Summer Term Topic
This term our topic is Stone Age to Iron Age. In History the children will be learning all about Pre History from the Stone Age to the Iron Age including life in the Stone Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age and the changes in these periods. They will find out about a Neolithic settlement, about Stonehenge and life in an Iron Age hill fort. In Geography they will be finding out about the location of Iron Age Hill forts. See the Knowledge Organiser below for all the things that children will be learning.
Activity 1 - Stone Age Hunters and Gatherers
You are going to start with finding out about Stone Age Britain so you will need to travel back in time about 10,000 years.
Start by looking at the information and videos on the BBC Bitesize website on the link below and then try the activities.
Object: Folkton Drums
Date: Neolithic 2600 BC - 2000 BC
Discovered : 1889 near Folkton in North Yorkshire in a neolithic grave dating to the time of Stonehenge, estimated to be between 2600 and 2000 BC. The remains of several bodies were unearthed, one of whom was a child beside which the three drums were found. The rarity of this find suggests that the child came from an elite group in society.
Information: The three drum-like forms are made of chalk (that was quarried locally) and are decorated with stylized human faces and geometric patterns. On the top of the cylinders are a series of concentric circles and two of them have pairs of eyes that schematically denote a human face. The design of the drums is similar to objects made in the Beaker culture and early British Bronze Age. The purpose of the drums is unknown (they are not instruments), although the faces may represent important members of the local clan or they may be a type of children's toy that has uniquely survived, when most would have been made of wood.
Object: Flint knife and other tools
Date: Neolithic 3300 BC - 2500 BC
Discovered : 1879 Ayton, North Yorkshire
Information: The surviving finds comprise three flint axes and a flint adze, five lozenge-shaped arrowheads, a polished flint knife and two flakes, an antler 'macehead' and two boar-tusk blades.
Object: Bead Necklace
Discovered : 1938 at Skara Brae, Orkney, Scotland
Information: Made from 72 bone beads
Object: Neolithic Jadeite Axe head
Date: 4500 BC - 4000 BC
Discovered: 1901, Kent, England
Information: Axes like this were traded and exchanged over long distances. They are highly polished and some may never have been used. Such precious and desirable objects represented power and their meaning changed over time as they were worked into myths of past communities. The stone from this axe comes from the Northern Italian Alps.
Object: Mesolithic Head dress
Date : 8000 BC
Discovered: 1953 North Yorkshire, England
Information: Made from the skull of a large stag. Lines of cut marks made by flint tools show that the skin was deliberately removed from the skull. The bones forming the top of the nose were then broken off and the edges of the remaining skull part trimmed. The rim of the brain case has been smoothed and interior projections cut and scraped smooth.
These worked antlers are thought to be head-dresses. The holes would have been used to tie them to the head with a leather thong. They may have been worn by hunters as a disguise, but it is more likely that they were part of a costume worn on special occasions, perhaps during religious ceremonies.
Object: “Ochre Horse” worked bone
Discovered: 1876 Craswell Crags, Derbyshire
Information: A rib bone engraved with a horse's head and other worked bone items along with the remains of a variety of prehistoric animals have been found in excavations since 1876, including hyenas and hippopotami. The "Ochre Horse" was found on 29 June 1876 at the back of the western chamber in the Robin Hood Cave. In 2003, the Ochre Horse was estimated to be between 11,000 and 13,000 years old.
Object: Saddle quern
Date: Late Neolithic
Discovered: 1862 Anglesey, North Wales
Saddle quern with rubbing stone: heavy duty quern of basic saddle form for grinding corn, made from coarse-grained igneous rock.
Make a table like the one below and write down your evidence to answer the question below :
Was Stone Age man just a simple Hunter gatherer?
|Yes - Evidence||No - Evidence|
|E.g. They made tools from flint||E.g. They painted pictures in caves|
Activity 2 - Early Farmers
Did you spot the man behind the plough, the oxen pulling the plough and possibly the tree stump showing how woodland had been felled ( cut down) to make way for cultivated (farmed) soil?
During this period people started clearing the land to grow crops and using animals in different ways.
Look at the 8-10 cards which tell you about life at the end of the Stone Age when people started to farm. This was about 3,500 BC in what people call the New Stone Age or Neolithic times.
Your job is to work out which cards show:
● BIG really important changes
● little changes
● that some things carried on as before, alongside farming.
You can print them out and cut them out and sort them into piles if you have a printer or just make a list under the three headings like below:
|Big Changes||Little Changes||
Carried on the
Did your answers look something like this?
Training oxen to pull the ploughs
Growing crops such as wheat and barley
Has small farms
Started to live on small settlements
Kept pigs and cattle
People started to make pots
People started to have complicated burial ceremonies
People cleared woodland (i.e. this had already started)
Stayed the same
Some still hunted
Continued to use stone tools
Activity 3 - Stone Age to Bronze Age - Skara Brae
Unearthing Skara Brae
In the winter of 1850, a great storm battered Orkney off the coast of Scotland. There was nothing particularly unusual about that, but on this occasion, the combination of wind and extremely high tides stripped
the grass from a large mound, then known as "Skerrabra". This revealed the outline of a number of stone buildings - something that intrigued the local lord, William Watt of Skaill, who embarked on an excavation of the site.
In 1868, after the remains of four ancient houses had been unearthed, work at Skerrabra was abandoned. The settlement remained undisturbed until 1925, when another storm damaged some of the previously-excavated structures. A sea-wall was built to preserve these remains, but during the construction work, yet more ancient buildings were discovered. Further excavations followed and, between 1928 and 1930, the dwellings we see today were revealed.
Have a look at the activity sheet below that shows some of the archaeologist’s finds from Skara Brae. What does the evidence tell you about the people who lived there and their life?
How do we know that the people of Skara Brae....
❷ate pigs and cattle?
❹lived in dark houses?
❺were probably peaceful?
❻had time to play games?
The Boy with the Bronze Axe
Step back into the Stone Age and learn about the daily life and rituals of the ancient village of Skara Brae by listening to this compelling, story of the famous Orkney settlement. Vivid descriptions and accurate historical details bring the village to life and help you learn more about life in the Stone Age.
Two of the central characters, sister and brother, Kali and Brockan, live in the village at Skara Brae. When the story begins they are using their stone axes to chip limpets off the rocks, but they find themselves trapped by the tide. They are rescued by a complete stranger, a boy called Tenko who comes from a land far away to the south. Tenko possesses a bronze axe and bronze is something the villagers of Skara Brae know nothing about – Tenko’s bronze axe is sharper, more effective, more magical than anything the local people possess.
One of the set-pieces in the story is a great ceremony at the Ring of Brodgar which makes full use not only of the landscape near Skara Brae but also of some of the finds at the site – the mysteriously carved stone balls and the pigments of colour in pottery vessels.
The story ends with a storm which covers Skara Brae and puts an end to the settlement there – there’s a lovely touch where Kali loses her necklace containing exactly the kinds of beads and teeth that archaeologists found when they excavated the site.
Click on the link below to listen to the story. It is quite long so listen to 30 minutes every day.
The Building of Stonehenge
Watch the videos below to find out about how Stonehenge was built.
Look at the instructions for the activity below. Can you make a model of Stonehenge using biscuits. Challenge yourself to make it to scale using the measurements provided, you might need an adult to help you figure this bit out (and to get you the biscuits).
Why was Stonehenge built?
You now know when and how Stonehenge was built. What we now need to do is to explain WHY. There are at least 4 theories. Your job now is to see which one is the most likely. To do this you are going to be given 4 possibilities to consider. Which do you think it the most likely? Why?
To be a historian you need to think some more about these theories. Can you think of any reason why any of the theories might be wrong? e.g. would people really travel all that way to Stonehenge? Why not go to Wales or other places where there were health giving springs instead? Why would they build such an elaborate set of stones just to tell the seasons?
Select the theory you think is most likely and write a sentence explaining why you think this. For each of the other theories write a sentence explaining why you think it is wrong.
What is the Answer........
We don’t know!
Even in the last 10 years there have been a number of new theories.
The latest one is that it was a dance arena for ancient ‘raves’ with the stone providing the ideal acoustics. Recently the idea has been put forward that it was a graveyard for the elite, as they had found 63 bodies. The idea of it being some way of computing the date of the eclipses and the winter solstice is still a front runner but the idea of it being a Druid temple doesn’t fit with the fact that it pre-dated the Druids. Of the more recent theories possibly the most plausible is that it contained healing properties sought after by pilgrims – a sort of modern day Lourdes. Analysis of skeletons shows a number who were clearly ailing when the went there. No doubt there are other theories that are being dreamt up as we speak.
Activity 5 - The Iron Age
Welcome to the Iron Age ! Normally, you would get to do a bit of ‘time travelling’ through your class trip to Celtic Harmony where you get first hand experience of a day in the life of an Iron Age hill fort. We can’t do this as we are having to stay at home so have a look at the videos and other resources below which will tell you all about life during this period.
First have a look at the Pre- historic timeline to see where we are in time.
Iron Age Hill Forts
Why do you think that the Iron Age people built their forts on the top of hills?
Can you create an estate agent advert for an Iron Age house. Don’t forget to include all the desirable features in your advert:
Everyday Life in the Iron Age
Watch the video clips and visit the website below to find out more about what life was like in the Iron Age.
Can you find out:
Can you help the curator of the local museum label these finds from the Danebury site. Which label goes with which object? What do these objects tell us about life in the Iron Age?