Human prehistory is the period between the use of the first stone tools c. 3.3 million years ago by hominins and the invention of writing systems. The earliest writing systems appeared c. 5,300 years ago, but it took thousands of years for writing to be adopted, it was not used in some human cultures until the 19th century or until the present. The end of prehistory therefore came at different dates in different places, the term is less used in discussing societies where prehistory ended recently. Sumer in Mesopotamia, the Indus valley civilization, ancient Egypt were the first civilizations to develop their own scripts and to keep historical records. Neighboring civilizations were the first to follow. Most other civilizations reached the end of prehistory during the Iron Age; the three-age system of division of prehistory into the Stone Age, followed by the Bronze Age and Iron Age, remains in use for much of Eurasia and North Africa, but is not used in those parts of the world where the working of hard metals arrived abruptly with contact with Eurasian cultures, such as the Americas, Oceania and much of Sub-Saharan Africa.
These areas with some exceptions in Pre-Columbian civilizations in the Americas, did not develop complex writing systems before the arrival of Eurasians, their prehistory reaches into recent periods. The period when a culture is written about by others, but has not developed its own writing is known as the protohistory of the culture. By definition, there are no written records from human prehistory, so dating of prehistoric materials is crucial. Clear techniques for dating were not well-developed until the 19th century; this article is concerned with human prehistory, the time since behaviorally and anatomically modern humans first appeared until the beginning of recorded history. Earlier periods are called "prehistoric". Beginning The term "prehistory" can refer to the vast span of time since the beginning of the Universe or the Earth, but more it refers to the period since life appeared on Earth, or more to the time since human-like beings appeared. End The date marking the end of prehistory is defined as the advent of the contemporary written historical record.
The date varies from region to region depending on the date when relevant records become a useful academic resource. For example, in Egypt it is accepted that prehistory ended around 3200 BCE, whereas in New Guinea the end of the prehistoric era is set much more at around 1900 common era. In Europe the well-documented classical cultures of Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome had neighbouring cultures, including the Celts and to a lesser extent the Etruscans, with little or no writing, historians must decide how much weight to give to the highly prejudiced accounts of these "prehistoric" cultures in Greek and Roman literature. Time periods In dividing up human prehistory in Eurasia, historians use the three-age system, whereas scholars of pre-human time periods use the well-defined geologic record and its internationally defined stratum base within the geologic time scale; the three-age system is the periodization of human prehistory into three consecutive time periods, named for their respective predominant tool-making technologies: Stone Age Bronze Age Iron Age The notion of "prehistory" began to surface during the Enlightenment in the work of antiquarians who used the word'primitive' to describe societies that existed before written records.
The first use of the word prehistory in English, occurred in the Foreign Quarterly Review in 1836. The use of the geologic time scale for pre-human time periods, of the three-age system for human prehistory, is a system that emerged during the late nineteenth century in the work of British and Scandinavian archeologists and anthropologists; the main source for prehistory is archaeology, but some scholars are beginning to make more use of evidence from the natural and social sciences. This view has been articulated by advocates of deep history; the primary researchers into human prehistory are archaeologists and physical anthropologists who use excavation and geographic surveys, other scientific analysis to reveal and interpret the nature and behavior of pre-literate and non-literate peoples. Human population geneticists and historical linguists are providing valuable insight for these questions. Cultural anthropologists help provide context for societal interactions, by which objects of human origin pass among people, allowing an analysis of any article that arises in a human prehistoric context.
Therefore, data about prehistory is provided by a wide variety of natural and social sciences, such as paleontology, archaeology, geology, comparative linguistics, molecular genetics and many others. Human prehistory differs from history not only in terms of its chronology but in the way it deals with the activities of archaeological cultures rather than named nations or individuals. Restricted to material processes and artifacts rather than written records, prehistory is anonymous; because of this, reference terms that prehistorians use, such as Neanderthal or Iron Age are modern labels with definitions sometimes subject to debate. The concept of a "Stone Age" is found useful in the archaeology of most of the world, though in the archaeology of the Americas it is called by different names and begins with a Lithic sta
Bristol is a city and county in South West England with a population of 459,300. The wider district has the 10th-largest population in England; the urban area population of 724,000 is the 8th-largest in the UK. The city borders North Somerset and South Gloucestershire, with the cities of Bath and Gloucester to the south-east and north-east, respectively. South Wales lies across the Severn estuary. Iron Age hill forts and Roman villas were built near the confluence of the rivers Frome and Avon, around the beginning of the 11th century the settlement was known as Brycgstow. Bristol received a royal charter in 1155 and was divided between Gloucestershire and Somerset until 1373, when it became a county of itself. From the 13th to the 18th century, Bristol was among the top three English cities after London in tax receipts. Bristol was surpassed by the rapid rise of Birmingham and Liverpool in the Industrial Revolution. Bristol was a starting place for early voyages of exploration to the New World.
On a ship out of Bristol in 1497 John Cabot, a Venetian, became the first European since the Vikings to land on mainland North America. In 1499 William Weston, a Bristol merchant, was the first Englishman to lead an exploration to North America. At the height of the Bristol slave trade, from 1700 to 1807, more than 2,000 slave ships carried an estimated 500,000 people from Africa to slavery in the Americas; the Port of Bristol has since moved from Bristol Harbour in the city centre to the Severn Estuary at Avonmouth and Royal Portbury Dock. Bristol's modern economy is built on the creative media and aerospace industries, the city-centre docks have been redeveloped as centres of heritage and culture; the city has the largest circulating community currency in the UK—the Bristol pound, pegged to the Pound sterling. The city has two universities, the University of Bristol and the University of the West of England, a variety of artistic and sporting organisations and venues including the Royal West of England Academy, the Arnolfini, Spike Island, Ashton Gate and the Memorial Stadium.
It is connected to London and other major UK cities by road and rail, to the world by sea and air: road, by the M5 and M4. One of the UK's most popular tourist destinations, Bristol was selected in 2009 as one of the world's top ten cities by international travel publishers Dorling Kindersley in their Eyewitness series of travel guides; the Sunday Times named it as the best city in Britain in which to live in 2014 and 2017, Bristol won the EU's European Green Capital Award in 2015. The most ancient recorded name for Bristol is the archaic Welsh Caer Odor, consistent with modern understanding that early Bristol developed between the River Frome and Avon Gorge, it is most stated that the Saxon name Bricstow was a simple calque of the existing Celtic name, with Bric a literal translation of Odor, the common Saxon suffix Stow replacing Caer. Alternative etymologies are supported by numerous orthographic variations in medieval documents, with Samuel Seyer enumerating 47 alternative forms; the Old English form Brycgstow is used to derive the meaning place at the bridge.
Utilizing another form, Rev. Dr. Shaw derived the name from the Celtic words bras, or braos and tuile; the poet Thomas Chatterton popularised a derivation from Brictricstow linking the town to Brictric, a leading landholder in the area. It appears that the form Bricstow prevailed until 1204, the Bristolian'L' is what changed the name to Bristol. Archaeological finds, including flint tools believed to be between 300,000 and 126,000 years old made with the Levallois technique, indicate the presence of Neanderthals in the Shirehampton and St Annes areas of Bristol during the Middle Palaeolithic. Iron Age hill forts near the city are at Leigh Woods and Clifton Down, on the side of the Avon Gorge, on Kings Weston Hill near Henbury. A Roman settlement, existed at what is now Sea Mills. Isolated Roman villas and small forts and settlements were scattered throughout the area. Bristol was founded by 1000. By 1067 Brycgstow was a well-fortified burh, that year the townsmen beat off a raiding party from Ireland led by three of Harold Godwinson's sons.
Under Norman rule, the town had one of the strongest castles in southern England. Bristol was the place of exile for Diarmait Mac Murchada, the Irish king of Leinster, after being overthrown; the Bristol merchants subsequently played a prominent role in funding Richard Strongbow de Clare and the Norman invasion of Ireland. The port developed in the 11th century around the confluence of the Rivers Frome and Avon, adjacent to Bristol Bridge just outside the town walls. By the 12th century Bristol was an important port, handling much of England's trade with Ireland, including slaves. There was an important Jewish community in Bristol from the late 12th century through to the late 13th century when all Jews were expelled from England; the stone bridge built in 1247 was replaced by the current bridge during the 1760s. The town incorporated neighbouring suburbs and became a county in 1373, the first town in England to be given this status. During this period, Bristol became manufacturing centre. By the 14th centur
The United Kingdom the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, sometimes referred to as Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world; the Irish Sea lies between Great Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres, the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world, it is the 22nd-most populous country, with an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017. The UK is constitutional monarchy; the current monarch is Queen Elizabeth II, who has reigned since 1952, making her the longest-serving current head of state.
The United Kingdom's capital and largest city is London, a global city and financial centre with an urban area population of 10.3 million. Other major urban areas in the UK include Greater Manchester, the West Midlands and West Yorkshire conurbations, Greater Glasgow and the Liverpool Built-up Area; the United Kingdom consists of four constituent countries: England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Their capitals are London, Edinburgh and Belfast, respectively. Apart from England, the countries have their own devolved governments, each with varying powers, but such power is delegated by the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which may enact laws unilaterally altering or abolishing devolution; the nearby Isle of Man, Bailiwick of Guernsey and Bailiwick of Jersey are not part of the UK, being Crown dependencies with the British Government responsible for defence and international representation. The medieval conquest and subsequent annexation of Wales by the Kingdom of England, followed by the union between England and Scotland in 1707 to form the Kingdom of Great Britain, the union in 1801 of Great Britain with the Kingdom of Ireland created the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
Five-sixths of Ireland seceded from the UK in 1922, leaving the present formulation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. There are fourteen British Overseas Territories, the remnants of the British Empire which, at its height in the 1920s, encompassed a quarter of the world's land mass and was the largest empire in history. British influence can be observed in the language and political systems of many of its former colonies; the United Kingdom is a developed country and has the world's fifth-largest economy by nominal GDP and ninth-largest economy by purchasing power parity. It has a high-income economy and has a high Human Development Index rating, ranking 14th in the world, it was the world's first industrialised country and the world's foremost power during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The UK remains a great power, with considerable economic, military and political influence internationally, it is sixth in military expenditure in the world. It has been a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council since its first session in 1946.
It has been a leading member state of the European Union and its predecessor, the European Economic Community, since 1973. The United Kingdom is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the Council of Europe, the G7, the G20, NATO, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the World Trade Organization; the 1707 Acts of Union declared that the kingdoms of England and Scotland were "United into One Kingdom by the Name of Great Britain". The term "United Kingdom" has been used as a description for the former kingdom of Great Britain, although its official name from 1707 to 1800 was "Great Britain"; the Acts of Union 1800 united the kingdom of Great Britain and the kingdom of Ireland in 1801, forming the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Following the partition of Ireland and the independence of the Irish Free State in 1922, which left Northern Ireland as the only part of the island of Ireland within the United Kingdom, the name was changed to the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland".
Although the United Kingdom is a sovereign country, Scotland and Northern Ireland are widely referred to as countries. The UK Prime Minister's website has used the phrase "countries within a country" to describe the United Kingdom; some statistical summaries, such as those for the twelve NUTS 1 regions of the United Kingdom refer to Scotland and Northern Ireland as "regions". Northern Ireland is referred to as a "province". With regard to Northern Ireland, the descriptive name used "can be controversial, with the choice revealing one's political preferences"; the term "Great Britain" conventionally refers to the island of Great Britain, or politically to England and Wales in combination. However, it is sometimes used as a loose synonym for the United Kingdom as a whole; the term "Britain" is used both as a synonym for Great Britain, as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Usage is mixed, with the BBC preferring to use Britain as shorthand only for Great Britain and the UK Government, while accepting that both terms refer to the United K
Roman Britain was the area of the island of Great Britain, governed by the Roman Empire, from 43 to 410 AD. It comprised the whole of England and Wales and, for a short period, southern Scotland. Julius Caesar invaded Britain in 54 BC as part of his Gallic Wars. According to Caesar, the Britons had been overrun or culturally assimilated by other Celtic tribes during the British Iron Age and had been aiding Caesar's enemies, he received tribute, installed a friendly king over the Trinovantes, returned to Gaul. Planned invasions under Augustus were called off in 34, 27, 25 BC. In 40 AD, Caligula assembled 200,000 men at the Channel on the continent, only to have them gather seashells according to Suetonius as a symbolic gesture to proclaim Caligula's victory over the sea. Three years Claudius directed four legions to invade Britain and restore an exiled king over the Atrebates; the Romans defeated the Catuvellauni, organized their conquests as the Province of Britain. By the year 47, the Romans held the lands southeast of the Fosse Way.
Control over Wales was delayed by reverses and the effects of Boudica's uprising, but the Romans expanded northward. The conquest of Britain continued under command of Gnaeus Julius Agricola, who expanded the Roman Empire as far as Caledonia. In the summer of 84, Agricola faced the armies of the Caledonians, led by Calgacus, at the Battle of Mons Graupius. Battle casualties were estimated by Tacitus to be around the 10,000's on the Caledonian side and about 360 on the Roman side; the bloodbath at Mons Graupius concluded the forty-year conquest of Britain, a period that saw between 100,000 and 250,000 Britons killed. In the context of pre-industrial warfare and of a total population of Britain of c.2 million, these are high figures. Under the 2nd-century emperors Hadrian and Antoninus Pius, two walls were built to defend the Roman province from the Caledonians, whose realms in the Scottish Highlands were never controlled. Around 197, the Severan Reforms divided Britain into two provinces: Britannia Superior and Britannia Inferior.
During the Diocletian Reforms, at the end of the 3rd century, Britannia was divided into four provinces under the direction of a vicarius, who administered the Diocese of the Britains. A fifth province, Valentia, is attested in the 4th century. For much of the period of the Roman occupation, Britannia was subject to barbarian invasions and came under the control of imperial usurpers and imperial pretenders; the final Roman withdrawal from Britain occurred around 410. Following the conquest of the Britons, a distinctive Romano-British culture emerged as the Romans introduced improved agriculture, urban planning, industrial production, architecture; the Roman goddess Britannia became the female personification of Britain. After the initial invasions, Roman historians only mention Britain in passing. Thus, most present knowledge derives from archaeological investigations and occasional epigraphic evidence lauding the Britannic achievements of an emperor. Roman citizens settled in Britain from many parts of the Empire.
Britain was known to the Classical world. The Greeks referred to the Cassiterides, or "tin islands", placed them near the west coast of Europe; the Carthaginian sailor Himilco is said to have visited the island in the 5th century BC and the Greek explorer Pytheas in the 4th. It was regarded with some writers refusing to believe it existed at all; the first direct Roman contact was when Julius Caesar undertook two expeditions in 55 and 54 BC, as part of his conquest of Gaul, believing the Britons were helping the Gallic resistance. The first expedition was more a reconnaissance than a full invasion and gained a foothold on the coast of Kent but was unable to advance further because of storm damage to the ships and a lack of cavalry. Despite the military failure it was a political success, with the Roman Senate declaring a 20-day public holiday in Rome to honour the unprecedented achievement of obtaining hostages from Britain and defeating Belgian tribes on returning to the continent; the second invasion involved a larger force and Caesar coerced or invited many of the native Celtic tribes to pay tribute and give hostages in return for peace.
A friendly local king, was installed, his rival, was brought to terms. Hostages were taken, but historians disagree over whether any tribute was paid after Caesar returned to Gaul. Caesar conquered no territory and left no troops behind but he established clients and brought Britain into Rome's sphere of influence. Augustus planned invasions in 34, 27 and 25 BC, but circumstances were never favourable, the relationship between Britain and Rome settled into one of diplomacy and trade. Strabo, writing late in Augustus's reign, claimed that taxes on trade brought in more annual revenue than any conquest could. Archaeology shows. Strabo mentions British kings who sent embassies to Augustus and Augustus's own Res Gestae refers to two British kings he received as refugees; when some of Tiberius's ships were carried to Britain in a storm during his campaigns in Germany in 16 AD, they came back with tales of monsters. Rome appears to have encouraged a balance of power in southern Britain, supporting two powerful kingdoms: the Catuvellauni, ruled by the descendants of Tasciovanus, the Atrebates, ruled by the descendants of Commius.
This policy was followed until 39 or 40
Domesday Book is a manuscript record of the "Great Survey" of much of England and parts of Wales completed in 1086 by order of King William the Conqueror. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle states: Then, at the midwinter, was the king in Gloucester with his council.... After this had the king a large meeting, deep consultation with his council, about this land. Sent he his men over all England into each shire, it was written in Medieval Latin, was abbreviated, included some vernacular native terms without Latin equivalents. The survey's main purpose was to determine what taxes had been owed during the reign of King Edward the Confessor, which allowed William to reassert the rights of the Crown and assess where power lay after a wholesale redistribution of land following the Norman conquest; the assessors' reckoning of a man's holdings and their values, as recorded in Domesday Book, was dispositive and without appeal. The name "Domesday Book" came into use in the 12th century; as Richard FitzNeal wrote in the Dialogus de Scaccario: for as the sentence of that strict and terrible last account cannot be evaded by any skilful subterfuge, so when this book is appealed to... its sentence cannot be quashed or set aside with impunity.
That is why we have called the book "the Book of Judgement"... because its decisions, like those of the Last Judgement, are unalterable. The manuscript is held at The National Archives at London. In 2011, the Open Domesday site made the manuscript available online; the book is an invaluable primary source for historical economists. No survey approaching the scope and extent of Domesday Book was attempted again in Britain until the 1873 Return of Owners of Land which presented the first complete, post-Domesday picture of the distribution of landed property in the British Isles. Domesday Book encompasses two independent works; these were "Little Domesday", "Great Domesday" No surveys were made of the City of London, Winchester, or some other towns due to their tax-exempt status. Most of Cumberland and Westmorland are missing. County Durham is missing; the omission of the other counties and towns is not explained, although in particular Cumberland and Westmorland had yet to be conquered. "Little Domesday" – so named because its format is physically smaller than its companion's – is the more detailed survey, down to numbers of livestock.
It may have represented the first attempt, resulting in a decision to avoid such level of detail in "Great Domesday". Both volumes are organised into a series of chapters listing the fees, held by a named tenant-in-chief of the king, namely religious institutions, Norman warrior magnates and a few Saxon thegns who had made peace with the Norman regime; some of the largest such magnates held several hundred fees, in a few cases in more than one county. For example, the chapter of the Domesday Book Devonshire section concerning Baldwin the Sheriff lists 176 holdings held in-chief by him. Only a few of the holdings of the large magnates were held in demesne, most having been subinfeudated to knights military followers of the tenant-in-chief which latter thus became their overlord; the fees listed within the chapter concerning a particular tenant-in-chief were ordered, but not in a systematic or rigorous fashion, by the Hundred Court under the jurisdiction of which they were situated, not by geographic location.
As a review of taxes owed, it was unpopular. Each county's list opened with the king's demesne lands, it should be borne in mind that under the feudal system the king was the only true "owner" of land in England, under his allodial title. He was thus the ultimate overlord and the greatest magnate could do no more than "hold" land from him as a tenant under one of the various contracts of feudal land tenure. Holdings of Bishops followed of the abbeys and religious houses of lay tenants-in-chief and lastly the king's serjeants, Saxon thegns who had survived the Conquest, all in hierarchical order. In some counties, one or more principal towns formed the subject of a separate section: in some the clamores were treated separately; this principle applies more to the larger volume: in the smaller one, the system is more confused, the execution less perfect. Domesday names a total of 13,418 places. Apart from the wholly rural portions, which constitute its bulk, Domesday contains entries of interest concerning most of t
Fire services in the United Kingdom
The fire services in the United Kingdom operate under separate legislative and administrative arrangements in England and Wales, Northern Ireland, Scotland. Emergency cover is provided by over fifty agencies; these are known as a fire and rescue service, the term used in modern legislation and by government departments. The older terms of fire brigade and fire service survive in informal usage and in the names of a few organisations. England and Wales have local fire services which are each overseen by a fire authority, made up of representatives of local governments. Fire authorities have the power to raise a Council Tax levy for funding, with the remainder coming from the government. Scotland and Northern Ireland have centralised fire services, so their authorities are committees of the devolved parliaments; the total budget for fire services in 2014-15 was £2.9 billion. Central government maintains national standards and a body of independent advisers through the Chief Fire and Rescue Adviser, created in 2007, while Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services provides direct oversight.
The devolved government in Scotland has HMFSI Scotland. Firefighters in the United Kingdom are allowed to join unions, the main one being the Fire Brigades Union, while chief fire officers are members of the National Fire Chiefs Council, which has some role in national co-ordination; the fire services have undergone significant changes since the beginning of the 21st century, a process, propelled by a devolution of central government powers, new legislation and a change to operational procedures in the light of terrorism attacks and threats. See separate article History of fire safety legislation in the United Kingdom Comprehensive list of recent UK fire and rescue service legislation: Fire services are established and granted their powers under new legislation which has replaced a number of Acts of Parliament dating back more than 60 years, but is still undergoing change. 1938: Fire Brigades Act 1938. This Act provided for centralised co-ordination of fire brigades in Great Britain and made it mandatory for local authorities to arrange an effective fire service.
1947: Fire Services Act 1947 This Act transferred the functions of the National Fire Service to local authorities. Now repealed in England and Wales by Schedule 2 of the Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004. 1959: Fire Services Act 1959 This Act amended the 1947 Act. It was repealed in Wales along with the 1947 Act. 1999: Greater London Authority Act 1999 This act was necessary to allow for the formation of the Greater London Authority and in turn the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority. In 2002, there was a series of national fire strikes, with much of the discontent caused by the aforementioned report into the fire service conducted by Prof Sir George Bain. In December 2002, the Independent Review of the Fire Service was published with the industrial action still ongoing. Bain's report led to a change in the laws relating to firefighting. 2002: Independent Review of the Fire Service published 2004: Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004 only applying to England and Wales. 2006: The Regulatory Reform Order 2005 This piece of secondary legislation or statutory instrument replaces several other acts that dealt with fire precautions and fire safety in premises, including the now defunct process of issuing fire certificates.
It came into force on 1 October 2006. The DfCLG has published a set of guides for non-domestic premises: 2006: The Government of Wales Act 2006 gave the National Assembly for Wales powers to pass laws on "Fire and rescue services. Promotion of fire safety otherwise than by prohibition or regulation." But does not prevent future legislation being passed by the UK government which applies to two or more constituent countries. There are further plans to modernise the fire service according to the Local Government Association, its website outlines future changes, specific projects: "The aim of the Fire Modernisation Programme is to adopt modern work practices within the Fire & Rescue Service to become more efficient and effective, while strengthening the contingency and resilience of the Service to react to incidents. " The fire service in England and Wales is scrutinised by a House of Commons select committee. In June 2006, the fire and rescue service select committee, under the auspices of the Communities and Local Government Committee, published its latest report.
Committee report The committee's brief is described on its website: The Communities and Local Government Committee is appointed by the House of Commons to examine the expenditure and policy of the Department for Communities and Local Government and its associated bodies. Government response This document, the subsequent government response in September 2006, are important as they outlined progress on the FiReControl, efforts to address diversity and the planned closure of HMFSI in 2007 among many issues. Both documents are interesting as they refer back to Professor Bain's report and the many recommendations it made and continue to put forward the notion that there is an ongoing need to modernise FRSs. For example, where FRSs were inspected by HMFSI, much of this work is now carried out by the National Audit Office. Fire Control On 8 February 2010 the House of Commons Communities and Local Governm
Keynsham is a town and civil parish located between Bristol and Bath in Somerset, England. It has a population of 16,000, it was listed in the Domesday Book as Cainesham, believed to mean the home of Saint Keyne. The site of the town has been occupied since prehistoric times, may have been the site of the Roman settlement of Trajectus; the remains of at least two Roman villas have been excavated, an additional 15 Roman buildings have been detected beneath the Keynsham Hams. Keynsham developed into a medieval market town after Keynsham Abbey was founded around 1170, it is situated at the confluence of the River Chew and River Avon and was subject to serious flooding before the creation of Chew Valley Lake and river level controls at Keynsham Lock in 1727. The Chew Stoke flood of 1968 inundated large parts of the town, it was home to the Cadbury's chocolate factory, which opened in 1935 as a major employer in the town. It is home to Memorial Park, used for the annual town festival and several nature reserves.
The town is served by Keynsham railway station on the London-Bristol and Bristol-Southampton trunk routes and is close to the A4 road which bypassed the town in 1964. There are schools, religious and cultural clubs and venues. Evidence of occupation dates back to prehistoric times, during the Roman period, Keynsham may have been the site of the Roman settlement of Trajectus, the Latin word for "bridgehead." It is believed that a settlement around a Roman ford over the River Avon existed somewhere in the vicinity, the numerous Roman ruins discovered in Keynsham make it a candidate for this lost settlement. In 1877 during construction of the Durley Hill Cemetery, the remains of a grand Roman villa with over 30 rooms was discovered. However, construction of the cemetery went ahead, the majority of the villa is now located beneath the Victorian cemetery and an adjacent road; the cemetery was expanded in 1922, an archeological dig was carried out ahead of the interments, leading to the excavation of 17 rooms and the rescue of 10 elaborate mosaics.
At the same time as the grand Roman villa was being excavated at Durley Hill Cemetery, a second smaller villa was discovered during the construction of Fry's Somerdale Chocolate Factory. Two fine stone coffins were interred with the remains of a man and a woman; the villa and coffins were removed to a place near the gates of the factory grounds, construction on the factory went ahead. Fry's built in the grounds of the factory a museum which for many years housed the Durley Hill mosaics, the coffins, numerous other artefacts. In 2012, Taylor Wimpey, about to develop the factory site, made a detailed geophysical assessment of the area, discovered an additional 15 Roman buildings centered around a Roman road beneath Keynsham Hams, with evidence of additional Roman buildings, disturbed by quarrying. According to legend, Saint Keyne, daughter of King Brychan of Brycheiniog, lived here on the banks of the River Avon during the 5th century. Before settling here, she had been warned by the local King that the marshy area was swarming with snakes, which prevented habitation.
St Keyne turned the snakes to stone. The fossil ammonites found in the area were believed to be the result. However, there is no evidence that her cult was celebrated in Keynsham; some scattered archeological evidence suggests that an Anglo-Saxon settlement existed in Keynsham in the High Street area, that in the 9th century a Minster church existed in Keynsham as well. The earliest documentary reference to Keynsham is in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, which refers to it as Cægineshamme, Old English for'Cæga's Hamm.' The town is listed in the Domesday Book of 1086 as "Cainesham." It has therefore been suggested that the origin of Keynsham's name is not, in fact Saint Keyne, but from "Ceagin."Around 1170, Keynsham Abbey was founded by the Victorine congregation of canon regulars. Archeological evidence suggests that the abbey was built over the site of the previous Saxon Minster church; the settlement developed into a medieval market town, the abbey of Keynsham was given ownership of the Keynsham Hundred.
The Abbey survived until the dissolution of the monasteries in 1539, a house was subsequently built on the site. The remains have been designated as a Grade I listed building by English Heritage. Keynsham played a part in the Civil War as the Roundheads saved the town and camped there for the night, using the pub now known as the Lock Keeper Inn as a guard post. During the Monmouth Rebellion of 1685 the town was the site of a battle between royalist forces and the rebel Duke of Monmouth. Bridges Almshouses were built around 1685 and may have been for the widows of those killed in the rebellion. Before the creation of Chew Valley Lake and river level controls at Keynsham Lock and weir, Keynsham was prone to flooding; the Great Flood of 1968 inundated large parts of the town, destroying the town's bridges including the county bridge over the Avon which had stood since medieval times, private premises on Dapps Hill. After the flood the Memorial Park, laid out after World War II was extended. Keynsham rose to fame during the late 1950s and early 1960s when it featured in a long-running series of advertisements on Radio Luxembourg for Horace Batchelor's Infra-draw betting system.
To obtain the system, listeners had to write to Batchelor's Keynsham post office box, Keynsham was always painstakingly spelled out on-air, with Batchelor famously intoning "Keynsham – spelt K-E-Y-N-S-H-A-M – Keynsham, Bristol". This was done because the proper pronunciation of Keynsham – "Cane-sham" – does not make the spelling of Keynsham