An archaeological dig of a Bronze Age site in Cambridgeshire has uncovered Britain’s oldest and most intact wheel, which is around 3000 years old.
In this short video, historian Dan Snow introduces the Must Farm site where archaeologists have revealed incredibly well-preserved Bronze Age dwellings. The excavation in the East Anglian fens is providing an extraordinary insight into domestic life 3,000 years ago. The settlement, dating to the end of the Bronze Age (1200-800 BC), would have been home to several families who lived in a number of wooden houses on stilts above water.
This video presents a computer-generated 3D reconstruction of two Middle Bronze Age houses discovered at Mitchelstown 1 on the route of the N8/N73 Mitchelstown Relief Road, 0.6 km north-west of Mitchelstown. The excavation by Eamonn Cotter (Eachtra Archaeological Projects) in 2004 revealed three Middle Bronze Age houses dating broadly to 1500–1200 BC, two of which were digitally modelled. Based on the excavated evidence, these two houses had been built over an earlier house.
This video presents a computer-generated 3D reconstruction of a Middle Bronze Age village discovered at Ballybrowney Lower 1 on the route of the M8 Rathcormac/Fermoy Bypass scheme, some 10 km south of Fermoy town. It was excavated by Eamonn Cotter (Archaeological Consultancy Services Ltd) in summer 2003. The Middle Bronze Age phase of the site consisted of three large subcircular enclosures (Enclosures 1–3), one of which contained an oval house, and three unenclosed houses, dating broadly to 1700–1550 BC. Late Bronze Age, Iron Age and medieval features were also excavated here.
To discover resources already available on this blog for ‘From the Ice Age to the Stone Age’ click on the Ice Age tag in the left hand column and it will take you to all the posts made on that topic to date. Other relevant tags include Stone Age and Prehistory, although the entries covered by those tags may be broader and include later prehistoric themes.
Whilst it is not essential to do any background reading before the course begins, you may find it useful to do so. The reading list below contains books that you can read. You don’t have to read all of these and we don’t specify any that you must read. Instead, these are readings you can use to gain a preliminary understanding of topics, as well as to study in more depth those parts of the course you are particularly interested in. You may also want to take a look at magazines such as British Archaeology, World Archaeology and Current Archaeology.
Clark, P. (Ed.) 2009. Bronze Age Connections: Cultural Contact in Prehistoric Europe. Oxbow Books.
Cunliffe, B. 2013. Britain Begins. Oxford University Press.
Darvill, T. 2010. Prehistoric Britain. Routledge.
Fitzpatrick, A.P. 2013. The Amesbury Archer and the Boscombe Bowmen. Wessex Archaeology Report. Wessex Archaeology.
Gosden, C. 2003. Prehistory: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press.
Oliver, N. 2012. A History of Ancient Britain. W&N. (accompanies BBC TV documentary series of the same name. Documentary also available on DVD).
Pearce, S. 1984. Bronze Age Metalwork in Southern Britain. Shire Publications.
Pryor, F. 2004. Britain BC: Life in Britain and Ireland Before the Romans. Harper Perennial.
Pryor, F. 2010. Seahenge: a quest for life and death in Bronze Age Britain. Harper Perennial.
Pryor, F. 2011. Flag Fen: Life and Death of a Prehistoric Landscape. History Press.
In this short video clip from the BBC series Ancient Voices, archaeologist Raksha Dave visits Butser Ancient Farm to look at the beginning of the Bronze Age, and construct an axe head in exactly the same way Bronze Age man would have done.
Scattered across the English landscape are hundreds of prehistoric monuments, spanning almost four millennia. Can you tell a henge from a hillfort? What was a stone circle used for? What’s the difference between a long barrow and a round barrow? This animation by English Heritage aims to help you discover the answers to these and many other questions about England’s prehistoric monuments.
In yesterday’s session of ‘From the Ice Age to the Stone Age’ we discussed the Mesolithic in Britain and, in particular, the famous site of Star Carr in Yorkshire. The website linked here provides a number of photographs of the site and video clips discussing aspects of the excavation and the artefacts found.
In addition, this short video clip discusses the use and manufacture of frontlets or headdresses found at Star Carr and other Mesolithic sites through experimental archaeology:
This final video by Archaeosoup Productions provides a nice overview of the site:
In our last session of ‘From the Ice Age to the Stone Age’ we discussed Palaeolithic art. A podcast about one such object, the Swimming Reindeer in the British Museum, part of the BBC Radio 4 series ‘A History of the World in 100 objects’ is available to listen to and download from the BBC website. This podcast tells the story of the Swimming Reindeer and its place in the history of art and religion with contributions from the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, and archaeologist Professor Steven Mithen.