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Farming in Iron Age Britain

Almost everyone in Iron Age Britain was a farmer. Most people would have lived in a farm or small farming village. It is likely that many craftspeople had to help grow much of their own food and even warriors were probably farmers.

By the end of the Iron Age, Britain was a landscape made up of many small farms and villages. A typical farm might contain one or more round houses inside a farmyard surrounded by a hedge and ditch. In some parts of Britain, though, people lived in larger villages.

The same crops and animals were raised by most farmers. Wheat and barley were grown in small fields; other crops included beans and brassicas. Timber was also an important crop as it was needed for fuel and for building houses, carts, furniture and tools. Cattle, sheep and pigs were kept for meat and for their manure. These animals were smaller than those kept on modern British farms. As well as meat cattle provided milk and leather and were also used to pull the plough. It is probable that sheep also provided milk as well as meat and wool. Pigs were kept just for their meat. Dogs were kept on Iron Age farms, but there is no evidence that they were used as sheep dogs. Chickens were introduced to Britain in the last centuries of the Iron Age.

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