Prehistory: The Human Story

Our new, expanded collection of British prehistory allows us to talk about the development of British society from the early Stone Age to the coming of the Romans. It's a huge chunk of our countries history, often sadly neglected, which saw us master farming, metal working, pottery production and trade.

Iron Age 'La Tene' Brooch

In the 3rd Century BC a powerful cultural revolution took place, which spread throughout the peoples of Northern Europe.  It seems to have begun with rich settlements on the banks of a Swiss lake and recent evidence suggests that some of its roots lay in trade with the Mediterranean world. 

It has come to be called La Tene.

The Iron Age in Britain was largely defined by the withdrawal of settlements to defended hill forts.  Hill forts have left us with a wealth of evidence to suggest that our native ancestors were not the savages of Roman propaganda, but cultured, educated and skilled craftsmen.   

Bronze Age Palstave Axehead

The Bronze Age saw the first mass use of metal tools in Britain. It began in about 2500 BC and was a busy time for Britain. We developed complex trade networks and sophisticated religious rites and buildings. This item dates from the middle Bronze age and is a typical early attempt at Bronze axes. It would originally have been fastened to wood and probably used for cutting and planing other wooden items. It was found near Andover in Hampshire.   

Neolithic Flint Tools

This flint tool set explores the different types of tool used during the late Stone Age. We explore their use in wood and leather working, cooking and eating, hunting and discuss some of the more mysterious items whose purpose we can only guess at... 

Neolithic Flint Axe

This flint axe head found near Ludgershall, Wiltshire has the polished edges characteristic of late Neolithic techniques. We use the items to explore the development of craft and technology in early human populations. 


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