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Unit 1: Ancient England

Many thousands of years ago, in pre-history, England was part of mainland Europe, connected by a land bridge that has subsequently been covered in water and become the English Channel. It is hard to say exactly when man first came to the lands that were to become the British Isles, but it can be said with certainty that Paleolithic tribes were flourishing there by 8000 BC.

Around 4500 BC, the people living in the area that would become the British Isles emerged from the Paleolithic and into what we now call the Neolithic era. They began building fairly advanced houses out of stone, wood and whalebone, and practiced agriculture and domestication of animals. Though most still lived individually, some began to gather into small villages. It was during the early and middle Neolithic when stone structures known as “henges” began to appear around the landscape. These structures apparently served many purposes; to observe the night sky to determine when to sow and when to harvest, as meeting places for trading of goods and as defensive structures. The most famous of these is, of course, Stonehenge (see the picture above).

Around the time that Stonehenge was built, society moved into the Bronze Age, using bronze to make tools and gold to make jewellery. Trade was steadily increasing: the tin needed to make bronze came almost solely from Cornwall, and the gold from Wales. Products made from these metals were even traded in mainland Europe.


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Ann.English said...

These lessons are good. The picture does not show Stonehenge. It shows small houses made much later in history.

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