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I'm Mr. Hutchinson and welcome to our history lesson, where we're learning all about prehistoric Britain.

And we've learned about a lot about this period.

About the climate, about the ice age.

About the animals.

About how things are changing, about the artefacts.

There's so much that's gone into our head already and so much new knowledge that you've got.

You're building a real mastery of this topic so well done.

Well done for sticking with all the lessons so far and working hard and thinking hard and remembering all of this stuff that you're learning.

In today's lesson, we're going to be learning about Neolithic settlements.

So we've already learnt about the Neolithic Age.

That the New Stone Age was the Neolithic Age and we've learned that during that period, humans started to settle down in the Neolithic era humans started to farm and they started to settle down, stay in the same place.

The Palaeolithic era they were moving around all the time, hunter gatherers and then the Neolithic era, they're settling down and farming.

So, what were their settlements like? That's what we're going to find out in today's lesson, I can't wait to get started.

So, our lesson is going to look something like this.

The first thing that we're going to do is recap our time line of course.

We always need to make sure we can connect all of this ideas together in terms of when they happened.

Then we'll learn about how humans settled down, why they settled down.

And we're going to look at one particular Neolithic settlement.

It is called Skara Brae.

So we're going to look at Skara Brae.

A real settlement from Neolithic times, so we're going to look at it in more detail.

And then we'll think about some of the evidence that comes from prehistoric times.

So, first of all let's just recap our timeline and orientate ourselves in terms of when things happened.

So this is just the last 3,000,000 years.

We're just going to zoom in to the last 3,000,000 years.

So each of these chunks is a million years.

Let's see, the first humans arrived.

Well when were the first humans, can you remember? Quick recap? When did the first humans the earliest humans, when did they first evolve? Well done if you said two and a half million years ago.


5 or two and a half million years ago.

Those are the first types of humans using stone tools.

But our species homo sapiens didn't evolve until much later.

And when did our species homo sapiens evolve? How long ago? Well done if you said 300,000 years ago.

Great work.

And for most of this period, it was the old stone age, the Palaeolithic era.

So there were these early humans who were learning how to use stone tools, and our species emerges towards the end of the Palaeolithic era.

And then there are two more eras.

The Middle Stone Age, or the Mesolithic era, it's tiny, so I can't write Mesolithic era in here.

And then even a smaller amount of time the Neolithic era that's quite recent.

So let's just zoom in to that, let's just look at thousands of years.

And now each chunk is a thousand years so, here we are today.

If we go back 2,000 years one, two we get to 0CE.

That's when we start counting years.

It's the year that Jesus was born, or that people think that Jesus was born.

And that's where all of our calendars start counting years from.

The Palaeolithic era is ending about this time here.

How many thousands of years ago? One, two, three, four, five, count with me six, seven, eight, nine, 10, 11, 12, about 12 and a half thousand years ago, the Palaeolithic era comes to an end, and it obviously extends much further off the screen.

It sort of goes way off into the screen for millions of years, but it's coming to an end about 12 and a half thousand years ago.

And then we get the Mesolithic era.

After that the Neolithic era, which you can see is much shorter period of time.

So, the Neolithic era which is where we're going to be looking at today, we're looking at the New Stone Age, the Neolithic era.

Use the timeline to help you count in thousands of years.

When did the Neolithic era begin, how many thousands of years ago? You can pause the video if you need to.

Well done if you said 6000 years ago.

Look we can count together, one, two, three, four, five, 6000 years ago, that's when humans started really farming and settling into permanent settlements in the Neolithic era.

When did the Mesolithic era start? If the Neolithic era began 6000 years ago, which is when the Mesolithic era ended, when did the Mesolithic era start? Again, you can pause the video and count using your timeline to help you.

Well done if you said, 12 and a half thousand years ago.

If we count then it's 12 and a half thousand years ago.

So the Mesolithic era, and it's about the same time that the ice age was ending.

That's when the Mesolithic era starts, and when humans start farming about 6000 years ago, we get the Neolithic era.

So what does that mean when we say that humans were settling down? Well, the first thing to remember is that the world looks slightly different in the past, especially around Great Britain.

If we look at Great Britain about 20,000 years ago, 20000 BCE, we'll see that most of Britain was covered in this ice sheet.

And there was a landbridge that people could walk across from Europe to get to Britain.

That's how the earliest humans got to Britain.

They just walked straight across from Europe.

They settled first of all in the south of Britain.

There's that huge tsunami which starts to flood this channel, and the ice sheets start to melt.

And as the ice sheets start to melt, then people can start to walk further and further north and settle further and further north in Britain.

Finally, around the time of the Neolithic era, about 6000 years ago, Britain looks similar to what it looks like today.

Now people would have been able to get up to these islands up here because they would have been connected by land still.

But by the Neolithic era, it's starting to be cut off the water is rising.

Once it started to warm the world, and Great Britain has started to warm humans.

there's more water available, it's not frozen, and humans start to settle down and they start to make these settlements.

And you can see here, there's these.

one of these early, they're called round houses because they're round.

And they will be made by collecting mud and animal dung and clay and mixing it all together.

It's called daub when you mix it all together, they mix all that together.

And they'd weave sticks together, and they pack that daub into the sticks which are called wattles.

Called wattle and daub, they pack the daub into the wattle, and that would make the walls and they would make the walls all the way around the house.

And that would make quite a permanent building.

It would stay like that for years.

Wattle and daub walls would last for years.

On the roof, they would pack this straw tightly, and that would give them protection from rain and some warmth and those early round houses are some of the first permanent settlements.

They're not using animal skins as tents anymore.

They're now building these round houses.

That's what the Neolithic people would do.

So during the Neolithic age, what changes? Humans begin to stay in one place for longer periods.

There were few larger animals to hunt at this time.

So the larger animals have started to go extinct, or many of them have gone extinct, so they're not around anymore.

So there are fewer large animals to hunt.

And so humans aren't hunting as much.

Because they're staying in the same place for longer, they can start to perfect their tools.

They have more time to sit down together and really get their tools excellent.

And they can also start to make pottery.

So they start to make pots.

And pottery is not useful, if you're walking around, cause it breaks easily.

But if you're staying in the same place, it's really helpful to store things in or to carry things around in.

And so in the Neolithic period, humans are making better tools and they're making pots using pottery.

So have a look at this temporary settlement.

This is a reconstruction, it's a it's a photograph, obviously.

It's just a reconstruction.

It hasn't lasted that long, thousands and thousands and thousands of years.

So somebody made one based on the evidence they found to see what it would have been like.

So why do you think early humans would have settled in this location? And what I'd like you to do, is I'd like you to sketch out that picture, that photo, that reconstruction, and start to label it with all of the different things that you can see, that tell you why humans might have settled there.

I'll do the first one for you.

I've noticed that here.

There are these sorts of long grasses.

There's lots of it.

And so they might have settled there cause they thought, if we chop that down, using our flint cutting tools, we can use that to make our roofs.

We can also weave it together to help us to make cords.

There's lots of that nearby, so let's stay near to that so that we always got a good supply of that.

What else can you see in that picture, that might have made early Neolithic humans settle in that location? Pause the video, draw your picture and label it.

Great work, well done.

Beautiful picture, really nicely labelled.

I'm going to show you some of the things that I spotted, you might have spotted some things that I didn't.

If so well done.

If I spotted something that you didn't add it into yours.

So the first thing I noticed is that there's some water nearby, and lots of early settlements were near water.

That's where people would stay.

Now that water would be really useful cause it means that the early humans could drink whenever they wanted to.

They've got some nice water nearby whenever they need to.

They might use it to wash themselves or wash their clothes, wash the different things they have.

They might use it for boiling, so they can boil different things.

And they might use it for cooking, if they're making bread for example, you need to have water to mix with the flower.

So that water nearby is going to be very helpful.

You don't want to be far away from water.

There might also be some fish in that water.

So if they stayed near a lake, then there might be some fish that they could fish, and that's a food source.

And also, small animals might go to that water to have a drink, and the humans could easily trap those animals, or maybe hunt those animals that are nearby.

So this water is another reason I think.

So there may be small animals and fruits in this woodland I think.

I can see this wood here.

And I think there might be some rabbits, maybe even some small deer, and maybe some fruits some berries and things in that woodland and it's nice and nearby.

So if they want to go further to a hunting trip, or if they want to gather some fruit, then they don't have to walk too far from their camp.

The last thing that I noticed is that there are lots of trees nearby.

And that gives them lots of wood, and they can use that wood to burn for their fires, to build things and to make tools.

So those were the things that I spotted in that Neolithic settlement.

I wonder if you spotted anything else in the Neolithic settlement that you added? Or if you missed anything that I put in then you can add to yours.

So pause the video and take a moment to add in anything that you forgot.

Great work, well done.

You've got a really good diagram there, of a Neolithic settlement an early Neolithic settlement.

And let's look at a real Neolithic settlement now.

And it's called Skara Brae.

Try saying that, say Skara Brae.

Awesome work.

So it's called Skara Brae, and Skara Brae is located right up here, in the north of Scotland and there're actually some islands now that used to be connected to the rest of Great Britain.

But once that tsunami happened, and the ice sheets started to melt, it flooded and they became disconnected from the rest of Great Britain.

Now, they're called the Orkney Islands.

And I've zoomed in there you can see them nice and close by, these are called the Orkney Islands, and this is where Skara Brae is located.

That's where that settlement is.

So I'm going to zoom in now to show you exactly where it is on this map.

So you can see here's the Orkney Islands if I zoom out, then you can see there's Great Britain, and the north of Europe, and if we zoom back in to the north of Scotland, those are islands just above Scotland called the Orkney Islands.

If we zoom in on the West Coast here, then you'll be able to see there's a lock or lake just here.

And if we zoom in, just here is where Skara Brae is.

Near to this lake on the coast.

Just this little bit that cuts in, here.

That's where Skara Brae is located.

So what do you notice about where it's located? What's nearby? Pause the video and write your answer to that now.

So you might have noticed, where it's located, that it's located near to the coast and it's located near this lake.

So why do you think that the Neolithic humans chose to settle near a lake and near the coast? Pause the video and write down your answer to that now.

Great work.

I wonder what you wrote.

I thought that this was probably something to do with wanting to fish.

If there are fish nearby in the ocean, I can see there in the sea, then they could easily very quickly because they're really close to the sea, go fishing and get lots of fish, and that lake nearby would have been really handy at getting fresh water.

So I think there are a few different reasons that early humans would have wanted to settle there.

And this is what Skara Brae looks like.

So you can see made out of stone cause there's lots of stone nearby, made out of stone in these early settlements.

Now this was only uncovered quite recently because what happened was, there was a huge storm so about 150 years ago, there was a huge storm just off the coast of Skara Brae, where it is, and this huge storm whipped up lots of land and lots of Earth and washed away lots of soil.

There was so much rain, it washed away lots of soil, and once it washed away, lots and lots of soil, people could see Skara Brae underneath, because Skara Brae had been buried under lots and lots of sand, and mud.

And so it was hidden for centuries.

For hundreds of years, it was hidden until this big storm revealed it to everybody.

And once that was all washed away, that people realised, oh, gosh, there's this Neolithic settlement underneath.

And this is what it looked like.

Now you'll notice that there are no roofs.

Of course, the roof would've been made out of that straw that we saw in the other settlement.

That rots away.

That straw won't last very long.

So that will have rotted away.

So you need to imagine these homes with the straw on top of them.

But the stone walls, they're all still there, and the doorways, they're all still there.

So here's a test for you, how did the Neolithic settlement of Skara Brae, become discovered? Was it that a team of archaeologists was investigating area? Did we use special technology to identify the site? Was there a huge storm, that uncovered the settlement which had been buried? Or was it discovered by accident by a couple of hikers? Put your finger on the correct answer now.

Ready, steady.


Did you get C? Did you remember it was a huge storm that washed away all of the sand and the mud, which uncovered Skara Brae? Excellent if you did, and this is what we found.

So this is a map of Skara Brae that somebody made.

It's like looking down on it.

And you'll see that there are different buildings.

So this is one of the buildings one of the homes, here's another home.

Here's the first home, it's very big.

Here's another home, and inside each of the homes there's a huff.

A huff is a fire pit.

So inside each of these homes, there would have been a fire pit and there were also walkways in between the homes.

So it's a little village, a little settlement.

that first appeared thousands of years ago.

And that's where it looks like you can visit and walk around it just like people would have thousands and thousands of years ago.

So we discovered Skara Brae, in 1850.

That's when that huge storm hit.

Archaeologists, historians, scientists have had a look at all the different things that they found, and they think that Skara Brae is at least 5000 years old.

So the Neolithic era began 6000 years ago, and Skara Brae is at least 5000 years old.

So it's a Neolithic settlement.

And it's the best preserved Neolithic village in all of Northern Europe.

So there isn't one that's as perfectly preserved, maintained, kept the same as Skara Brae.

And that's because it was buried under lots of sand and that sand helped to pack in and protect it.

So it's almost the same as it was 5000 years ago.

Inside those buildings, many of the artefacts, the objects are still intact, they were still perfectly preserved and the buildings too are just intact, which is amazing.

And if we look inside the buildings, you'll see that there's that huff that we talked about.

So there would have been straw roof going up here we can look in from the top's the straw roof has rotted away but there would have been a straw roof.

And there's this huff, and inside there, there would have been a fire.

So there would be a fire raging and people could stay warm inside their building with that fire, they could use that fire to cook on as well.

They also found these interesting things.

They're kind of like little cupboards, little stone cupboards.

So here's a question for you, pause the video and write down your answer to this, what do you think that the Neolithic humans in Skara Brae would have stored in those cupboards? Pause the video and write down what you think that the Neolithic humans would have kept in those cupboards.

What did you think? What do you think they would have kept? We're not a 100% sure, we don't really know.

I think they might have kept some of their tools in there, maybe some of their weapons if they were going hunting.

Maybe some of their tools that they used to build things.

They might have kept a bit of food in there.

Maybe the fishes they caught while they went out fishing, they might have kept some fish in that or maybe they used it for some of the Neolithic jewellery that we learned about in our last lesson.

They might have had it like a Neolithic Stone Age dressing table perhaps.

Really interesting that they had those cupboards even 5000 years ago.

So to finish off today, you've learned a lot about this Neolithic settlement and about how people first settled, I want you to imagine now, you could go in a time machine, and you could go back to Skara Brae, and speak to a Neolithic human in Skara Brae.

If you could, what would you ask them? What questions would you want to ask a Neolithic human living in a Neolithic settlement? Pause the video and make a list of all the different questions that you would ask.

Awesome work.

I wonder what your questions were.

I have so many questions that I would love to ask somebody from the Neolithic age.

I would love to find out what sorts of foods they ate, how long it took them to make the tools.

How long the tools that they made lasted.

How they decided where to settle down.

Did they agree all together? Or was there one leader who decided? How often do they move from one settlement to a new settlement? There are so many things that I'd love to find out if I could only speak to somebody from the Neolithic era.

I'm sure that you've got some great questions too.

So that's the end of our lesson for today.

And I'd like as always to say a big thank you for spending your time watching this lesson, thinking carefully, completing the tasks, becoming much cleverer and learning a lot more about prehistoric Britain.

And in our next lesson, we're going to be learning even more about this fascinating period.

I can't wait to see you there.