British Isles · History · Humans - Tribes

History of Wales – Timeline


Prehistoric Wales

The spectacular landscapes of Wales were forged in part, by the last Ice Age. Cave bears, giant deer, scimitar-toothed cats and woolly mammoths roamed the land. In fact, you can see the teeth and jawbone of a mammoth at the Holyhead Maritime Museum (link is external) after the remains were found nearby.

Some scientists suggest that humans have inhabited Wales for at least 230,000 years as a jawbone of a Neanderthal was found in North Wales, which dates back to that time period. Wales also has claim to the oldest ceremonial burial in Europe as the skeleton of a man dating back to 33,000 years ago, was found in limestone caves in the Gower Peninsula, South West Wales, named The Red Lady of Paviland. The skeleton was found along with jewellery and a mammoth’s skull.

The Bronze Age – Parts of Wales were now farmed and some historians think settlements had been established.The bronze found in Wales such as at the Great Orme site in Llandudno, North West Wales, is thought to have been important for the production of tools and axes used across the region and further. One of the most significant Bronze Age artefacts ever found, the Mold Cape, was discovered in a tomb at Bryn yr Ellyllion, Mold, North East Wales. It dates back to around 1900BC and is made from a single a solid sheet of gold ingot.

1000 BC and the Iron Age

The Celts began migrating from their central European homeland around 1000 BC. Their cultural influence on the region would become very important to the history of Wales. An impressive collection of Celtic weapons, chariots, tools and pottery was found at Llyn Cerrig Bach on Anglesey North Wales and some items can now be viewed at the National Museum of Wales, Cardiff. There are around 600 hillforts from the Iron Age which in Wales which indicates a large number of settlements. 

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