tribes of britain

Very Rare Stater of the Ambiani, Northeast Gaul, 2nd Century BC

Obverse: Celticized bust of Apollo left, wearing broad wreath and drapery with linear designs. Reverse: Celticized Nike driving quadriga left; star and ornaments in field, rosette-like device and two pellets-in-annulets below; zigzag pattern in exergue.

The Ambiani were a Celtic speaking Belgic people in the valley of the Samara (modern Somme) and their chief town was Samarobriva, later called Ambiani and Civitas Ambianensium. They were among the people who took part in the great insurrection against the Romans, which is described in the seventh book of Caesar’s Gallic War.

The Ambiani were consummate minters and Ambianic coinage has been found throughout the territories of the Belgic tribes, including the Belgae of Britain. There is some evidence from coins that bear a stag on one side and a betorced head on the obverse that the Ambiani were followers of the god Cernunnos (horned God). A few Ambiani coins have been found along the south coast of the West Country possibly as the result of trade across the English channel.

Eating brains helped Papua New Guinea tribe resist disease

Research involving a former brain-eating tribe from Papua New Guinea is helping scientists better understand mad cow disease and other so-called prion conditions and may also offer insights into Parkinson’s and dementia.

People of the Fore tribe, studied by scientists from Britain and Papua New Guinea, have developed genetic resistance to a mad cow-like disease called kuru, which was spread mostly by the now abandoned ritual of eating relatives’ brains at funerals.

Experts say the cannibalistic practice led to a major epidemic of kuru prion disease among the Fore people, which at its height in the late 1950s caused the death of up to 2% of the population each year.

In findings published in the scientific journal Nature, the researchers said they had identified the specific prion resistance gene – and found that it also protects against all other forms of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD).

“This is a striking example of Darwinian evolution in humans, the epidemic of prion disease selecting a single genetic change that provided complete protection against an invariably fatal dementia,” said John Collinge of the Institute of Neurology’s prion unit at University College London, which co-led the work.

Papua New Guinea Photograph: Lloyd Jones/AAP Image