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Stanton Drew

48 49 The druidS keepers of the stones Despite Stukeleys promotion of the Druids as guardians of Stonehenge, as well as other sites such as Avebury and Stanton Drew, there is no direct evidence to connect the Celtic Druids with circle monuments. Indeed, tradition maintains they performed their sacred rites in groves, caves and remote valleys. The problem with associating Druids with megalithic monuments has always been that the first henges were constructed in Britain as far back as circa 3,700 BC, and until now we have assumed that the Celts did not arrive in Britain until much later. More recently, however, academic opinion has shifted. A relatively new school of thought now postulates that the Celtic invasion, dated at around 500 BC, never actually happened. Experts now tend to agree that the origin of the socalled Celtic tribes is more complex than first presumed, and some historians now place the earliest Celtic migrants in Britain as early as 2,000 BC. Certainly it is now accepted that the Celts might have migrated to Britain over a period of some centuries rather than having invaded the isles on one particular Saturday afternoon in 500 BC. This hypothesis, of course, makes it possible that the priestly caste of the Celts, the Druids, might have lived in Britain much earlier than previously believed. And thus that they might indeed boast a closer association with stone circles than originally thought.
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