History KS2: Discovering iron in Iron Age Britain

A 2,000 year old bucket, used on special occasions, or what remains of it, gives us a clue to the nature of the Iron Age, although most of the bucket was still made from wood and bronze.

Archaeologist Raksha Dave looks into iron mining in the Forest of Dean which dates back nearly 2,500 years where iron ore was found near the surface.

Later, pits such as Clearwell Caves, went deeper underground as demand rose for the newer, lighter but stronger metal.

People tried to keep the process of making iron secret to preserve their power. It was often regarded as magic.

This clip is from the series Ancient Voices.

Teacher Notes

You could compare the impact of iron weapons and tools with that of bronze. Which, in your opinion, had the biggest impact or made the biggest changes?

You could ask the children to describe what it would be like to mine iron ore 2,000 years ago before showing them the clip, then asking them how realistic their version was.

You could compare iron mining in the Iron Age with mining today, when huge machines are used.

You could show them the ochre used to create prehistoric drawings and let the children use the ochre to make their own drawings.

Curriculum Notes

This clip will be relevant for teaching History at KS2 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and 2nd Level in Scotland.

More from Ancient Voices

What does Stonehenge Gold tell us about the Bronze Age?
Iron Age daily life
Discovering wool in Bronze Age Britain
Discovering metalwork in Bronze Age Britain
Iron Age forts and tribes
Stone Age farming and homes
What do ancient bones tell us about the Stone Age?
Discovering Stone Age tools made of flint