Teaching the Iron Age at KS2: are you teaching the right things?

In a recent article in Primary History by Karen Doull  of the Historical Association  adumbrated a list of the ‘Ten things your pupils need to know about the Iron Age’. The following were offered, to which I’ve added my comments.

  1. When was it? The Iron Age in Britain covered the period 800BC to AD43, nearly a thousand years. This is twice as long as the Roman occupation. Pupils need to know about the concept of duration and relative spans of time. The people living at this time were known as Celts.
  2. The change from Bronze Age to Iron Age was not instant but it was a gradual process that happened at different rates over time in different places.
  3. The Celts lived in tribes with tribal leaders being both men and women such as Boudicca
  4. Celts were famous for their circles: look at their art, their jewellery, such as torcs, and their huts. By contrast, the Romans who followed them were much more angular in their designs of houses and towns.
  5. We can see a lot of the remains of the Iron Age in our landscape today the form of Hill forts such as Maiden Castle. Archaeologists have also dug up objects such as shields , chariots, querns and torcs
  6. Iron was the principal metal used as it was harder than bronze allowing tools and weapons to become sharper and the edges would stay sharp for longer
  7. New technologies were used such as chariots, lathes, rotary querns for grinding grain (those circles again!), coins ( circular again) and the potter’s wheel (more circles).Previously pots had been made by coiling clay and smoothing it over.
    8.Iron Age homes were called roundhouses and were made of stone or wattle and daub with thatched roofs.
    9.The Celts traded with the continent, exporting grain, hunting dogs, and horses while importing wine, amber, oil and glass
    10. Celtic civilization survived the Roman invasion particularly in the west e.g. in Cornwall, and Cumbria

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Iron was the principal metal used
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            as it was harder than bronze. Tools and weapons could now be given a sharper edge which lasted longer. -`
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