Catuvellauni.

The king Cunobelinus essentially absorbed the two tribes into one larger kingdom. He or his predecessors, established Colchester as a new royal site on the same model as St Albans. Colchester, the capital of the large kingdom, was the target for the Roman Emperor Claudius’ invasion in AD43. After the Roman Conquest, the Trinovantes were restored as a tribal entity in the form of a civitas (an administrative unit or county) within the new Roman Province. The capital of the civitas was the Roman city of Colchester, which was originally founded as a colony for retired Roman soldiers.

Venicones

This group lived in what is today Tayside. The Roman army campaigned several times in the territory of this people, but they were never permanently conquered and occupied. The archaeological evidence shows that this people and their northern neighbours, the Taexali, had much in common. The Venicones were one of the few groups in northern Britain at this time that buried their dead in stone lined graves. Graves and cremation burials were very rare in other parts of Britain before the Roman period. Archaeologists suspect people often practised complex funeral rituals in which bodies were naturally allowed to decompose. The Venicones and Taexali also made offerings of prestigious decorated locally made metal objects in bogs and lakes. Some of these offerings include massive bronze armlets. Each would weigh over 1.5 kg and were worn one on each arm. Only the Venicones and Taexali wore these unusual ornaments.

Votadini

This was a considerable tribe or people that lived in the south-east of Scotland. In the north, their territory started at Edinburgh and the Firth of Forth and stretched as far south as Northumberland in northern England. Where the boundary between the Votadini and the other large tribe, the Brigantes, who lived in northern England lay is not clear. It probably frequently shifted as a result of wars and as smaller tribes and communities changed allegiances. The Votadini, like the Brigantes, were a group made up of smaller tribes. We do not know the names of these smaller tribes and communities. Archaeologically, the territory of the Votadini was very different to that of either the Venicones or the Novantae. Large walls, banks and ditches surrounded most farms. People made offerings of fine metal objects, but never wore massive armlets.

There are also at least three considerable hillforts in their territory. Each was located on the top of a prominent hill or mountain. They may have been used for over a thousand years by this time as places of refuge and as places for meetings for political and religious ceremonies. These hillforts were at Yeavering Bell, Eildon Seat and Traprain Law. The Votadini were conquered and occupied by the Roman Army in AD 79-80.

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    George
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    The known British Celtic Tribes an overview Atrebates The Atrebates (pronounced Atre-bar-te) occupied the area now known as Hampshire. This British tr
    [See the full post at: Celtic Tribes]

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