Have we underestimated the first people to resettle Britain after the last Ice Age? Evidence from a variety of sources suggests that early Britons were more sophisticated than we could have imagined.
Archaeologists once thought that the story of the early hunter-gatherer Britons was lost to the mists of time. The hunter-gatherers left almost no trace of their nomadic existence behind. As a result, the stone-age settlers of ancient Britain were thought of as simple folk, living a brutal hand-to-mouth existence. But now, evidence is emerging that turns those assumptions upside down. Archaeological sites all over the UK and northern Europe are producing evidence that paints these people in a very different light.
Thanks to this cutting-edge science, we now have an increasingly clear picture of prehistory, and the adaptable, culturally rich, and sophisticated people who inhabited these islands.
A BBC Horizon documentary, to screen on Wednesday, tells the story of this quest to understand the first Britons.
Some of these Mesolithic, or Middle Stone Age, people lived at Blick Mead, Wiltshire – a few miles away from the future site of Stonehenge. Here, groups seem to have managed and cleared rich forests, built structures and returned to the same place for over 3,000 years, according to a radio carbon date range that has yielded a uniquely long sequence for any Mesolithic site in Britain and Europe – 7,596-4,246 BC. More here: Early Britons: Have we underestimated our ancestors?