Experience the Iron Age

Iron Age Living History, Key Stage 1 and 2 Iron Age History Educational Workshops and Activities and

Experience the Iron Age provides Living History, combat displays and childrens
activities based around the period 250 BC to 50 AD. Full descriptions of the activities we provide are avaiable
at www.experiencetheironage.co.uk

Operating as usual


A great article on a discovery I have not heard of before.

🔸"Lady of Cavigflione" is a woman who lived approx 24000 years ago. She was found on March 26, 1872 during the excavations led by Emile Riviere in the Caviglione cave, part of the Balzi Rossi archaeological site, on the Italian-French border of Ventimiglia.

Excavations unearthed a burial of what until recently was called "the Man of Menton". It was only following the DNA examination that the skeleton was revealed to belong to a woman of very tall stature and who must have borne her children. She was 170-172cm tall and was about 37 years old. The culture she belonged is of the 'Epigravettian' type, appearing and developing during a period characterized by the cold and dry climate typical of the final phase of the Würm glaciation, or the maximum expansion of the ice.

A detail from her burial that immediately catches the eye is an ornamental headband enriched with 300 shells of the Cyclope neritrea, a typical marine gastropod mollusk of sandy beaches. The peculiarity of these mollusks is that they were drilled to be tied together, and on the edges there was a fringe made up of red deer teeth (‘pearl teeth’ of Cervus elaphus).

The body was covered with red ocher, buried on her left side, facing west, with the hands close to her face and legs folded. The lady might have been a person with special status in her society (already 24, 000 years ago), perhaps a shaman who was buried ceremonially.

Timeline photos 31/01/2024

A site of significance in the Iron Age

The Iron Age settlement of Němčice (🇨🇿) is famous for its unprecedented amount of gold and silver coins 💰
However, the discovery of glass beads and bracelets prove that it is also the earliest glass workshop north of the Alps 🏔️

🆓 https://buff.ly/44g1B9G


To find this is just amazing, this type of organic material is usual long gone.

The Enderby Shield (left) is an incredibly rare example of a wooden shield from the Iron Age, dated to c.300 BC, discovered in Leicestershire, England. The main boards are made from willow bark, but poplar, hazel, lime and crab apple wood were also used in its construction. Reproductions (right) show such shields were light but surprisingly tough.

The shield's also a useful reminder that most objects in the distant past were made from perishable materials such as wood and leather, which rarely survive. It's mostly metal items that survive, and that we normally see in museums.

Photos from Experience the Iron Age's post 30/01/2024

Progress on shield boss "cut out" for your hand.

Photos from Experience the Iron Age's post 29/01/2024

Progress today is 2nd spine and a start on the centre piece.
Plan is to have eventually have a piece of formed sheet metal over the centre piece.

Photos from Experience the Iron Age's post 28/01/2024

Time to get started on this year's kit renewal. Trying my hand at a more accurate "spined" shield boss, split by hand and used a draw knife to par it down.
So far so good 🤞🤞🤞

Photos from Emerald Isle's post 23/01/2024



A nice summary of the pre- Roman invasion 43AD "back n forth's".

Romans in Britain Part 1

Julius Caesar led two expeditions to Britain in 55 and 54 BC, the first achieved little more than being able to land on the island, the second was more successful with a further push inland. Hostages were taken and an annual tribute agreed upon, which may have never been paid.
This was far from a full invasion though and when Caesar returned to Gaul he didn't leave a single Roman soldier behind.

Augustus prepared invasions in 34 BC, 27 BC and 25 BC. The first and third were called off due to revolts elsewhere in the empire, the second because the Britons seemed ready to come to terms.

It seems Caligula may have planned a campaign against the Britons in AD 40, but according to Suetonius, he drew up his troops in battle formation facing the English Channel and, ordered them to attack the waves, then after to gather seashells, referring to them as “plunder from the ocean due to the Capitol and the Palace”.

Claudius sent out an invasion force in AD 43 possibly by reassembling Caligula's troops used during his battle with the sea.
Aulus Plautius was put in overall charge of the invasion force, with future emperor Vespasian commanding a legion.
Claudius stayed in Britain for a total of 16 days before returning to Rome.

Timeline photos 10/01/2024

Maiden Castle looking stunning.

Iron Age terraced earthworks of Maiden Castle, in Dorset, England 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿

It's one of the most significant and well-preserved Iron Age hillforts in Britain. Its history dates back over 2,000 years, with evidence of human activity on the site even before the construction of the hillfort.

The earliest traces of settlement at Maiden Castle date to around 6,000 BCE during the Neolithic period. However, it was during the late Bronze Age and early Iron Age (around 1800 BCE to 1000 BCE) that the construction of the hillfort began. The fortifications were expanded and modified over the centuries, reaching their zenith during the Iron Age.

Maiden Castle covers a vast area of approximately 47 acres, with multiple ramparts and ditches designed for defensive purposes. The complex layout suggests a well-organized and sophisticated society that inhabited the site.

In 43 CE, the Romans, led by the future Emperor Vespasian, captured Maiden Castle during their conquest of Britain. The hillfort underwent modifications under Roman rule, with the construction of a temple and other structures.

Despite its historical significance, Maiden Castle gradually fell out of use and became primarily an archaeological site. Excavations have revealed valuable insights into ancient British history, shedding light on the cultural and social practices of its early inhabitants.

Today, Maiden Castle stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of its Iron Age occupants and the impact of Roman influence on its landscape. It remains a fascinating archaeological site and a window into the past for modern visitors.

Photos from Emerald Isle's post 05/01/2024

Bronze Age Amber from the Baltic, found in Ireland.


Turn up the volume.


Happy Christmas


Stunning designs and from so long ago.

Tattooing has been practiced across the globe since at least Neolithic times. Some of the most extraordinary ones can be seen on the Princess of Ukok.

The mummy was identified as a young woman from the nomadic Pazyryk tribe (closely related to the Scythian peoples that once populated the Eurasian steppes sometime between the 7th and 3rd centuries B.C).

The remains of the immaculately dressed 'princess', aged around 25 and preserved for several millennia in the Siberian permafrost, a natural freezer, were discovered in 1993 by Novosibirsk scientist Natalia Polosmak during an archeological expedition.
Buried around her were six horses, saddled and bridled, her spiritual escorts to the next world, and a symbol of her evident status, perhaps more likely a revered folk tale narrator, a healer or a holy woman than an ice princess.

The mummy is covered in well-preserved tattoos on both shoulders all the way to the wrist.

“It is a phenomenal level of tattoo art. Incredible,’ said Natalia Polosmak, the lead archaeologist who discovered the mummy. One of the tattoos on the mummy’s left shoulder appears to be a mythological hybrid of a deer with a griffon’s beak and Capricorn antlers.

'Compared to all tattoos found by archeologists around the world, those on the mummies of the Pazyryk people are the most complicated, and the most beautiful,' said Dr Polosmak.

More ancient tattoos have been found, like the Ice Man found in the Alps - but he only had lines, not the perfect and highly artistic images one can see on the bodies of the Pazyryks.

Photos from Wessex Archaeology's post 20/12/2023

An Iron Age feast, thought to celebrate a completed set of earthworks.

Timeline photos 15/12/2023

Make yourself a brew and read this, really interesting.

NEW Deep in the remote, boreal landscape of the Siberian taiga, a promontory fort has been found to be 8000 years old, making it the oldest in the world! It is a rare example of hunter-gatherers building fortified sites.

A wintery Antiquity deep dive ❄️

Archaeologists have typically associated the rise of social and political 'complexity' in Eurasia with the development of agriculture. However, hunter-gatherers in Siberia built fortified settlements centuries before similar sites developed in Europe.

To find out why, researchers performed fieldwork at a promontory fort (Amnya I), thought to be the oldest Stone Age fortification in Eurasia, and its associated settlement (Amnya II), providing the first direct radiocarbon dates for Amnya II.

They found that both the fort and settlement date to around 8000 years ago, meaning it they were indeed built and occupied by hunter-gatherers. But why were these hunter-gatherers building forts?

In colder climates, hunter-gatherers often take a different approach to resource gathering than you might expect. Instead of constantly moving along with animal migrations, it is more productive to hunt high-calorie, long-lasting foods and store them.

In Siberia, fish can be dried and their oils extracted, whilst reindeer and birds can be smoked. These techniques are still practiced by the Nenets people in the area today. Pottery found at Amnya could have been used to store preserved food.

This abundance of natural resources, coupled with the ability to store it over the long winter, meant that sedentism was not only possible, but an optimal way of life in the region. The fort may have been built to defend these rich hunting grounds.

Importantly, this fundamentally calls into question the 'evolutionist' narrative of change in societies. The presence of fortifications and possibly permanent settlements before the adoption of agriculture shows how socio-political differentiation was not tied to farming.

This signifies that increased sedentism, group identity and territoriality (including conflict) can develop in hunter-gatherer societies and that the idea of a 'socially complex' society is likely too simplistic to be useful.

Read the full research in Antiquity 🆓
'The world's oldest-known promontory fort: Amnya and the acceleration of hunter-gatherer diversity in Siberia 8000 years ago' - Henny Piezonka et al.

Timeline photos 08/12/2023

One day I'll get up there and look at these.

It's hard to believe that Iron Age people built in stone, may be that's because I come from the south of the UK. However, Broch of Mousa is Iron Age and the origin of brochs remains a topic of ongoing research and exploration.

Around eighty years ago, many archaeologists believed that these structures, often referred to as the "castles" of Iron Age chieftains, were constructed by immigrants who were pushed northwards after being displaced by Belgic tribes' incursions into what is currently southeast England by the end of the second century BC.

Later, they were displaced once again by the Roman invasion of southern Britain beginning in AD 43. However, there is now little doubt that the hollow-walled broch tower was a unique invention that originated in what is presently Scotland. Even the pottery found inside them, which most closely resembled south British styles, were locally created hybrid forms.

Situated on the island of Mousa in Shetland, Scotland, it stand impeccably preserved. This remarkable structure is the tallest of its kind still standing and is considered one of the best-preserved prehistoric buildings in Europe. Archaeologists estimate that it was built around 100 BC and is just one of over 500 brochs that were constructed in Scotland during the Iron Age.

A Stitch in Time - Archaeology Magazine 16/11/2023

Amazing preservation.

A Stitch in Time - Archaeology Magazine Off the coast of present-day Croatia in the Adriatic’s Bay of Zambratija, a team of archaeologists recently retrieved the remnants of the oldest hand-sewn boat discovered in the Mediterranean, dating to between the twelfth and tenth centuries B.C. First spotted in 2008, the vessel was partially ex...

Timeline photos 15/11/2023

They made them to last.

This folks is a stunning Roman super-highway built 1,900 years ago, and is near me here in Dorset. It was a route once trod by legionnaires as they marched west. This is the London to Exeter road, and of course ran through the town of Dorchester.

My plan was to walk and drone it last year but failed that so will do so this winter. It is huge, as you can see, the road is 85ft-wide. The height of the agger (embarkment) is 15 feet high, flanked by two deep ditches.

It was a colossal undertaking, and English Heritage expert Peter Addison said it was the biggest Roman road he had come across and that it was probably designed to make a statement. It is thought that it might have been built shortly after the Roman conquest in the first century and its scale would have been chosen to intimidate people living nearby.

The sight of a Roman legion marching along it would surely have had the desired effect.
It is thought the road would have been made from layers of gravel and the fact it still exists is testimony to the skills of the builders.

The road had been built during the first century AD as part of the drive to conquer the island of Britain end to end.

There is a central cobbled ‘street’, which would have been used for rapid troop movements, and outer ‘droving’ roads for livestock. I will go and investigate to see what I can find.

Even though it was rediscovered in 2011 when the Forestry Commission were felling trees, it is surprising little known. It can be found in Puddletown Forest. Interestingly, when you drive into Dorchester from the east, you travel a long London Road, many may not realise why it is called this. The answer is because it follows the London - Exeter Roman Road which is part of the road above 🙂 Image Credit: BNPS

Timeline photos 12/11/2023

This place is a "must" for anyone looking to visit a truly Iron Age site on the South Coast.

One of the largest in Europe, the Iron Age hillfort of Maiden Castle, Dorchester, Dorset, is an impressive site and sight. Even after dominating the landscape for over 2000 years, the earthworks will leave you in awe. Its ramparts reaching 20 feet (6 metres) in height. The total area being 47 acres, enough to be a safe retreat for 200 families.


And the 2nd puzzle is re painted, thank you Helen for you help and patience doing these lately.

Photos from Experience the Iron Age's post 24/10/2023


well COVID caught up with us and for the last 7 days we've been "rough" to say the least.
So, to keep mind occupied while brain dissolved into gooooo, I thought I would re-paint one of the School Day puzzles.
As you can see they take a battering but come up well with a new lick of paint, should be good for another 3 years now.

Timeline photos 19/10/2023

Must Farm - amazing Bronze Age site. This is information on some of the finds but hardly scrapes the surface of what has been found.

Sticks wound with thread and a bronze axe from the settlement of 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿

The settlement's destruction by fire, combined with excellent organic preservation, provides a unique insight into domestic life.

🔗 from 2019 🆓 https://buff.ly/3aqC5U1


What amazes me is how tool shape/design/use was pretty much established by this point in time, our modern tools match these designs.

🔸The lost 'Viking Tool Chest' :

In 1936, a wooden chest that once had belonged to a Viking craftsman was found at the bottom of the former lake Mästermyr on the island of Gotland, in Sweden; which now had turned into a bog.

Chest contained largest collection of Viking-era tools ever found in Europe: over 200 blacksmith and carpentry tools (resembling early Roman tools), raw materials and semi-finished products; There are axes, hammers, tongs, punches, plate shears, saw blades, files, rasps, drills, chisels, knives, awls and whetstones among the 200 objects that were found in the chest. The chest also included raw material and scrap iron as well as finished objects such as locks, keys, a frying pan, cauldrons and bells.

The amazing thing is that the tools are at least 1000 years old but look like they could have been made yesterday. They are of the same material, have the same shapes and the same functions as modern tools.

Another theory is that it was hidden on lake shore. As no coins were found in chest, more precise dating is not possible, only conventional framework of Viking period remains: from 793-1066 CE.

Swedish History Museum

📷 © Christer Åhlin


I am sorry, survived what, how long ago???

Around 31,000 years ago, in the wilds of Borneo, a young hunter-gatherer went through something remarkable. Their lower left leg was amputated, and against all odds, they managed to survive.

Recently, archaeologists working in a remote region of Indonesian Borneo stumbled upon an astonishing find. It appears to be the earliest known case of a successful amputation, predating the next oldest documented surgery of its kind by a staggering 24,000 years.

📸: Tim Maloney

Source: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/earliest-known-amputation-was-performed-in-borneo-31000-years-ago-180980710/

Timeline photos 17/10/2023

Just cannot believe the skill needed to make these.

These are some of the incredible Volgu points from ~20,000-years-ago in 🇫🇷. They demonstrate amazing skill in construction, being no more than 10 mm thick at any point.

🔗 from 2018 (£) https://buff.ly/3rJg4gr

Photos from Experience the Iron Age's post 14/10/2023

We are at Wintringham Primary near St Neots in Cambridgeshire for their annual event.
It shows the local people the findings of the last years work on the areas being developed for housing.

Photos from Oxford Archaeology's post 12/10/2023

More Bronze Age news.



The Schöningen spears, discovered in Germany's ancient lignite mine, hold secrets of a forgotten era. These extraordinary artifacts, found in a layer of sediment dating back 300,000 years, offer a glimpse into the hunting prowess of early humans. Crafted from the sturdy wood of European spruce trees, these spears measure up to 2.25 meters and feature sharpened tips. Astonishingly preserved in waterlogged sediments, they challenge our understanding of ancient weaponry. Unveiling a hidden truth, they reveal that early humans possessed not just thrusting spears, but also sophisticated throwing weapons capable of striking from a distance. These enigmatic spears, stained with the marks of ancient hunts, shed light on the resourcefulness and adaptability of our ancestors. In their silent presence, they evoke a sense of wonder and curiosity, beckoning us to unravel the mysteries of our distant past.

Burial mirrors: reflections of womanhood in Iron Age Britain 04/10/2023

Well worth a read while sat with a brew.

Burial mirrors: reflections of womanhood in Iron Age Britain In this Culture on Call article, we reflect on the cultural significance of what may, at first, appear to many as an unassuming, household object. But what story does the everyday mirror share from the grave?


Just stunning craftsmanship.

"A golden ram and a stone lion, found in a tomb at the archaeological site of Gonur Depe (dated from 2400 to 1600 BC) in Turkmenistan. The finger in the background shows how small these figures are, demonstrating the extraordinary skill of the craftsmen."

ARCHI UK Online Maps with Archaeological Sites and Monuments Records (SMR) and Data with GPS Locations and Digital Old Maps Online, LiDAR and Aerial Photograpy in Britain and WorldWide | Victorian Map of London | Victorian Maps | ARCHI UK |... 28/09/2023

One day, more kit, hmmmmmm.

ARCHI UK Online Maps with Archaeological Sites and Monuments Records (SMR) and Data with GPS Locations and Digital Old Maps Online, LiDAR and Aerial Photograpy in Britain and WorldWide | Victorian Map of London | Victorian Maps | ARCHI UK |... Archaeological Sites and Monuments GPS data (SMR) with LiDAR, Aerial Photography and Old Victorian Digital Maps Online for Celtic, Roman, Anglo-Saxon with Metal Detecting Findspot Maps and British Archaeological and Historic Sites Locations with Detailed Old Victorian Maps, LiDAR and lists of archae...

Timeline photos 28/09/2023

Bronze Age Brittany.

This ceramic vessel was likely a textile container, but was buried filled with bronze bracelets.

The discovery of this and two other hoards makes it the earliest Bronze Age site in Brittany with multiple hoards.

🆓 https://buff.ly/3XxX144


Bronze Age butter.

Curiosity 🥸

Incredibly well preserved 3,000 year old wooden (oak) barrel of butter discovered in Gilltown Bog (Kildare), Ireland.


Beautiful craftsmanship and so well preserved.

The melting ice released one final secret for us this year ❤️ - an arrow with the quartzite arrowhead still in place! 😮 The fibers fastening the arrowhead are intact, and black pitch still covers the arrowhead. The complete arrowshaft is there as well, in three pieces. The fletches are also preserved - it looks like there are three! 😮 The arrow likely dates back to the Late Stone Age or the Bronze Age. What an incredible find! 😍

Photos from Bramley CofE Primary School's post 15/09/2023

I had my first school workshop of the new school year today at Bramley CofE Primary.
I had a great day.
All the staff were superb and made sure the day worked seamlessly, the children in Year 5 behaved brilliantly and seemed to thoroughly enjoy the whole day.
Thank you Bramley for a fab day, see you next year.

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