Enquiry:WOuld you have like to have lived in the prehistoric world?
Assumptions and beliefs
Although you may not have studied the Prehistoric Era in school you will have developed beliefs and assumptions about life thousands of years ago.
Task: What do we assume?
- Draw and label a picture of a caveman and his surroundings.
- Find three other people and form a group. Show and discuss your pictures. What do the have in common? What assumptions have we made about the lives of cavemen?
- Where do we get these beliefs from?
Knowing and understanding - Chronology
- When was the Stone Age?
- How did Britain change during the period?
- How did society develop during the Prehistoric era?
- What can we learn from basic chronology about life in the Prehistoric Era?
A brief history of the prehistoric era
creating your own timeline
You are going to begin by adding in some periods that you became familiar with during the Year 6 to 7 transition period. Do not worry if you were not here for this, you will still be able to complete all of today's activities:
Start by using the periods in the handout below: 'timeline description'. These will be the periods that you add to your timeline. Remember that a timeline flows from left to right and has the periods and dates in the correct order in which the occurred/happened.
You can leave space in between the periods and events to illustrate the distance in time between two dates and periods, but it is fine to be approximate with this!
Below are some suggestions of software, many of them free, that you may use to create your timeline. Remember the timeline is a summary of the event and should also include pictures to illustrate the dates and events. It is a communication tool and should be well presented by being clear.
Click to set custom HTML
what can we learn about Prehistoric britain from ARCHAEOLOGICAL sites?
How was Skara Brae discovered?
- Your teacher will tell you the brief but dramatic story of the Skara Brae site being uncovered in a storm in 1850.
- Now re-read the story (Story) and come up with 3-5 questions that you would like to ask about the site to find out more.
- Hopefully one of the questions will be ‘what did they find?
- Share your questions with the class.
Where is Skara Brae?
Using google maps to help you write a summary of the location of Skara Brae.
What did they find?
- You will no be shown two or three of the finds [a house interior, some pottery and a stone ball] to get you looking carefully and asking more questions.
- Now describe the objects carefully and ask questions about these objects – What are they? What are they made from? How old are they? Where were they found? Who might have lived there?
- Even if you struggle it’s important to see if you can come up with ideas, especially about what the items are made from as this links to the chronological term ‘Stone Age’.
- You could annotate each item with description and questions in your book.
When did people live in Skara Brae?
- We can figure this out by studying the nature of the objects you've been looking at. What are they made of? If you had to choose when they belong to would you choose the Stone, Bronze or Iron Age – and why? By way of a solution you could refer to scientific tests [radio-carbon dating] showing the objects come from the Stone Age to support the fact they’re made from stone!
- You know need to place Skara Brae in time. Using the timeline description of the Prehistoric Era create a pictorial timeline that shows the main developments.
- Your timeline must include images to demonstrate developments - you could also use some key words but no written description.
What do the ARTIFACTS tell us about life in Skara brae?
- Look at all the pictures of the artefacts for Skara Brae.
- Decide with your partner what each one tells you about prehistoric life and write it down in a list
- e.g. The people at Skara Brae used stone and flint tools
- How certain are you of the statements you have in your list?
- Give them a score between 1-5, with 5 meaning there is a lot of evidence that this happened.
- Discuss with your partner how certain we can be about everything that happened in the past
WHat else can we find out about prehistoric life from the evacuation of the 'tomb of the eagles' in isbister?
- You will now be given details and pictures of another excavation; this time of a tomb (a place where the dead were buried). You teacher will tell you the story of the find.
- Read the following details about the skeletons found in the tombs and note down what you can infer about life for the people of Isbister. You can use this table to write your ideas in.
- Only 2 per cent of the 342 skeletons showed signs of broken bones and most of them showed evidenceof healing
- Many of the skeletons were those of babies and young children. There were very few skeletons over 40
- Men's height was on average 170cm, whilst women's average height was 161cm.
- The ankles of the some of skeletons were unusually well developed.
- Their teeth were ground down
- Most people suffered osteoarthritis - painful swelling of the joints. Nearly half of the adults suffered from it at young ages
- The female skeletons are younger than the make ones
- Skulls were found with pieces of bone cut out of them. There were signs of healing around some of these.
- Your teacher will tell you the conclusions that archaeologists came to from studying the evidence. How close where they to yours?
- They will also tell you some extra things that cannot find out from the sources, but can be found out by studying people living today.
How accurate is kathleen fidler's depiction of stone age life?
- Read these extracts from The Boy with the Bronze Axe,
- a. Highlight aspects of the story that are strongly supported by evidence
- b. Highlight aspects that arent supported by evidence
- c. Highlight aspects that you think there is evidence for but we cannot be certain
- Write a letter to Kathleen Fidler critiquing the historical accuracy of The Boy with the Bronze Axe. Firstly, explain to her the bits you were pleased she included because you think there is enough evidence to support her interpretation. Then point out the parts that you dont think she should have included because you dont think there is enough evidence to be certain it was like how she describes
Review of Learning
- What did you get right? What assumptions did you make?
- What did you get wrong? Why did you get it wrong?
- Draw a new sketch of prehistoric man demonstrating your new understanding
- Would you have liked to have lived in Prehistoric Scotland? Explain your answer.