The Most Important Ancient Religious Sites in Britain

In Britain, we’re lucky to have a rich archaeological heritage spanning thousands of years. Archaeology in Britain dates back over 10,000 years, with evidence of prehistoric settlements from that time. The first written record comes from the Roman invasion in 43 AD and the Romans built on this by building many roads, forts and towns. As a result, there are now over 26 major sites which are Grade I listed and more than 30 other lesser sites which are also protected by law. Some of these sites have been there for longer than others - some dating back to during the Stone Age... but there's much more to come!

Britain has a rich history of ancient religious sites. Many have been lost or destroyed, but many have survived and can still be seen today. Ancient sites are often associated with the Druids, but their beliefs and practices were widely varied from tribe to tribe. Many of these sites are so important in British ancient religion that they qualify as a National Asset .

The most important ancient religious sites in Britain include: Avebury (Wiltshire), Carnac-Léfou (Finistère), Stonehenge (Wiltshire), Silbury Hill (Hampshire) and Maiden Castle (Dorset). There are also many other less well known ancient sacred spots which should not be overlooked just because they’re less know about.

Ancient Religious Beliefs

Ancient Britain saw the emergence of a large number of different religious or superstious beliefs, some of which still survive today. The people who lived here believed in spirits and other supernatural beings, often as part of their everyday lives. Some examples include the worship of certain hills or hillsides as gods and goddesses, such as at Stonehenge or Avebury. Others included priests and priestesses who offered sacrifices to their gods and goddesses, such as at several sites across the country like Silbury Hill near Avebury in Wiltshire or West Kennett Long Barrow near Aveley in Essex. Some ancient Britons even believed in ancestor worship, believing that their dead ancestors would continue to look after them after they died too. Many of the ancient sites mentioned on this page are connected with these various ancient beliefs, which explains why so many still exist today.

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An Introduction To Religious Sites in Britain

Most 'Druidic Temples' in Britain are actually follies built by over-wealthy people during the 19th Century but there are still many Iron Age hill forts dotted across Europe, which were used for trading in tin and other commodities. The forts were also used as burial grounds, and archaeologists have found some 3000 interred urns here. Stonehenge in Wiltshire is a Neolithic and Bronze Age monument and World Heritage Site that’s considered one of the most important ancient sites in the Western World. It’s surrounded by mystery and controversy, and is perhaps most famous for being one of the first sites to be investigated by archaeologists. The site has been important for thousands of years, and inspired many important ideas, including the scientific method and the nature of extraterrestrial life. Silbury Hill in Wiltshire is an enigmatic Neolithic monument that was a major religious site around 3500 years ago. The name means ‘hill of a thousand ribs’, as the soil is so soft it’s crumpled up like paper. Maiden Castle in Dorset is a Bronze Age hill fort that was a religious site around 3000 years ago. It was occupied by Celtic people, who built wooden structures on the site. The castle has been ruined and rebuilt many times over the centuries, and is now a World Heritage Site.

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