WHEN WAS THE IRON AGE

 

1,200 BC
Iron Age begins in the Eastern Mediterranean
800 BC
Use of iron spreads to Central Europe; first Iron Age hill forts built in Britain
776 BC
First Olympic Games were held in Olympia (Greece)
735 BC

Rome was founded

  • Traditionally by Romulus (hence the name) who, with his twin Remus, was abandonded at birth and raised by a she-wolf
700 BC

Iron Age started in Britain

  • Early Iron Age
  • Late Iron Age
500 BC
Celtic people arrive in Britain from Central Europe
400-300 BC
Rotatory quern stone arrives in Britain
330 BC
Pytheas (Greek explorer) sailed around the British Isles
  • The first written record of Britain
100 BC
First coins minted in Britain
54 BC
Julius Caesar lands in Britain
43 AD

Iron Age ended in Britain

  • During the Romanisation of Britain some chiefdoms grouped together and resisted while others accepted the Romans with offers of exotic goods for the chief in return for tributes of grain every year

(There is no clear consensus on the dates for the Iron Age - ranges above are indicative only)

LIVING IN THE IRON AGE

Ownership of land was marked by extensive fortification and controlled by iron weaponry. Their chiefdom was often guarded by a hillfort and the chief would have likely had a number of armed members of the tribe or clan on whom he could call or send to raid neighbours. Coinage also appeared in the Iron Age which generally depicted an image linked to the chief who was thought to be the ruler of the areas of land.

Religion appears to be based around a variety of gods and or deities in the Iron Age but watery places seem to continue to be special places from the Bronze Age; offerings are still made but sometimes also include human sacrifices (so-called Bog Bodies) such as Lindow Man who had his throat cut and had a noose tied around his neck. Animals and livestock were also sacrificed.

Trade in the Iron Age became very far reaching and more intensive than in the Bronze Age. People of higher status could afford wine from the Roman Empire and would trade large quantities of grain produced on their land for such a luxury commodity. People of lower status might be able to afford pottery from France or Switzerland (home of the famous La Tene culture). The wide trade routes suggest ship building would have been prevalent on the coasts of the UK (especially the south) and sites such as Hengistbury Head (Christchurch) would have been a trading hub for southern England.

IRON AGE PEOPLE
  • Alexander the Great
  • Aristotle
  • Boudicca 
  • Buddha
  • Cassivellaunus
  • Cleopatra
  • Confucius
  • Nebuchadnezzar
  • Siberian (tattoo'd) Ukok Princess
10 IRON AGE FACTS
  1. The population of Britain in the Iron Age has been estimated to be between 2 and 4 million
  2. The climate of the Iron Age was cooler and wetter than during the Bronze Age (probably similar to that of today)
  3. Unlike bronze which is poured, iron is worked into shape by repeatedly heating and hammering against an anvil, a process known as smithing
  4. Impure iron deposits in the form of bog iron ore was collected from bogs and swamplands by the Iron Age people
  5. Iron Age Britons played board games with glass pieces
  6. British Iron Age exports included metal, grain, slaves and hunting dogs; imports included oil, wine and pottery
  7. The domestic cat and the chicken were introduced to Britain in the late Iron Age
  8. Celts were considered notorious headhunters
  9. In the late Iron Age some larger settlements known as "oppida" were emerging
  10. Harvested crops were stored in either granaries that were raised from the ground on posts
IRON AGE INNOVATIONS
  • The Iron Age saw the introduction of coinage
  • The rotary quern stone revolutionised food production in the Iron Age
  • The potters wheel was invented during the Iron Age
  • Warfare was conducted on horseback and in horse-drawn chariots
  • Iron ploughs called "ards" were more efficient than earlier bronze or wooden ploughs
VISIT IRON AGE SITES IN THE UK

 

England

Scotland
Wales
Northern Ireland
  • Derrykeighan (County Antrim)
  • Lisnacrogher (County Antrim)
  • Moy (County Tyrone)
  • Navan Fort

 

IRON AGE WEBLINKS

 

 

MORE ON THE IRON AGE

 


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