Notes from British History podcast episode 2

  • Covering 70,000BCE to about 100BCE
  • 70,000BCE start of the last ice age, temperature dropped by less than 10oF
  • There were Woolly Mammoths and Giant Deer in Britannia
  • 40,000BCE neanderthals started arriving to Britannia
  • 30,000BCE modern humans started arriving to Britannia
  • 22,000BCE A “cold snap”. Britannia became a treeless tundra for 1,000s of years.
    • Everything went south.
    • Things that did stay adapted to the dropping temperature.
    • Sea level was about 417 feet lower than it is today
    • Britannia was connected to both the continent and Ireland

Doggerland was the connecting area of land that connected britannia to the continent that, by around 6,500BCE, was completely underwater:

Map showing the location of Doggerland and Doggerbank


  • People started arriving back to Britannia as the temperatures began to rise again. The came from southern France and Spain.


  • End of the last Ice Age.
  • Ireland is split off from Britannia completely.
  • Britannia still just about connected to continent by a land bridge
  • Woodlands began coming back
  • Humans begin using small flint tools
  • Many animals dying out due to rising temperatures. That, and the humans hunting them.


  • Cheddar Man
    • Man of about 21 years old
    • From the Cheddar Region
    • Died due to a blow on the head
    • Marks on his skeleton due to bones being scraped clean:
      • This is thought to be either burial rituals (secondary burial)
      • Or possibly cannibalism
    • He is related to at least two residents of modern-day Cheddar
    • Also related to about 11% of modern European population
  • The land from Britannia to continent becoming marshy.


  • Doggerland now completely sank into the channel
  • Britannia is separated from the continent.


  • Britannia hits the Neolithic Age (aka New Stone Age)
  • Britannia Population of about 10,000


  • Stonehenge was built.


  • Hill forts begin popping up across country.
  • Britannia now in Bronze age, whilst the rest of Europe was in the Iron Age.


  • Iron begins being introduced into Britannia.
  • There was a slow switch over to Iron, probably sped up by warring tribes wanting the upper hand in battle.


  • Celts begin arriving from France and Northern Spain
  • At least 2 groups of Celts:
    • Goidelic (which became Gaelic) – Settled in Ireland around 350BCE
    • Brythonic (which became Welsh, Cornish and Briton)
    • Celts as a whole came from the Hellstat Territory in central Europe around 6th Century BCE
  • Britannia was actually known of Albion, from the Latin word meaning white.


  • Greek navigator Pytheas arrived on shores of Britannia
    • Had a way of navigating and mapping the island by putting a stick in the ground and noting it’s shadow at various times of the day.
    • The name Britannia came from him calling the people he found “Pretani”, meaning “The Painted People” – This made “Pretannike” – The land of the painted people. In Latin P’s often substituted to B’s and so became Britannia.
  • Distinct cultural groups
    • Coastal people — often traders.
      • Kent was most advanced
    • Inland people — often hunters and scavengers.
  • The way the land was meant that many communities were small in size.


  • Trade is increased
  • Contact with Greece emerges due to the widely available Greek coins.
  • Major exports from Britannia were thought to be Tin, Copper and Hunting Dogs.


  • Gallo Belgic coins start appearing.
    • Believed to be due to people accepting payments from military services.
    • Some Britons were mercenary fighters for hire.
  • “Oppidum” sites increasing — this is according to Caeser.
    • Large walled towns often in thickly wooded areas, protected by ditches.
  • Britannia was largely an agricultural economy.
  • Population now around the 1,000,000 area.
    • They spoke a Celtic language
  • The “Traditional English countryside” pretty much had its beginnings at this point.
  • The Religion of the time was Druidism.
  • Discovery of Lindow Man in a peat bog at Lindow Moss near Wilmslow in Cheshire
    • Possibly struck on the head (but not killed)
    • Then strangled (but not killed)
    • Then his throat cut.
    • Mistletoe pollen found in his stomach.
      • A possible back up for the claim by Romans that the Druids did human sacrifice.