Iron Age Sites and Museums in Britain and Ireland

Museum of London : Prehistoric Collection

The most important element of the prehistoric material is the collection of some 900 pieces of Bronze Age and Iron Age metalwork, mostly recovered from the River Thames.

The British Mueum (London)

Explore highlight objects from the British Museum by ancient, historical and living culture.

» Britain and Europe 800 BC–AD 43 (Room 50)

Buster Ancient Farm (Hampshire)

The experimental research project at Butser Ancient Farm interprets archaeological evidence and then attempts to recreate some of the building and agricultural processes of 2,000 years ago. The earthworks, the roundhouses, the Roman villa, the fences and fields, the iron age crops and livestock are all part of the open-air laboratory which continues to add a new dimension to world archaeology. Butser Ancient Farm runs the largest prehistoric crop trial programme in Europe, keeps rare breed cattle, sheep, goat and fowl, and most impressively the largest roundhouse ever rebuilt. The ancient farm provides a unique opportunity to not only understand be involved with experimental archaeology, but also to experience and savour the everyday lives of the Celts and Romans.

Museum of the Iron Age (Andover)

The Museum of the Iron Age tells the story of Danebury hill fort which lies to the south west of Andover. The hill fort was excavated by Professor Barry Cunliffe between 1969 and 1988 and is one of the best studied sites of the British Iron Age.

Flag Fen Archaeology Park

At Flag Fen you can explore and investigate how the prehistoric people of the Fen lived 3300 years ago. The Flag Fen archaeology park has over 20 acres of out doors to explore and two indoor display areas. Here, you can wander through a reconstructed Bronze Age landscape and village, sit and ponder within the reconstructed roundhouses, have a go at weaving on the loom, smell the plants and herbs in the roman garden and stand where our ancestors once stood by the ritual causeway.

English Heritage Properties Map

Interactive map of properties. Choose from time periods such as Prehistoric Sites, Monuments and Ruins, adrians Wall, Roman Sites, and Free-to-Enter. Lots of other cool things on the English Heritage website.

National Museums Scotland

Over 3 million objects and specimens, ranging from the earliest times to the present day. The collections include ancient Mediterranean archaeology, Scottish archaeology and the history of the Scottish people, the development of Science and Technology, the Natural Sciences and representation of material cultures from around the world.

» Online Collections Database

Scottish Crannog Center

Look at some of their underwater discoveries in the exhibition; walk over water into the Iron Age on your crannog tour; and test your skills at ancient crafts and technology. Special events run regularly featuring artists, musicians, skilled craft workers and other specialists who, together with a team of Iron Age guides, actively bring the past to life.

National Museum Wales/Amgueddfa Cymru

Amgueddfa Cymru holds almost 1 million items that tell us about life in Wales, from when people lived in caves 250,000 years ago, to the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. Many of these objects are of huge financial value, others are simple and everyday, significant for the insights they give to the daily lives of the people who made them.

» Homepage for the Iron Age

Castell Henllys Iron Age fort

Castell Henllys (Welsh, “castle of the old court”) is an important archaeological site in north Pembrokeshire, Wales, between Newport and Cardigan. This Iron Age hillfort has been the subject of an ongoing excavation for more than twenty years, accompanied by an exercise in reconstruction archaeology whereby experiments in prehistoric farming have been practised. Four roundhouses and a granary have been reconstructed on their original Iron Age foundations. During the summer the site acts as a training excavation for young archaeologists.

Ulster Museum (Belfast)

Iron Age objects in the collections include brooches, horse-bits, spearheads, swords and scabbards. Some of the finest objects are: a unique decorated bronze spearhead from Moy, County Tyrone; a wooden tankard with decorated bronze fittings from Carrickfergus, County Antrim; and, several decorated scabbards from Lisnacrogher, County Antrim.

National Museum of Ireland (Dublin)

Based on core collections assembled in the late 18th and 19th Centuries by the Royal Dublin Society and the Royal Irish Academy, the archaeological collections have been added to considerably over the last 100 years and now number in excess of two million objects. The collection is significant in extent, diversity and quality and three areas are of acknowledged international standing.

Newgrange & Knowth Megalithic Tombs Ireland (Co. Meath)

The Megalithic Passage Tombs of Newgrange, Knowth, Dowth, Fourknocks, Loughcrew and Tara are located in the present day County of Meath on the east coast of Ireland. The Boyne Valley Mounds at Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth were built around 3200BC making them older than Stonehenge in England and the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt.

Músaem Chorca Dhuibhne (Trá Lí, Co. Chiarraí)

The museum contains a bi-lingual (Irish and English) exhibition, interpreting many aspects of the rich archaeological resource of the peninsula, and also of the exciting historical events and personages that have coloured the area’s past. Aspects of the natural heritage are also covered. The exhibition covers the Geology of the area, Seashells, Prehistory (from Mesolithic to Iron Age), the Early Christian period, the Medieval Period and Modern times.

Hill of Tara (Co. Meath)

Tara Hill was one of the most venerated religious spots in early Ireland and the seat of the High Kings of Ireland from 3rd century until 1022. Despite its importance, the superficial visitor may be disappointed in what he sees. At Tara there are no signs of regal past, nor impressive remains, only simple earthworks. But there are many megalithic monuments on the hill, and lots of historic and legendary events are connected to this place. The most prominent and oldest monument on the hill is the Mound of the Hostages. On excavation, it proved to be a small passage grave dating to around 2000 BC.

Navan Fort – known in Old Irish as Emain Macha (Armagh)

This ancient site sets the tales of Macha, Cu chulainn, Deirdre and heroes of the Red Branch Knights. According to the early Christian scribes, Irish history began with the founding of Emain Macha. Archaeologists have made many fascinating discoveries at Navan, including the traces of a giant Celtic temple.

Navan Fort is a large earthwork of circular plan surrounding the summit of a drumlin in pleasant rolling countryside. The site, a pagan sanctuary, is some 240m in diameter. Where best preserved on the west, the ditch is 4m deep and the external embankment 15m wide and 4m high. The impressive earthwork encloses two monuments on the hilltop, a ring barrow (Iron Age burial site) and a large mound. Excavations in the 1960s revealed that the mound was a composite structure built in 95BC at the end of a long sequence of earlier activity. Recent excavations demonstrated that the main enclosure was also built in the around 95BC.

Turoe Stone

The Turoe stone is a granite stone decorated in a Celtic style located in the village of Bullaun, County Galway, Ireland. The top half of the stone is covered with a continuous abstract La Tène style design similar to that on the Castlestrange stone in . County Roscommon. Concentric spirals are carved in low relief to the depth of about 3 cm. Some claim that the carvings on the stone, were they spread out on a flat surface, would equate to a primitive globe map. Alternatively it is seen as a phallus. The stone is around 3 ft tall.