The Iron Age period c. 800 BC - AD 43
Though the study of late prehistory in Britain has commonly focused on the introduction of metallurgy, many important developments also took place, including changes in the agricultural landscape and technological advances. Just as the transition from the Late Bronze Age is often an unclear boundary, many aspects of Late Iron Age culture also remained largely unchanged into the Roman period, particularly in the countryside.
The Bronze Age c. 2500 - 800 BC
Although it is common to generalise late prehistory – and the Bronze Age in particular – as the period which saw the introduction of metallurgy, other important developments took place, including open settlement and field system patterns. At the same time, many practices continued from the Late Neolithic which preceded it, making it a complex period with cultural change very gradual over time.
The Neolithic period c. 4000 - 2200 BC
Although the ‘New Stone Age’ is traditionally seen as the period when farming was introduced to Britain, the vast timeframe of early prehistory can make it easy to generalise on the many – often complex – developments which took place. Rather than too much focus on ‘settling down’ however, emphasis has shifted to the real change being a new world view comprising notions of time, descent, origin, ancestry, community, nature, etc.
The Mesolithic period c. 9300 - 4300 BC
The vast period of the ‘Stone Age’ is often broadly generalised in terms of the key developments which took place, though many concepts have since evolved over the years. The Meso- (‘Middle’) era is one which is most commonly characterised as the period of nomadic groups living off of what they could hunt or gather seasonally, during a period which shifted to covered woodland as a result of rising sea levels and climatic warming.
The Palaeolithic period c. 850,000 - 9000 BC
The vast timespan of the ‘Stone Age’ – over half a million years – is often difficult to conceptualise, not least because it is represented by a wide diversity of artefacts and complexity of themes. The Palaeolithic (or ‘Old Stone Age’) is the era which begins with the earliest humans and ends with the retreat of the glaciers in the last Ice Age. Although much of our evidence is in the form of the flint tools left behind in the archaeological record, other sites from around Britain can give some insight into other aspects of material culture, including art.
Part of The Artefacts and Archives Research Groups
Magnetometer survey by D Lewis and M Roseveare of Tigergeo Limited detected evidence of known former field boundaries and previous agricultural use. Three areas of probable quarrying activity were noted although quantities of magnetically susceptible debris, probably imported as a result of farming practices, made identification of discrete features problematic.