ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Ancient Britons – Britain’s First Inhabitants

Updated on October 9, 2014
he remains of neolithic dwellings at Barnhouses close to the stones of Stenness
he remains of neolithic dwellings at Barnhouses close to the stones of Stenness | Source

Ancient Occupation of Britain

The Romans described the British as Celts in 43AD, a rather dismissive and non-descriptive term. It certainly did not describe the myriad tribes and peoples who lived in Britain. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles describe people by their tribal names. However, Britain’s written history only extends back so far, and until now the beginnings of the British people's ancient history was set by archeologists at 700,000 years ago. A recent project, termed AHOB or the Ancient Human Occupation of Britain, is huge research collaboration between archeologists and Earth scientists, geologists and other scientists from The Natural History Museum, The British Museum,University of London, and Queen Mary University, London along with other prestigious institutions.


The AHOB Research

One team working as part of the AHOB project has rewritten Britain’s ancient history. The earliest Britons were living in Britain much longer ago than previously thought. A team, at an archeological dig, at Happisburgh, (pronounced Hazeborough) Norfolk, discovered the new evidence, indicating that humans lived in Britain over 800,000 years ago. Between 2000 and 2010, the scientists found four other Stone Age sites around Happisburgh.

The first Happisburgh early Stone Age site was discovered in 2000, when coastal erosion revealed a site previously buried under thick glacial sediments. Archeologists and others from the AHOB project worked with local experts to uncover this site, and found four others. Happisburgh site one is, bizarrely, on the original Thames Estuary 150 miles north of its present location. A flint hand axe emerged from marsh sediment on a foreshore at low tide, and subsequent relics, butchered animal bones and other biological finds indicated that early humans were living at Happisburgh around 800,000 years ago. This is the oldest evidence of early humans living inBritain.

More than 70 well-made flint tools were found at the site, the archeologists believe that early Britons used these sharp edged tools for butchering and skinning animals, for food. The reason that the scientists are so excited about the tools is that they found unique biological and other evidence with the tools that helps them to understand the world that these early human knew. The evidence tells the scientists what the weather and climate were like and what plants grew in Britain at the time.

At that time, Britain was not an island, but a European peninsula, joined to Europe by a land bridge from northern Norfolk to Sussex. TheThames flowed into The North Sea just above this land bridge. The scientists know from fossilized plants, pollens, and beetles that theThames was a large slow flowing river, with many fresh water marshes and pools leading to nearby salt marshes and coastline. Scientists believe that mammoth, rhino, and horses would have roamed the grass-covered flood plain and that hyena, sabre-toothed cats, and humans preyed on these animals. Inland there were huge coniferous Northern forests.

Summer Temperatures were a little warmer than today, with a mean temperature between 16 and 18 degrees centigrade. Winter temperatures however were much colder than today, a mean temperature between 0 and -3 degrees centigrade. The fossilized beetles’ species indicated that the climate, in this early Britain, was closer to that in today’s southern Scandinavia. They also found some beetle species only found today in the highest coldest parts of the Pyrenees.

Work continues on assessing the data found at the five Happisburgh sites, for there is still much to learn. Such as which species of human these early settlers were, how they kept warm, whether they built shelters or used caves, and could they control fire? It will be interesting to learn more about England’s earliest inhabitants. The AHOB project is part of a much larger Europe-wide project charting the earliest human settlements and migration routes.

Comments

Submit a Comment

  • Mercia Collins profile imageAUTHOR

    Mercia Collins 

    6 years ago from United Kingdom

    these were very early humans not homo sapiens.

  • Paladin_ profile image

    Paladin_ 

    6 years ago from Michigan, USA

    Are these ancient Brits actually modern humans, or an earlier predecessor? It's been my understanding that anthropologists currently estimate modern humans to be only 200,000 to 250,000 years old. Has this number been revised with new data?

    I'm confused...

working

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

Show Details
Necessary
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Features
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Marketing
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Statistics
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)