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The earliest known evidence of human presence in the area now known as England was that of Homo antecessor, about 780,000 years ago. The oldest proto-human bones discovered in England date to 500,000 years ago. The Beaker culture arrived around 2,500 BC. They used drinking and food vessels made from clay, and vessels used as reduction pots to smelt copper ores.

It was during this time that major Neolithic monuments such as Stonehenge and Avebury were constructed. By heating together tin and copper, plentiful in the area, the Beaker culture people made bronze. Later on they made iron from iron ores. The development of iron smelting allowed the construction of better ploughs, advancing agriculture (for instance, with Celtic fields), as well as the production of more effective weapons.

During the Iron Age, Celtic culture arrived from Central Europe. Brythonic was the spoken language during this time. Society was tribal; according to Ptolemy’s Geographia there were around 20 tribes in the area. Earlier divisions are unknown because the Britons were not literate. Like other regions on the edge of the Empire, Britain had long enjoyed trading links with the Romans. Julius Caesar of the Roman Republic attempted to invade twice in 55 BC; although largely unsuccessful, he managed to set up a client king from the Trinovantes.

The Romans invaded Britain in 43 AD during the reign of Emperor Claudius, later conquering much of Britain. The area was added to the Roman Empire as the Province of Britannia. The best-known of the native tribes who attempted to resist were the Catuvellauni led by Caratacus. Later, an uprising led by Boudica, Queen of the Iceni, ended with Boudica’s suicide following her defeat at the Battle of Watling Street.

The author of one study of Roman Britain suggested that from 43 AD to 84 AD, the Roman invaders killed somewhere between 100,000 and 250,000 people from a population of perhaps 2,000,000. The Greco-Roman culture prevailed with the introduction of Roman law, Roman architecture, aqueducts, sewers, many agricultural items and silk. In the 3rd century, Emperor Septimius Severus died at Eboracum (now York), where Constantine was proclaimed emperor a century later. Rich in resource and goods, Roman Britain was a wealthy and flourishing trading province of the Roman Empire.


Text adapted from Simple Wikipedia, which is in the public domain.


Which of the following may have improved when the introduction of iron smelting came?