What was Britain like?

During the past million years, Britain’s climate has fluctuated dramatically.

At times, conditions were warm enough for hippopotamuses to wallow in rivers. At others, Britain was gripped by severe cold stages. Large ice sheets covered much of the landscape, with little life able to survive in the frozen wilderness beyond.

Find out about the conditions experienced by early humans in Britain and how scientists can reconstruct the environments they lived in with remarkable precision.

  • Map of Britain 400,000 years ago
    Britain's changing landscape

    Britain hasn’t always been an island. At times, it was connected to Europe by land. Examine how the changing geography and climate affected the presence of humans.

  • Woolly mammoths once roamed Britain
    Britain's changing fauna

    Find out about some of the large animals that early Britons shared the land with. Some were useful prey, while others posed a threat to our ancient relatives.