Prehistoric Lundy

Lundy is an island as shrouded in myths as it often is in mists.

Archaeological evidence indicates that Lundy has been inhabited for at least three thousand years.  Pottery shards discovered at several sites have been identified as having been from items produced on the Island.  Stone Age tools suggest a developed farming community and existing traces of huts and field systems are consistent with late Bronze Age and Iron Age cultures elsewhere in Europe.

The Dark Ages, following the demise of the Roman Empire, invoke some wildly speculative flights of fancy involving races of giants, the Island as an entry point to the Celtic underworld and associations with various saints including the Welsh St Elen, St Patrick and St Nectan of Hartland.

What is almost certain is that Lundy was home to a Christian community in the latter half of the first millennium AD.  In the Beacon Hill cemetery there are four inscribed granite memorial stones, dating between 500 AD and 700 AD. Grave markers like these would only have been made for important people and to have four of them on Lundy indicates that the Christian community was indeed a significant one.

As the 8th century progressed, Viking raids on Britain became increasingly frequent.  Lundy, with its sheltered bay, would undoubtedly have made an attractive base.  Whilst no evidence exists to indicate occupation the name “Lund-ey” is Norse for “Puffin Island”, it does get a mention in the famous 12th century “Orkneyinga Saga”.

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