Bronze Age Britain


Bronze Age Britain
In Britain the Stone Age changed slowly into the Bronze Age from about 2100 BC. Metal started to be used for the first time instead of stone to make tools. The skill to make things with metal may have been brought to Britain soon after 2000 BC by the Beaker Folk who were named after the bell-shaped beakers (= cups with wide mouths) found in their tombs. Copper was used at first, then bronze, a mixture of copper and tin. Tools were made by pouring the metal into a mould. In the latter part of the Bronze Age most settlements (= villages) had their own smiths or skilled craftsmen.
  Bronze Age people built the impressive stone circles still to be seen at Stonehenge and other places. The double circle of standing stones at Stonehenge dates from about 2100 BC. Several pairs of stones still have a large, thick horizontal stone across the top of them. The upright sandstone boulders, called sarsens, are thought to have been dug from the ground about 20 miles (32 kilometres) away, but the smaller blue-coloured stones laid across the top come from Wales. It is not known whether they were transported by people using rollers or whether they were left near the site of Stonehenge by glaciers during the Ice Age. In either case, many people would have been involved in building the monument. Stonehenge now attracts a lot of visitors and is a source of wonder and pride. Some people believe that it has a special religious or astronomical meaning and was originally used to calculate when the seasons began and ended.
  On Dartmoor many stone rows extend in lines for distances up to two miles (3 kilometres). There are few traces of Bronze Age houses, though pounds (= areas surrounded by stone walls) on the edge of the moor may have contained groups of houses.
  In the Bronze Age important people were buried in round barrows (= piles of earth) made near the top of a hill. Over 20 000 round barrows are known. There was usually only one person buried in each, together with metal goods and pottery.
  In about 500 BC iron began to be used instead of bronze for making tools, and the period after this became known as the Iron Age Britain.

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