The 2,300-year-old bark shield is the only one of its kind ever found in Europe A unique bark shield from the Iron Age has been discovered by archaeologists from the University of Leicester, the only one of its kind ever found in Europe. The shield, which measured 670 x 370mm in the ground, was found […]
In our last session on Iron Age Leicestershire, we looked at the end of the Iron Age and the arrival of the Romans. This English Heritage webpage discusses the Iron Age Kings and their Roman Connections, whilst in this BBC Radio 4 programme from 2003, Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the Romans in Britain.
Historian Bettany Hughes explores what made Britain so attractive to the ancient Romans that they made it a province of their great empire:
This animation explores life in Britain during the Roman Invasion and Boudica’s rebellion in 60AD:
In our last session, we discussed the topic of daily life in the Iron Age in Leicestershire. What was life like in an Iron Age village? How did Iron Age people live? What did they eat? What did they wear? For those who are interested in finding out more about the latter, it is possible to search the Portable Antiquities Scheme database to discover more about what small objects e.g. brooches have been discovered in the county.
This video clip on family life in the Iron Age was originally filmed for for the Museum of Liverpool Life.
The Hallaton Treasure, which can be seen at the Harborough Museum in Leicestershire, was discovered in 2000 by metal detectorist, Ken Wallace, and other volunteers from the Hallaton Fieldwork Group. Along with the Hallaton Fieldwork group, The University of Leicester Archaeological Services (ULAS) began excavating what turned out to be one of the most important Iron Age sites in Britain. They discovered over 5,000 glittering coins, mysterious offerings and a beautiful and unique 1st century Roman cavalry helmet as part of what is known as the Hallaton Treasure project.
– The Hallaton Treasure: evidence of a new kind of shrine? (Current Archaeology)
– The Hallaton Hoard (Portable Antiquities Scheme)
– The Iron Age and Roman East Leicestershire Hoards (British Museum)
– The Hallaton Treasure (Wikipedia)
– Hallaton helmet unveiled after nine-year restoration (BBC News)
– Hallaton Roman coin is ‘oldest found in Britain’ (BBC News)
In our second session about Iron Age Leicestershire, we looked at the topic of settlement, investigating both hillforts and roundhouses. One of the sites we examined was the hillfort at Burrough Hill which was the subject of a training excavation by the University of Leicester from 2010 – 2014. Information about the project’s findings, including posters presenting each season’s discoveries, are available on their website.
This news clip, which aired on BBC East Midlands Today, relates to an Iron Age skeleton discovered at Burrough Hill:
This video by the University of Leicester discusses recent Iron Age finds from Glenfield Park:
There is an article, published in the BBC Countryfile magazine, which provides more information about British hillforts and recommends some that they consider worth a visit.
You may also want to check out Atlas of Hillforts website; if you agree to their Terms and Conditions, then click OK, you can explore the map of hillforts in Britain and Ireland.
The BBC History website has an animated reconstruction of an Iron Age roundhouse, which may also be of interest.
The Corieltauvi (formerly thought to be called the Coritani, and sometimes referred to as the Corieltavi) were a tribe of people living in Britain prior to the Roman conquest, and thereafter a civitas of Roman Britain. Their territory was in what is now the English East Midlands. They were bordered by the Brigantes to the north, the Cornovii to the west, the Dobunni and Catuvellauni to the south, and the Iceni to the east. Their capital was called Ratae Corieltauvorum, known today as Leicester.
– Corieltauvi (Wikipedia)
– Native Tribes of Britain (BBC)
– Coinage and the Settlements of the Corieltauvi in East Midland Britain (pdf)
The Iron Age is the final epoch of the three-age system, preceded by the Stone Age (Neolithic) and the Bronze Age. As its name suggests, Iron Age technology is characterized by the production of tools and weaponry by ferrous metallurgy (ironworking).
In the session, we listened to a segment of this podcast by Naked Archaeology on iron, glass and slag. In addition, an episode of BBC Radio 4’s ‘In Our Time‘ from 2011 discusses discuss the dawn of the European Iron Age and provides a useful overview.
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.
Further suggestions about ways you can extend your understanding of topics through books, television etc may also be posted as appropriate on this blog.
Collis, J.R. 2003. The Celts, origins, myths, inventions. The History Press.
Cunliffe, B. 2003. The Celts: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press.
Cunliffe, B. 2009. Iron Age Communities in Britain, Fourth Edition. Routledge.
Cunliffe, B. 2010. The Druids: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press.
Cunliffe B. 2011. Danebury Hillfort. 3rd Edition. The History Press.
Cunliffe, B. 2018. The Ancient Celts. 2nd Edition. Oxford University Press.
Dyer J. 1992. Hillforts of England and Wales. 2nd Edition. Shire Archaeology
Foster, J. 2002. Life and Death in the Iron Age. Ashmolean Museum.
Morse, MA. 2005. How the Celts came to Britain. The History Press.
Pryor, F. 2004. Britain, BC; life in Britain and Ireland before the Romans. Harper Perennial
Reynolds P. 1979. Iron Age Farm: The Butser Experiment. Colonnade
Sharples, N M. 1991. Maiden Castle. English Heritage.
In the final session of this course, we discussed the transition from the Bronze Age into the Iron Age. This is a period which, in the Near East and the Mediterranean, has been linked to a cultural collapse, the causes for which are sometimes deemed to be due to the Sea Peoples, but which may be multi-causal.
This video reviews the evidence for the Bronze Age using examples from the Channel 4 series ‘Time Team’: