Early Britain History -Life in the UK Test

The arrival of the first modern humans to early Britain were people who had followed the retreating eyes of the ice age around 25,000 years ago. It is thought that they crossed the continent from Eastern Europe. They appeared to have crossed over to Britain when the island was connected to mainland Europe. The people were nomadic hunter-gatherers meaning that the men hunted animals while the women gathered edible vegetation.

early britain hunting

Around 6,000 years ago new ideas from Europe encourage the inhabitants to move into farming. They stopped following a nomadic life and started agricultural practices. Large areas of forests were cleared for farms. The replacement of hunting and gathering with farming was a gradual process which took hundreds of years to complete. Throughout prehistory, there were many small-scale societies and small tribal groups. These groups were in contact with other neighbouring groups. We know this because of archaeological finds of exotic imported objects which had probably been exchanged as gifts between tribes. During this time people began to make pottery the pots were generally simple and without any decoration.

From around 4500 bc, more sophisticated stone tools started to be made in the early Stone Age. Pieces of stone were napped by chipping off flakes from the edges. Later tools were made by being napped first then finished off by being polished with sand or a special polishing stone. This made the cutting edge of the tools very sharp. Violate stone age period houses had become permanent structures with thatched roofs and windproof walls. Early houses had been rectangular in shape but later it was more common to build round houses. People developed skills in carpentry so that they could build boats and make fences to keep animals enclosed.

early britain round houses

Scara bay on the island of Orkney is an example of a Neolithic settlement which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. From 3300 BC to 1200 BC people started constructing stone circles and hinges. Hinges consist of a circular ditch which is surrounded by standing stones or posts. One of the most famous hinges is Stonehenge. Most of the hinges are found within a spiritual place or a
place where religious rituals were performed.

early britain stonehenge

The Bronze Age started around 2500 BC in Britain. An important technological change during this period was the beginning of metalworking. Once people could produce high temperatures in their furnaces they could melt metals to make tools and also jewelry. Making stone tools continued as well as tools for piercing and boring small holes into the hide. Metal axis made it easier to cut down wood which was used for building houses and boats. Many of the lowland areas were settled with groups who later formed into larger tribal groups. Warrior tribes were able to control larger groups and large tribal groups became known as tribal kingdoms. Round houses started to be built with internal supports and heavier roofs. The first hill forts were built in the late bronze age. Grim Thorpe in Yorkshire is an example of a Bronze Age hillfort. Maiden Castle endorse it is an iron-age hill fought. The iron age started from around 700 BC. However, widespread use of iron was not common to around 500 BC. Blacksmiths became skilled in the making of tools such as chisels and source which were used for carpentry.

People lived in small farming settlements tending their animals and growing cereal crops. Hill forts were still common and Brocks or stone towers were built in Scotland to provide a secure living space for people and livestock. In Cornwall tin was traded with merchants who arrived in ships from the Mediterranean. Elsewhere decorative objects made from bronze and gold were produced and often used as burial gifts.  Around 8260 bc coins were minted and used in southeast England. by 20 BC coins were minted using silver and bronze and were sometimes stamped with the name of the local ruler.