What was it like to live in the Bronze Age?

Home learning focus

Learn what it was like to live in the Bronze Age.

This lesson includes:

  • Two videos exploring what life was like in the Bronze Age.

  • Two activities to build historical knowledge and understanding.

Learn

Around 2500BC settlers from mainland Europe brought a new skill to Britain. They were metalworkers who knew how to work with copper. Gradually, Britons learned to make objects from copper, gold and bronze.

Watch the video below to find out more about life in the Bronze Age.

Life in Bronze Age Britain.

By 2100BC, Britons were mining metals. Trading ships travelled to mainland Europe carrying copper, tin and precious objects made by metalworkers.

Some settlers who arrived belonged to the Beaker culture. Beaker people lived in clans led by powerful chiefs. Their customs became part of life in Ancient Britain, and this period became known as the Bronze Age.

Watch the video below to find out how Bronze Age metalworkers made swords.

Find out how Bronze Age metalworkers made swords.

How did people travel in the Bronze Age?

During the Bronze Age, many people crossed the sea from mainland Europe to Britain. They travelled in long wooden boats rowed by oarsmen.

The boats carried people, animals and trading goods. They were loaded with metal from mines, precious swords, pots and jewellery.

Boats were very useful for carrying heavy materials like stone. Large areas of land were covered by forest, so it was much easier to transport goods by river.

By the start of the Bronze Age, people in Britain had learned to tame horses. Then, around 1000BC, they learned to make carts with wheels. Some farmers travelled on horseback or used wooden carts, pulled by horses or oxen.

The first war chariots appeared at the end of the Bronze Age. Warriors rode into battle, standing on chariots pulled by horses.

Bronze Age people crossed the sea in long wooden boats. A boat found at Dover needed 18 people to paddle it!

Who was the Amesbury Archer?

In 2002, archaeologists at Amesbury in Wiltshire made an amazing find. They discovered the grave of a Bronze Age man, just two miles from Stonehenge.

He was buried with around 100 objects! The people who buried him likely believed that he would use the objects in the next world. We can use the objects discovered to find out more about life in the Bronze Age.

When the man was found, he was nicknamed 'the Amesbury Archer'. This was because he was buried with arrowheads and wrist-guards used by archers.

The Amesbury Archer probably spent most of his time working with metal. One of the objects in his grave was a cushion stone - a tool used by metalworkers.

Explore the image below to discover what we can learn about the Amesbury Archer from his grave.

Tests on the Archer’s skeleton show that he lived around 2300BC, grew up in the mountains of mainland Europe then travelled to England as an adult.

Practise

There are lots of fun ways to show your historical knowledge of the Bronze Age, online and offline. Here are a few you could try.

Activity 1

Create a poster to show your knowledge of the Bronze Age. You can use the information below from Britannica to help you.

Britannica Bronze Age activity

Activity 2

Test your chronology skills with this activity from Twinkl.

Bronze Age timeline activity

There's more to learn

Have a look at these other resources from around the BBC and the web.

More lessons for Year 4 and P5
Bitesize Daily lessons
Play Bitesize games
CBeebies