British Islands Prehistory

British Islands Prehistory


British Isles, English British Isles [ br ɪ t ɪ ʃ a ɪ lz], the Northwest European Continental Shelf seated archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean with the main islands of Great Britain and Ireland, the Shetland and Orkney Islands, the Hebrides, the Isle of Man, Anglesey and Wight as well as many smaller islands with 64.3 million residents on an area of ​​more than 315,000 km 2.

According to Ezinereligion, the British Isles extend over almost 1,300 km in a north-south direction and around 850 km in a west-east direction.


Old Stone Age

The British Isles (except Ireland) were inhabited as early as the Paleolithic when they formed the northwestern part of the continent. The cultural development of this time therefore largely corresponds to the conditions in Western Europe. The oldest finds come from the early Paleolithic (cuts and rubble tools in Clacton technique as well as Acheuléen fist wedges). Important sites (about 400,000–250,000 years old bone finds) are in southern England (Boxgrove in West Sussex,Swanscombe in Kent); Clacton on Sea’s wooden lance is about the same age. The finds from High Lodge (Mildenhall) are particularly important from the early part of the Middle Paleolithic. Finds from the more recent Paleolithic Age show similarities with the continental Solutréen, but also with the Hamburg culture (creswellia).


In the Mesolithic, England belonged to the southern Scandinavian Maglemose culture over the land bridge of what is now the North Sea. An important find is Star Carr. The site of Mount Sandel (near the town of Coleraine) is important for the Mesolithic period in Ireland. broad blades and small hatchets made of flint as well as microliths were found.


The Neolithic Age begins in the British Isles, which began in the 4th millennium BC. BC possibly still connected to the continent with the immigration of Neolithic farmers from Western Europe. They grew wheat and barley and kept cattle, sheep and goats as pets. Pottery is known from a few areas of southern England, e.g. Cornwall. Various types of above-ground grave structures (“Long Barrows”, Barrow; megalithic graves) as well as simple earth graves existed side by side throughout the Neolithic Age; different forms of funeral burial also occur at the same time. In Ireland, the graves testify to the Boyne culture (Newgrange) a direct influence from Brittany. In England, especially the large earthworks (e.g. Avebury, Windmill Hill culture) suggest social structures that could cope with community efforts. From the middle of the 3rd millennium (late Neolithic) the “Peterborough culture” can be traced, among other things. with mining on flint (Grime’s Graves). During this time the construction of henge monuments begins. The period of the end-Neolithic bell beaker culture of the late 3rd millennium leads to the Early Bronze Age (first half of the 2nd millennium BC) (Wessex culture). About metal forms and technology, v. a. But the numerous faience pearls found on the British Isles clearly show connections with the Mediterranean (Mycenae). The following (Late Bronze Age) “Deverel-Rimbury culture” again appears to be entirely down-to-earth.

For the early Hallstatt period of the 8th and 7th centuries BC Reciprocal contacts with the »Nordic Circle« and the continent are attested, each recognizable by the bronze device of foreign origin. Around the middle of the last millennium BC Chr. Separate groups of the La Tène culture (including “Arras”) formed in east and south England, which were later increasingly Celtic influenced by immigration from the continent; especially in south-east England they joined in the 1st century BC. BC, ultimately due to the invasion of the Belge, the almost urban oppidum civilization of Gaul. Caesar’s writings on the Gallic War (“De bello Gallico”) provide important insights into the social order, the settlements and the fighting methods of the British tribes.

British Islands Prehistory