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By Levi Clancy for Student Reader on

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British Iron Age (c 700 BC - 43 CE)

Iron-smelting heralded the dawn of the Iron Age, as it allowed more efficient and durable tools and weapons. Broad sociological and economic changes ensued.

Old Bronze Age metalware was insubstantial in comparison, and the copper and tin necessary for the alloy were less plentiful. Iron Age society was hierarchical. It consisted of an aristocracy, specialized craftsmen, slaves and, in later times, a priesthood. These all co-existed within organized tribal groups.

Their rich agricultural and pastoral economy made Iron Age Britain a target for Roman conquest.

winchester iron age bone gouge
Iron Age Chalk Disc. Winchester City Museum. Image by L. M. Clancy, 2009/08/13. Was possibly threaded onto a thong suspending food from the roof to prevent rats getting to it from above. From St. Catherine's Hill.

winchester iron age bone gouge
Iron Age Bone Gouge. Winchester City Museum. Image by L. M. Clancy, 2009/08/13.

Caesar's Expedition (55 - 54 BC)

Julius Caesar performs an expedition to Britain

Dynastic Coinage (AD 0-43)

Dynastic coinage enters circulation.

Roman Britain

In AD 43, on the pretext of supporting the British tribal king Verica, Roman Emperor Claudius sent 40,000 troops into Britain.

This invasion was successful, giving Emperor Claudius both military prestige and a new Roman province.

Anglo Saxons

The Anglo-Saxons, from continental northwest Europe, occupied most of what is now England from the 5th century AD.

Over 200 years they drove out or mixed with the native Britons, replacing the Roman way of life with their own Germanic culture. Their speech, Englisc, was the forerunner of the English we speak today.

It was a spoken language only, but Anglo-Saxon stories, riddles and poetry were later written.