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PostSubject: Prehistoric Britain   Mon Nov 01, 2010 12:31 pm

The oldest proto-human bones discovered in England date from 700,000 years ago. The discovery, of Homo erectus remains, was made in what is today Norfolk and Suffolk.[25] Modern humans first arrived in the area around 35,000 years ago;[9] but due to the tough conditions of the Last Ice Age, known specifically in this area as the Devensian glaciation,[26] they fled from Britain to the mountains of southern Europe. Only large mammals such as mammoths, bison and woolly rhinoceros remained.[9] Roughly 11,000 years ago, when the ice sheets began to recede, humans repopulated the area; genetic research suggests they came from the northern part of the Iberian Peninsula.[27] The sea level was lower than now, and Britain was connected by land to both Ireland and Eurasia. As the seas rose, it was separated from Ireland 9,000 years ago and from Eurasia half a century later.[28]

Beaker culture arrived around 2500 BC, and the making of food vessels constructed out of clay and copper was introduced.[29] It was during this time that major Neolithic monuments such as Stonehenge and Avebury were constructed. By heating together tin and copper, both of which were in abundance in the area, the Beaker culture people were able to make bronze, and later iron from iron ores. They were able to spin and weave sheep's wool, from which they made clothing.[29] According to John T. Koch and others, England in the Late Bronze Age was part of a maritime trading-networked culture called the Atlantic Bronze Age that included all of Britain and also Ireland, France, Spain and Portugal. In those areas, Celtic languages developed; the Tartessian language is the first written Celtic language so far discovered.

During the Iron Age, Celtic culture, deriving from the Hallstatt and La Tène cultures, arrived from Central Europe. The development of iron smelting allowed the construction of better ploughs, advancing agriculture (for instance, with Celtic fields), as well as the production of more effective weapons.[29] Brythonic was the spoken language during this time. Society was tribal; according to Ptolemy's Geographia there were around 20 different tribes in the area, however earlier divisions are unknown because the Britons were not literate. Like other regions on the edge of the Empire, Britain had long enjoyed trading links with the Romans. Julius Caesar of the Roman Republic attempted to invade twice in 55 BC; although largely unsuccessful, he managed to set up a client king from the Trinovantes.

The Romans conquered Britain in AD 43 during the reign of Emperor Claudius, and the area was incorporated into the Roman Empire as Britannia province.[36] The best known of the native tribes who attempted to resist were the Catuvellauni led by Caratacus. Later, an uprising led by Boudica, queen of the Iceni, resulted in her death at the Battle of Watling Street.[37] This era saw a Greco-Roman high culture prevail with the introduction of law and order, Roman architecture, personal hygiene, sewage systems, education, many agricultural items, and silk.[37] In the 3rd century, Emperor Septimius Severus died at York, where Constantine was subsequently proclaimed emperor.[38] Christianity was first introduced around this time, though there are traditions linked to Glastonbury claiming an introduction through Joseph of Arimathea, while others claim through Lucius of Britain.[39] By 410, as their Empire declined, the Romans had left the island, to defend their frontiers in continental Europe

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