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HomeHistoryPre-History London: What Was London Like Before the Romans?

Pre-History London: What Was London Like Before the Romans?

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The history of London is as old as the hills, with prehistoric remains dating back to the Stone Age. London was an important settlement during the pre-Roman era, with evidence of human habitation dating back to at least 450,000 years ago. This article will explore the prehistory of London before the Romans arrived in 43 AD. But let’s be clear, until the Romans arrived and named the place Londinium, there was no such thing as London.

The Stone Age (450,000 BC to 2,500 BC)

During the Stone Age, London was a prime location for early human habitation due to its proximity to the Thames River. The river provided a source of food, water, and transportation for early humans. Flint tools and weapons found in the area suggest that early humans lived in the region during this period.

The Bronze Age (2,500 BC to 800 BC)

The Bronze Age saw the introduction of metalworking to London. Bronze axes, daggers, and spearheads have been found in the region, indicating that the people of London were skilled metalworkers. During this period, London was home to a thriving agricultural community, with crops such as wheat, barley, and oats being grown along the Thames River.

The Iron Age (800 BC to 43 AD)

The Iron Age saw significant changes in London’s landscape, with the construction of hill forts and the establishment of trade routes. The hill forts were built on high ground and provided a defensive position for the inhabitants. The most famous of these hill forts is located on Hampstead Heath. Archaeological evidence suggests that the people of London were involved in long-distance trade, with goods such as pottery, metalwork, and salt being traded with other parts of Britain and Europe.

The Celts were the dominant culture in London during this period, with the Trinovantes being the largest tribe. The Trinovantes were known for their skilled metalworking and were involved in the production of gold and silver coins. The Celtic influence can still be seen today in the names of London’s rivers, such as the Thames (from the Celtic word Tamesis) and the Lea (from the Celtic word Lugdunum).

The Arrival of the Romans (43 AD)

In 43 AD, London was invaded by the Romans under the leadership of Emperor Claudius. The Roman invasion marked the beginning of a new era in London’s history. The Romans established a settlement on the north bank of the Thames, which they called Londinium.

The Roman period saw significant changes in London’s infrastructure with the construction of roads, bridges, and public buildings. Londinium quickly became an important trading center, with goods such as wool, lead, and tin being exported from the region. The Romans also introduced new technologies, such as underfloor heating and glass windows, which were previously unknown in London.

The prehistory of London before the arrival of the Romans was a time of significant change and development. From the Stone Age to the Iron Age, London was a thriving settlement with a rich cultural heritage. The arrival of the Romans marked the beginning of a new era in London’s history, one that would shape the city for centuries to come. Today, London stands as a testament to its rich and diverse history, with evidence of its past still visible in its architecture, street names, and cultural traditions.

jonathan
Author: jonathan

Jonathan is a consummate Anglophile who launched Anglotopia.net in 2007 to channel his passion for Britain. Londontopia is its sister publication dedicated to everything London.

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