Paleolithic (Old Stone Age)
2 Million – 10,000 B.C.
There is evidence of Homo erectus in Britain dating to back to around 700,000 B.C. with the finding of flints in Suffolk, from when Britain was still connected to continental Europe. The oldest human bone found in Britain is dated to be around 480,000 B.C. known as the ‘Boxgrove Man’ a member of the Homo-Heidelbergensis spices. During this period, the ice glaciers of the Ice Age fluctuated bringing the occasional warm periods and the occasional human activity.
Neanderthals are thought to have appeared in Britain around 130,000 BC until their extinction around 34,000 B.C. However, in 1981 early Neanderthal teeth and jawbone dated to 230,000 years ago were found in at Pontnweydd Cave in Denbighshire, giving a much earlier date for an interglacial period Neanderthal habitation in Britain. Early pre-Neanderthals inhabited Britain before the last Ice Age, and forced south around 200,000 years ago by the extreme changing climate conditions.
evidence of Homo Erectus in Britain
the forming of the English Channel
A final Ice Age covered Britain from around 70,000 to 10,000 years ago.
45,000 – 10,000 B.C.
Upper Paleolithic – First modern humans arrive in Britain as hunter-gatherers around 33, 000 years ago in period known as the Upper Paleolithic. The south east of Britain was still joined to the continent of Europe during this period.
Skeletal remains of the Red Lady of Paviland dated about 33,000 years old were discovered in 1823 on the Gower Peninsula South Wales (although these bones are actually of a young male).
Between 22,000 and 14,000 years ago, an extreme cold snap may have driven humans south and out of Britain altogether until the last of the Ice Age starts to melt away. Evidence of modern humans returning to Britain as the Ice melts away is dated to around 14,700.
Mesolithic & Neolithic
8000 – 4000 B.C.
Mesolithic – around 10,000 years ago as the ice retreats, hunter-gatherers begin to migrate in waves into Britain and by around 5,600 B.C Britain becomes separated from continental Europe.
4000 – 2500 B.C.
Neolithic (New Stone Age) – first farming communities bringing new cultural shift of new farming practices and megalithic structures.
c. 3500 – 1400 B.C.
Standing stones and stone circles were erected around this time
c. 3100 B.C.
Skara Brae – stone-built Neolithic settlement, Orkney Islands
c. 3000 B.C.
Windmill Hill Culture, Salisbury Plains
c. 3000 – 2000 B.C.
Chambered tombs are constructed in Britain around this time
c. 3000 – 2000 B.C.
Stonehenge (1st phase 2950 B.C)
c. 2700 – 2200 B.C.
Avebury (stone circle) erected
c. 2500 B.C.
Beaker Culture arrive from Europe (smaller barrows)
c. 2500 B.C.
Stonehenge phase 3
c. 2500 – 2000 B.C.
Castell Bryngwyn Neolithic henge, Isle of Anglesey (constructed towards the end of Neolithic)
Bronze Age 2500 – 800 B.C.
c. 2500 – 1500 B.C.
Early Bronze Age period
c. 2000 – 1400 B.C.
Wessex Culture (end of Stonehenge construction – 1800 B.C.)
This new Culture was based in mostly Southern England and had no major influence on Northern tribes.
c. 1500 – 800 B.C.
Late Bronze Age
c. 1400 – 1000 B.C.
Round Huts groups are constructed (middle Bronze Age through to Iron Age)
c. 1200 B.C.
1st Celtic immigrants (late Bronze Age through to Iron Age)
Goidelic-speaking Celts arrived between 2000 and 1200 B.C, probable ancestors of modern Scottish and Irish Gaelic.
Iron Age 800 B.C. – 60 A.D.
c. 700 B.C. – 50 A.D.
Iron Age Hillforts are constructed around this time
c. 600 – 400 B.C.
1stCeltic Wave – The main influx of Brythonic speaking Celts probably arrived sometime during this period (Modern Welsh and Cornish are descended from Brythonic).
The Celts believed in the environment and that objects had magical links resulting in both ritual and sacrifice. The Druids, a form of priesthood that had been chosen at birth to follow this path were the only tribe members permitted to carry out any of the ceremonies. Their sacred places were situated in woods or simple groves.
Llyn Cerrig Bach on Anglesey, is an important and ancient Iron Age sacred lake (around 181 Iron Age artefacts was discovered in the lake in1942, the most important archaeological finds in Wales)
c. 350 B.C.
2nd Celtic wave (300 B.C. – Druids earliest known accounts) – The second wave of Celtic migrants settles in Wales, these settlers include the Ordovices and Deceangli.
c. 200 B.C.
3rd Celtic wave
There was also a smaller wave of settlement of Belgic Celts in Southern England during the first century B.C. – possibly fleeing from the Roman invasions.
Roman Period 60 – 411 A.D.
c. 60 A.D.
The Roman invasion of Anglesey – led by Gaius Suetonius Paulinus bringing the end to the Druids on Mona and weakened the Ordovices and Deceangli force that opposed them.
77 – 78 A.D.
Segontium Roman Fort – An auxiliary Roman fort established in the late 77 A.D. by Julius Agricola
78 – 79 A.D.
Roman governor, Julius Agricola continues his campaign by attacking the Deceangli in Mona. Following Agricola’s victory over the Deceangli, the tribe appears to capitulate and settles down to live under Roman rule.
383 – 388 A.D.
Magnus Maximus (see Kingdom of Gwynedd)
Middle Ages (Medieval) 410 – 1485 A.D
The Kingdom of Gwynedd – Began with Cunedda around the early 440’s A.D. and ending with Llywelyn ap Gruffydd in 1282.
c. 450 – 1066
Anglo Saxons – Most likely established their first kingdom in Kent around this time, but never managed to conquer Wales.
c. 500 A.D.
Age of Saints – Saint David Patron Saint of Wales c. 500-589 (During this time, the legend of Santes Dwynwen who tried to escape from Maelgwyn Hir around 540 A.D)
The Vikings – conquest and settlement in Northern & Eastern England
The Vikings never succeeded in controlling all of Wales, due to the powerful Welsh kings, but they often raided the coastal areas and Anglesey, causing havoc for the rulers. A small number of Vikings settled in southern areas of Wales.
1066 – 1154
The Norman Conquest – William I ‘the conqueror’. By 1094 most of Wales was under the control of King William II of England. Gwynedd had regained most of its kingdom by 1101 under King Gruffydd ap Cynan.
1154 – 1485
Medieval Wales & the age of Castles
During this time the welsh kings struggled against the powerful English Plantagenet kings, eventually rendering homage reluctantly to accept them as overlords by giving up their title of kings to become princes of Wales. Henry II was the first of the Plantagenet’s kings of England, and in 1283, King Edward I took Wales after the last Welsh prince, Llywelyn ap Gruffydd was killed in an ambush near Builth Wells.