History of Britain, The Early Settlers. About 2000 years before Christ, a race of people came to Britain from the estuaries of Northern Europe. They were known as the Beaker Folk, after the clay mugs (beakers) they used to make. But their most important archievenment was the art of manufacturing tools and ornaments from bronze.
Bronze is made from a mixture of copper and tin. The tin came from Cornwall; copper from the mountains of Ireland. To bring the two together mean a lot of travelling.
|The remains of Bronze and Iron Age
settlements in the Shetland Islands.
They may have been simple, but they were
refugs against the fierce weather and enemy attack.
In the Wicklow Hills of Ireland, they had found gold. The men who mined it were artists. They transformed it into ear-rings, bracelets and necklets. On their journeys to obtain copper, the Beaker Folk used to bring these trinkets back to England with them.
People were now travelling considerable distances. They exchanged ideas and traded with one another; bartering this for that – pleased that others wanted their own goods, and excited about new discoveries. They had learned how to build and sail ships.
Visitors from the continent crossed the English Channel to the small natural harbours on the south and east coasts. Larger vessels came from the Mediterranean. There were voyages along the edge of the Atlantic, where the great waves gather themselves up and hurl themselves ad the shores.
Although they could not write, the Beaker Folk had a religion. Today, there are traces of it in circles of stones at places as far apart as the Orkneys, the Midlands, and on the moors of Devonshire. The greatest of them all was Stonehenge in Wiltshire.
Read previous : The First People, or read the next article : Early village life history