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Posted on Tuesday, June 06 - 2006

" by Greywolf Druidry 5000 - 800 BCE: In the popular imagination, links have always been made between Druids and megalithic monuments such as the Avebury henge in Wiltshire and the Rollright Stones in Oxfordshire. This was also the accepted academic orthodoxy until the 1930's, when it was..."

by Greywolf

Druidry 5000 - 800 BCE: In the popular imagination, links have always been made between Druids and megalithic monuments such as the Avebury henge in Wiltshire and the Rollright Stones in Oxfordshire. This was also the accepted academic orthodoxy until the 1930's, when it was decided that Celtic civilisation did not reach Britain until 500 BCE, that Druids were a purely Celtic priesthood, and that they could not, therefore, have had any connection with megalithic structures erected circa 3000 BCE. Recent developments in linguistic archaeology have, however, re-opened the debate. Professor Colin Renfrew, in his book Archaeology and Language, (Jonathan Cape, 1987), suggests that Indo-European language and culture had already spread across Europe and into Britain by 4000 BCE, and that the cultural and linguistic group we call Celtic developed in situ out of this earlier base, rather than being the result of external influences. This `steady state' theory of cultural evolution was dramatically borne out by the recent discovery of a teacher living in the West of England who is genetically descended from a man whose remains were found in a cave in Cheddar Gorge, and who had lived in the same area 9000 years ago. It seems that Celtic Druids may, after all, have been the linear descendants of the megalithic builders of late Neolithic and Bronze Age Europe.

Our knowledge of the ritual practices and religious beliefs of these early periods derives from our interpretation of the physical evidence they left behind. These include complex passage graves such as New Grange in Ireland, where a narrow window above the entrance admits a shaft of light at sunrise on the winter solstice, illuminating an inner chamber deep within its covering mound, massive stone circles such as those at Avebury in Wiltshire, with its complex lunar and solar alignments, and the nearby Silbury Hill, an enigmatic structure which is the largest man-made prehistoric mound in Europe....


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