EXOTIC FIGURINES of Mars and Hercules dating from the 4th century BC are among finds indicating that Mountbatten was probably the first trading port in Britain.

Cynthia Gaskell Brown, who will be talking about Mountbatten’s history at the city museum on Friday, said it was clear a prosperous community lived and traded there while Plymouth was still pasture land.


“We always knew it was an important prehistoric site, but recent excavations led by professor

Barry Cunlitte amazed everyone” said Cynthia.

“There was obviously a great deal of Bronze Age trading activity, probably with merchants who sailed in short hops up the coast of France,” she said. “The figurines found by archaeologists appear to be from the North Italian area and there are also lots of bronze brooches and bracelets from Brittany.”

Cynthia said it was believed the Mountbatten community traded with tin and slaves.

“Don’t forget that there was a lot of tribal warfare in those days and those taken prisoner would be sold off as slaves. The mediterranean people thought Britons were barbarians and major exports were hunting dogs, tin, corn and humans.”

Cynthia believes the people of Mountbatten enjoyed an affluent and reasonably settled life for hundreds of years, well into Roman times.

There is a possibility the promontory was the famed port Ictis, first mentioned by the Ancient Greeks.

“Other Westcountry towns have laid claim to being Ictis, but Mountbatten seems to fit the bill in every respect,” said Cynthia.

She said Prof. Cunliffe, who led the dig with a team from Oxford University, was keen to do more work on the site, which is now owned by the Ministry of Defence.

nor do I know of the real existence of the “Tin Islands” ,from which tin comes to us:

 for first the name Eridanos itself declares that it is Hellenic and that it does not belong to a Barbarian speech, but was invented by some poet;

and secondly I am not able to hear from any one who has been an eye-witness,

though I took pains to discover this, that there is a sea on the other side of Europe.

In Early Irish literature a Bríatharogam ("word ogham", plural Bríatharogaim) is a two word kenning which explains the meanings of the names of the letters of the Ogham alphabet. Three variant lists of bríatharogaim or 'word-oghams' have been preserved, dating to the Old Irish period. They are as follows:

Bríatharogam Morainn mac Moín

Bríatharogam Maic ind Óc

Bríatharogam Con Culainn

The first two of these are attested from all three surviving copies of the Ogam Tract, while the "Cú Chulainn" version is not in the Book of Ballymote and only known from 16th- and 17th-century manuscripts. The Auraicept na n-Éces or 'Scholars' Primer' reports and interprets the Bríatharogam Morainn mac Moín.

Later Medieval scholars believed that all of the letter names were those of trees, and attempted to explain the bríatharogaim in that light. However, modern scholarship has shown that only eight at most of the letter names are those of trees, and that the word-oghams or kennings themselves support this. The kennings as edited (in normalized Old Irish) and translated by McManus (1988) are as follows:

Letter   Meaning Bríatharogam Morainn mac Moín Bríatharogam Maic ind Óc Bríatharogam Con Culainn

B Beithe 'Birch' féochos foltchain "withered foot with fine hair" glaisem cnis "greyest of skin" maise malach "beauty of the eyebrow"

L Luis 'Flame' or 'Herb' lí súla
"lustre of the eye" carae cethrae
"friend of cattle" lúth cethrae
"sustenance of cattle"

ᚃ F Fern 'Alder' airenach fían
"vanguard of warriors" comét lachta
"milk container" dín cridi
"protection of the heart"

ᚄ S Sail 'Willow' lí ambi
"pallor of a lifeless one" lúth bech
"sustenance of bees" tosach mela
"beginning of honey"

ᚅ N Nin 'Branch-fork' costud síde
"establishing of peace" bág ban
"boast of women" bág maise
"boast of beauty"

ᚆ H Úath 'Fear' condál cúan
"assembly of packs of hounds" bánad gnúise
"blanching of faces" ansam aidche
"most difficult at night"

ᚇ D Dair 'Oak' ardam dosae
"highest tree" grés soír
"handicraft of a craftsman" slechtam soíre
"most carved of craftsmanship"

T Tinne 'Iron Bar' trian roith"one of three parts of a wheel" smiur gúaile"marrow of (char)coal" trian n-airm"one of three parts of a weapon"

ᚉ C Coll 'Hazel' caíniu fedaib
"fairest tree" carae blóesc
"friend of nutshells" milsem fedo
"sweetest tree"

Q Cert 'Bush' or 'Rag' clithar baiscill
"shelter of a [lunatic?]" bríg anduini
"substance of an insignificant person" dígu fethail
"dregs of clothing"

ᚋ M Muin 'Neck', 'Ruse/Trick' or 'Love;' How about 'breath?' tressam fedmae
"strongest in exertion" árusc n-airlig
"proverb of slaughter" conar gotha
"path of the voice"

ᚌ G Gort 'Field' milsiu féraib|
"sweetest grass" ined erc
"suitable place for cows" sásad ile
"sating of multitudes"

ᚍ GG Gétal 'Slaying' lúth lego
"sustenance of a leech" étiud midach
"raiment of physicians" tosach n-échto
"beginning of slaying"

Z Straif 'Sulphur' tressam rúamnai
"strongest reddening (dye)" mórad rún
"increase of secrets" saigid nél
"seeking of clouds"

ᚏ R Ruis 'Red' tindem rucci
"most intense blushing" rúamnae drech
"reddening of faces" bruth fergae
"glow of anger"

ᚐ A Ailm 'Pine'? ardam íachta
"loudest groan" tosach frecrai
"beginning of an answer" tosach garmae
"beginning of calling"

ᚑ O Onn 'Ash-tree' congnaid ech
"wounder of horses" féthem soíre
"smoothest of craftsmanship" lúth fían
"[equipment] of warrior bands"

ᚒ U Úr 'Earth' úaraib adbaib
"in cold dwellings" sílad cland
"propagation of plants" forbbaid ambí
"shroud of a lifeless one"

ᚓ E Edad Unknown érgnaid fid
"discerning tree" commaín carat
"exchange of friends" bráthair bethi (?)
"brother of birch" (?)

ᚔ I Idad 'Yew-tree'? sinem fedo
"oldest tree" caínem sen
"fairest of the ancients" lúth lobair (?)
"energy of an infirm person" (?)

ᚕ EA Ébad Unknown snámchaín feda
"fair-swimming letter" cosc lobair
"[admonishing?] of an infirm person" caínem éco
"fairest fish"

ᚖ OI Óir 'Gold' sruithem aicde
"most venerable substance" lí crotha
"splendour of form"  

ᚗ UI Uillenn 'Elbow' túthmar fid
"fragrant tree" cubat oll
"great elbow/cubit"  

ᚘ IO Iphín 'Spine/thorn'? milsem fedo
"sweetest tree" amram mlais
"most wonderful taste"  

ᚙ AE Emancholl 'Twin-of-hazel' lúad sáethaig
"groan of a sick person" mol galraig
"groan of a sick person"  

period sailor plym plympton Egg Buckland Keep hoazme tamar drake mountbatten eldadhill