Accessible Text Alternative for Prehistory Timeline Graphic

This is an accessible text-only alternative for a prehistory timeline graphic. Alongside a main timeline covering 10,000 BC to AD 500 are five small breakout boxes that cover: the Mesolithic period; the Neolithic period; the Bronze Age period; the Iron Age period; and AD 43, when the Romans arrived in Britain. A large breakout box contains key facts about the Late Mesolithic period.

9700 to 4,000 BC: Mesolithic period.

Also known as the "Middle Stone Age". Communities in England practiced a hunter-gatherer lifestyle, utilising stone tolls and developing seasonal mobility.

4,000 to 2,500 BC: Neolithic period

Communities began using agriculture and farming, building permanent settlements, and creating communal structures like long barrows.

2,500 to 800 BC: Bronze Age period

The use of bronze, an alloy of copper and tin, became widespread. Communities engaged in agriculture, metalworking, and developed more complex societies. Burial mounds (barrows) and stone circles were constructed.

800 BC to AD 43: Iron Age period

The use of iron tools and weapons became prominent. Societies in England became more organized, with the emergence of hillforts and tribal territories, interaction with continental Europe increased, including trade and cultural influences.

AD 43: Romans arrive in Britain

Key facts about the Late Mesolithic: 7,000 to 4,000 BC

Hunting and Fishing

Hunting played a crucial role in the late Mesolithic. People would hunt game such as red deer, roe deer, wild boar, and small mammals using weapons like bows and arrows, spears, and traps. Fishing in rivers, lakes, and coastal areas was also an important food source.

Gathering Wild Plants

Gathering wild plant resources was essential for sustenance. People collected a variety of wild fruits, nuts, seeds, and roots available in their local environment. They would also forage for edible greens and use various plants for medicinal and other purposes.

Seasonal Migration

Late Mesolithic communities often followed seasonal patters of resource availability. They moved between different areas, exploiting different ecosystems throughout the year.

Temporary Campsites

Rather than permanent settlements, people in the late Mesolithic lived in temporary campsites. These campsites were occupied for short periods and then abandoned as they followed game or seasonally available resources.

Stone Tools

Stone tools remained crucial for daily activities. Flint, chert, and other stones were used to create tools like scrapes, knives, arrowheads, and blades.


Decorative artwork is sparsely distributed throughout the archaeological record of the British Mesolithic period. Geometric patterns can be found on artefacts across the British Isles.