Museum Musings: Royston Tapestry Scene Two

Royston Tapestry Scene Two The Ice Age

This month we’re taking a closer look at the second scene of the Royston Tapestry. Our first scene took us back 64 million years. Now, take a massive jump forwards to just 2 million years ago! From then to around 11,000 years ago, the world was in an ice age (in scientific circles, it’s known as the Pleistocene epoch). As you might guess by the name, there was a lot of ice about. So much ice that sometimes most of the UK and parts of Europe would have been covered in a layer of it. There were some warmer times during the ice age which meant less ice covering the land.

No human remains have been found but other evidence suggests people were in Britain 950,000 years ago.

So, our ancestors lived through these ice ages and would have needed to move around to avoid the coldest weather, moving south when it froze over and heading north when the ice melted. The types of animals roaming around included mammoths and hyenas. Our distant relatives would have been on high alert in order to protect themselves and others from the most dangerous animals. The stitched scene shows a cold, bleak landscape and that’s pretty much what it would have been like. At places the ice was around 3 km (1.8 miles) thick! No wonder people were forced to move away to warmer areas. Feeling chilly?