Rethinking the Ancient Druids

An Archaeological Perspective

Author(s) Miranda Aldhouse-Green

Language: English

Genre(s): Archaeology

Series: New Approaches to Celtic Religion and Mythology

  • September 2021 · 224 pages ·216x138mm

  • · Paperback - 9781786837974
  • · eBook - pdf - 9781786837981
  • · eBook - epub - 9781786837998

About The Book

Ancient Classical authors have painted the Druids in a bad light, defining them as a barbaric priesthood, who 2,000 years ago perpetrated savage and blood rites in ancient Britain and Gaul in the name of their gods. Archaeology tells a different and more complicated story of this enigmatic priesthood, a theocracy with immense political and sacred power. This book explores the tangible ‘footprint’ the Druids have left behind: in sacred spaces, art, ritual equipment, images of the gods, strange burial rites and human sacrifice. Their material culture indicates how close was the relationship between Druids and the spirit-world, which evidence suggests they accessed through drug-induced trance.


Rethinking the Ancient Druids is a truly invaluable resource for those interested in Celtic studies. While it is a scholarly text, it is by no means inaccessible to the general public. It is rife with beautiful photos of archaeological artefacts that the general public might not otherwise get a chance to see. The bibliography and thorough notes should provide any curious reader with a far larger reading list, while also attesting to the deep level of research that Aldhouse-Green has done. While we may never know precisely who the ancient druids were, and what they believed - this book does provide a more thorough and precise understanding of them than we have previously had. Like Chadwick’s book before, this one shall certainly turn into a classic within its field. - Folklore Podcast


PROLOGUE: The untouched Cave
CH. 1: Time and Space: contextualizing Druids in the ancient world
CH. 2: Barbarians and Wise Men: rethinking Classical texts
CH. 3: Spiritual Spaces: rites and beliefs in Iron Age Britain and Gaul
CH. 4: Images and Symbols: sacred art and the Druids
CH. 5: Welsh Connections: spotlight on Druidic Wales
CH. 6: A Holy War: Boudica and the Druids against Rome
CH. 7: Reading Runes and Telling Spoons: divining the divine
CH. 8: Druids and Deities: changing spirits in Roman Gaul and Britain
CH. 9: Ideas of Afterlife: death, burial and reincarnation
EPILOGUE: The Untouched Cave Revisited

About the Author(s)

Author(s): Miranda Aldhouse-Green

Miranda Aldhouse-Green is Emeritus Professor of Archaeology at Cardiff University, author of several books and papers on ancient European religion, and holder of two Book of the Year awards from national US archaeological societies.

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