Segments in this Video

East Anglia Fens (02:07)


Neil Oliver imagines how marshlands appeared to early Britons. In this program, he explores religion and spirituality in the Bronze and Iron Ages.

Flag Fen Causeway (04:56)

Bronze Age people viewed water as a portal between worlds. Archaeologists discovered an oak timber path serving religious purposes in a peat field near Peterborough.

Bronze Age Offerings (02:40)

Sacred objects were hidden in the Flag Fen Causeway; an expert believes they were used for small rituals. Locals continued to revere the site after it was submerged in 1000 BC.

Maiden Castle (03:39)

A Bronze Age hill fort in Dorset contains monumental boundaries indicating a fear based belief system.

Iron Age Religion (04:00)

1500 people once lived at Maiden Castle. A bronze burial mirror suggests a complex belief system; a priest class emerged and dictated spiritual practices.

Roman Invasion (02:22)

By 100 AD, Maiden Castle had fallen to the Roman Army. A burial suggests priests died defending the hill fort; the conquerors used the site for their own worship.

Anglesey Druids (03:54)

Romans encountered Celtic Iron Age priests ruling through intimidation. Propaganda may have maligned their reputation but the watery landscape was sacred.

Llyn Cerrig Bach Artifacts (03:50)

Iron Age weapons, jewelry, and slave chains were found in an Anglesey lake. They were likely submerged as an offering to the water; Romans saw Druids as religious extremists.

Bath in the Iron Age (02:54)

The Romans embraced Celtic holy sites; both were pagan and saw water as sacred. Learn why the Dobunni Tribe worshiped hot springs.

Iron Age Religious Survival (03:56)

Romans adopted Celtic deities; view sculptures combining the two belief systems. The Romans built a temple in Bath where they merged Minerva with the Celtic goddess Sulis.

Bath Roman Rituals (04:22)

An expert discusses how animal sacrifices were carried out. Romans came to the sacred spring to make requests to Sulis-Minerva—starting a tradition of tossing coins in water.

Lullingstone Villa (03:42)

A Kent archaeological site shows how Roman beliefs evolved over generations. Cellar paintings show that offerings were made to pagan water deities to keep the well clean.

Lullingstone Mosaics (02:49)

Messages hidden in artwork illustrate the villa's Roman owners were covert Christians.

Roman Religious Transition (02:02)

In 330 AD, Christianity was legalized and Lullingstone's owners could worship openly. They built a villa church; Neil analyzes holy wall paintings.

End of Paganism (01:30)

Lullingstone wall paintings are the earliest evidence of Christian worship in Britain. Believers replaced Roman and Celtic rituals but their sacred sites remain.

Credits: Sacred Wonders of Britain: Part 2 (00:46)

Credits: Sacred Wonders of Britain: Part 2

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Sacred Wonders of Britain: Part 2

Part of the Series : Sacred Wonders of Britain
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Neil Oliver goes in search of Bronze and Iron Age sites that were sacred to ancient Britons, with water seen not just as a source of life, but also of reverence. At Flag Fen near Peterborough he discovers a vast ancient causeway. At Maiden Castle's hill fort in Dorset he unearths evidence of human sacrifices to ward off evil spirits. Neil travels to Anglesey, where Druids deposited Iron Age artifacts and were viewed as religious extremists by the Romans. The invaders recognized Celtic gods but also brought their own, making the natural spring at Bath one of the most sacred sites in Roman Britain. Finally Neil goes to Lullingstone's Roman villa in Kent, where covert mosaic messages mark the transition to Christianity that swept away the old religions and changed Britain forever. A BBC Production.

Length: 51 minutes

Item#: BVL60510

ISBN: 978-1-60057-554-9

Copyright date: ©2013

Closed Captioned

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