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Sunlight, Trees, and Conversion

Those of you lucky enough to have read through the study programs I post here may have seen me cite a documentary I own called “In Search of Ancient Ireland” it is really great, you should buy it! It was produced, in part, by the Educational Broadcasting Corporation for PBS so you might have seen it there as well.

Anyways, in the second part of the video there is a lot of talk about the transfer of Pagan to Christian belief that took place in Ireland in the 6th and 7th centuries (I think, going from memory here). One of the weird things about Ireland’s conversion is that there are no martyrs, and no archaeological evidence of a violent take over, apparently the change from Pagan to Christian was a peaceful one. This is pretty unusual in Europe and many scholars have wondered why.

One of these scientists studies the bog tree rings. To those of you who do not know, Ireland once had many more Peat Bogs than it does today (and there are still a lot) and as the land has been drained and made into workable farms tree stumps, thousands and thousands years of age, have slowly risen out of the bogs. Do to the nature of the peat these trees are very well preserved. So well that scientists can cut sections away to study the rings.

They can tell, for instance, when environmental conditions are good and how much rain and sun the tree received (and therefore other plants). What does this show them? Not very much really on its own but when they compare it to the archaeological and historical research some amazing things come to light. . . . .

Read the original article at: Jamies Journal

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