Christianity truly began to take hold in Britain around the turn of the 7th Century, with the arrival of Anglo-Saxons. Prior to this, human habitation on the British Isles went back more than 30,000 years. Yet most British history we know through films, books, and popular consciousness concerns Christian Britain. What was Britain like before Christianity? Savage? Refined? Confused? All of these things? Read on for crazy facts about pre-Christian Britain.(Author's Note: Ireland was left almost entirely off this list because it's not part of Britain. Northern Ireland was left off due to the controversial nature of its status within the British Isles.)
Druids performed all manner of rituals in Britain, including, according to Roman sources, human sacrifice. One form of druidic human sacrifice entailed building a large, hollow man out of wicker, filling it with human tributes, and then lighting it on fire. Some scholars suggest Romans made up the part about the wicker man containing human sacrifices (seriously, wouldn't a giant structure made of wicker just collapse if filled with the weight of human bodies?) —the druids simply burned an effigy of a man as an offering to gods.