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The Tudors

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Iron Age people had many gods and goddesses and gave them gifts to keep them happy. For example, when digging the underground earth houses to store grain, people would leave gifts of jewellery in the earth as they believed digging might disturb any gods who lived underground. It is even possible that some of the hill forts may have been built for ritual celebrations. There were many festivals throughout the year and four related almost exactly to what we call the seasons. February 1 was called Imbolc and was the beginning of spring and a time to celebrate lambing and collect milk to make cheese. Beltane on May 1 was when cattle were let out of their winter enclosures into the fields to graze. They were made to run between two large bonfires to prevent disease. Lughnasadh was on August 1 and was when the crops started to ripen while Samhain on November 1 was when the animals were brought back in for winter and breeding. At the start of the period Iron Age chiefs were still buried with possessions as people believed the afterlife was exactly the same as the normal one and so one would need normal possessions. Toward the end of the Iron Age ordinary people would not be buried at all. Their bodies would either be burned or left outside the fort for the animals and birds to eat. The Druids were in many ways the most powerful people of the time. They were the priests who even the chiefs would consult about various matters.

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