IN THE BEGINNING...
Southwold's early history
 
9 -11 Victoria Street, Southwold, Suffolk IP18 6HZ - Tel: 01502 726097 email
 
 
 
 
 
In the beginning
The Sea
Natural Southwold
Fishing
Transport to Southwold
Southwold at war
Christianity in Southwold
Industry
Arts & Crafts
Holidays & Leisure
Southwold the town
Southwold Shops & Trades

Acknowledgements

Southwold Museum acknowledges the help of the following organisations in assembling the infomation in our 'In the beginning' storyline:

British Council for Archaeology - particularly for extracts from an article in their Journal British Archaeology for January 2006 relating to the finds at Pakefield.

English Heritage

Natural History Museum, London

Find out more about Southwold’s early history in the booklet The Early History of Southwold and Easton Bavents on sale in the museum shop.

 
 
  Travel back in time 650,000 years and you’ll meet Southwold’s first visitors. Naked, hairy and keen on raw meat, they arrived on foot from mainland Europe as the Ice Age retreated. Evidence of their Southwold stay includes some of Britain’s earliest fossils and tools found in cliffs at Easton Bavents and further north at Pakefield.
   

Survival in prehistoric Southwold wasn’t easy for these ape-like human ancestors. Wild animals including lions, hyenas and bears hunted their prey on land while hippos and rhinos roamed the rivers. Early humans would have seen animals now long-extinct: giant deer, mammoth and the spectacular sabre-toothed cat.


Visitors eventually became settlers. East Anglia’s rich supply of flints meant people could hunt and farm with tools long before metal-working developed. Later, the Romans and Vikings passed through, leaving a few coins and boat remnants in evidence. But by the time of the Domesday Book, in 1086 AD, Southwold and nearby Reydon and Easton Bavents were all small but permanent settlements.


North of Southwold, Easton Bavents is an important area of pre-history. It is the site of an ancient settlement and its liability to erosion means that buried remains are constantly exposed.
Learn more about this archaeologically rich landscape by clicking the picture.
  The cliffs at Easton Bavents
  Flint arrowhead embedded in a vertebra
 

A GRUESOME FIND...
A Palaeolithic primate vertebra with the (probably fatal) flint arrowhead still embedded in it! - top left See it in the Museum's collection.

Click the picture to examine it in more detail.

 

Viking ships had huge side-mounted steering oars instead of rudders. Two of them were found near Southwold and are now a highlight of our collection. Click to find out more.

Find out more about Southwold’s early settlers by clicking the topics below


Who were Southwold’s earliest visitors?
How do we know the early humans were here?
Where did Southwold’s first visitors come from, and how did they get here?
Why did early visitors come here?
Why didn’t people stay here?
What did early visitors find here?
Why did early people make flint tools?
When did people come back to Southwold?
Did invaders of Great Britain come to Southwold?*
Who were Southwold’s first permanent inhabitants?
 

AMBER, CARNELIAN AND AGATE
a lump of polished amber with flies embedded in it. Click to access popup window

A piece of amber containing flies which are between 30 and 90 million years old!
Click for a closer look

Mammoth memories 1.
Tusk of a Mammoth or Great Elephant trawled up from Southwold Deep.
Click to enlarge

Mammoth tusk trawled up off Southwold. Click to access popup enlargement

Mammoth memories 2.

Cast of lower molar of  an elephant-like beast found at Easton Bavents. Click to access popup enlargement

Cast of lower molar of an elephant-like beast: Mastodon (Anancus) ARVERNENSIS found at Easton Bavents in 1931.
Click to enlarge

 

The Bronze Age in and around Southwold!

Bronze Age axe head found in Hotson Road

Bronze age axe head

 


Bronze age image of a deer carved on a stone found in Easton Bavents.
Click the image for a better look.

For more about the Bronze Age settlers, click here

 

   
     
 

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Southwold Museum & Historical Society, 9 -11 Victoria Street, Southwold, Suffolk IP18 6HZ
Tel: 01502 726097 email

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