Chronology

FISH member organizations have compiled chronological guides to assist with the identification of archaeological and cultural periods. Time periods vary depending on geographical focus and archaeological science disciplines so dates should not be taken as definitive or absolute and are very much open to debate.

A key guide for dating Britain’s historic sites and monuments is Historic England’s Periods List (see below). Other resources include the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales (RCAHMW), and the British and Irish Archaeological Bibliography (BIAB).

Chronological guide for recording sites and monuments (Periods List)

Archaeological Periods

  • Palaeolithic   -10,000 to -500,000 (BC)
    • Lower Palaeolithic -150000 to  -500000
    • Middle Palaeolithic -40,000 to  -150,000
    • Upper Palaeolithic -10,000 to  -40,000
  • Mesolithic -4,000 to -10,000
    • Early Mesolithic -7,000 to -10,000
    • Late Mesolithic -4,000 to -7,000
  • Early Prehistoric -4,000 to -500,000
  • Neolithic -2,200 to -4,000
    • Early Neolithic -3,300 to -4,000
    • Middle Neolithic -2,900 to -3,300
    • Late Neolithic -2,200 to -2,900
  • Bronze Age -700 to -2,600
    • Early Bronze Age -1,600 to -2,600
    • Middle Bronze Age -1,200 to -1,600
    • Late Bronze Age -700 to -2,600
  • Iron Age 43 to -800
    • Early Iron Age -300 to -800
    • Middle Iron Age -100 to -300
    • Late Iron Age 43 to -100
  • Later Prehistoric 43 to -4,000
  • Prehistoric 43 to -500,000

Cultural Periods

  • Roman 43 to 410 (AD)
  • Early Medieval 410 to 1066
  • Medieval 1066 to 1540
  • Post Medieval 1540 to 1901
  • Tudor 1485 to 1603
  • Elizabethan 1558 to 1603
  • Stuart 1603 to 1714
  • Jacobean 1603 to 1625
  • Hanoverian 1714 to 1837
  • Georgian 1714 to 1830
  • Victorian 1837 to 1901
  • 20th Century 1901 to 2000
    • Early 20th Century 1901 to 1932
    • Edwardian 1902 to 1910
    • First World War 1914 to 1918
    • Mid 20th Century 1933 to 1966
    • Second World War 1939 to 1945
    • Cold War 1946 to 1991
    • Late 20th Century 1967 to 2000
  • 21st Century 2001 to 2100
  • Uncertain