In a nutshell

Most Britons on the frontier were probably simple farmers, living in small, enclosed settlements, planting crops and raising livestock.

Tribal Map

Look out for

  • Signs of Iron age agriculture
  • Standing stones
  • Possible sites for votive offerings
  • Northumberland Hillforts

Mini gallery

The Tribes


It’s fun to imagine the natives as plucky freedom fighters, painting themselves blue and cavorting around the countryside causing mischief. In truth, life on the frontier was probably a bit more down to earth. Most people would have been farmers, living in small enclosed settlements, planting crops and raising livestock.

Yet Iron Age Britain was undoubtedly tribal. And while small groups of farmers were no threat on their own, when organised, well, that was a different matter entirely. It seems south of river Tyne, the land belonged to the powerful Brigantes tribe. Further north, dwelt the tribes of the Votadini, Selgovae and Novantae.

While some tribes were on reasonable terms with Rome, were they all? And as to how the tribes got on amongst themselves, who knows? Livestock was wealth in Iron Age Britain, so rustling must have been a constant source of trouble around the hills of Northern Britain; it certainly was a thousand years later.

busy gap cattle
Beware thy Neighbour
broomlee lough
Votive Offerings
standing stones mare and foal
Prehistoric Puzzles

The Experts say