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period Word or Phrase:Bronze Age  
Definition:About 2500 BC to 700 BC

The Bronze Age comes after the Neolithic period and before the Iron Age.

The day to day life of people in the Bronze Age probably changed little from how their ancestors had lived during the Neolithic period. They still lived in farmsteads, growing crops and rearing animals.

During the Bronze Age people discovered how to use bronze, an alloy of tin and copper (hence the name that has given to this era). They used it to make their tools and other objects, although they continued to use flint and a range of organic materials as well. A range of bronze axes, palstaves and spears has been found in Warwickshire.[more]

People continued to use henges and cursus monuments during the early Bronze Age but later in this period these ceremonial monuments appear to have fallen out of use. There was a shift away from mass burial of the dead, in long barrows, to individual burials, in round barrows. In the middle and late Bronze Age people were buried in cremation cemeteries instead of round barrows. There is more evidence for settlement from this period and a number of Warwickshire’s sites are visible as cropmarks on aerial photographs.

In the 19th century, archaeologists excavated a number of round barrows in the southwest of England. Many of the barrows contained ‘beakers’, distinctive bell-shaped, decorated drinking vessels. The archaeologists at this time thought that the people buried in the barrows belonged to a different race that had invaded Britain and brought with them new skills that were superior to those of the native population. Because the grave goods of these people usually included beakers, the 19th century archaeologists named them the ‘Beaker People’ or ‘Beaker Folk’. Modern research, however, has shown that 'Beaker Culture' was not limited to a distinctive group of people. It is more likely that innovations, introduced from Europe, through immigrants and by trade links, were adopted by the native population of Britain.

All information © 2013 Warwickshire County Council.