Stone Age Britain

The Stone Age (Paleolithic Age) was a period during which man used weapons and tools made of stone, and covers approximately 99% of all human history, the usual consensus being around 2.5 million years ago to around 10,000 BC.

The Stone Age came to an end with the recession of the last great Ice Age.

Humans usually were grouped together in extended families and obtained their subsistence from plants, scavenging or hunting.

(Above) King Arthur’s Cave, Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire: An extensive network of tunnels leads from behind the main chamber deep into the hillside. Excavations from the 19th and 20th centuries unearthed numerous fossil remains, animal bones and man-made artifacts. The remains showed that the cave had been inhabited by early Stone Age (Paleolithic) hunters as early as 12,000 years ago, making the cave one of the very oldest sites of human settlement known in Britain. Animal bones found in the strata included cave bear, reindeer and hyena, and in the deepest layers going back perhaps 30-40,000 years, bones of woolly rhinoceros, mammoth and giant elk were found.

Tools and other survival instruments were usually made of rock, flint, wood and even bones.

The first British settlers established a hunter-gatherer and nomadic existence throughout the British Isles from around 35,000 BC to 10,000 BC, as the last great Ice Age came to an end.

During the Stone Age no great buildings were constructed, but small artifacts are plentiful, as well as small houses or dwellings.

(Above) Creswell Crags rock art: A team of scientists from Bristol, The Open and Sheffield Universities have proved, using Uranium dating, that the engravings at Creswell Crags are older than 12,800 years, making them Britain's oldest rock art. Reproduced above is an overdrawn photo of a stag engraving.

These early British had bows and arrows, fire, paint, stone blades and sewing needles.

The arrival of these early settlers to Britain – called Homo Sapiens – brought them into conflict with Neanderthal man, a separate species.

The Homo Sapiens eventually destroyed the Neanderthals, who then became extinct.

Stone Age settlements and other sites are plentiful in Britain.

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