Modern Times

When archaeologists say modern, they often mean things that other people think of as still quite old. When the FLO records modern objects, this means that they are less than 300 years old. The PAS usually only records objects that date to 1750 or earlier. The reason for this is that there are so many modern finds less than 300 years old that if we tried to record them all we wouldn’t have enough people or time to record the older objects too! However, if you find something and you are not sure if it is more than 300 years old, you can still take it to your local FLO to find out what it is and check if it can be recorded!

Corroded coinThe modern period produces far more finds than the other periods. This is because this period, or slice of time, is more recent and objects have had less time to rot away in (called corrosion). Also because many more objects were made in the first place. This is because of mass production, which took off during the Industrial Revolution.

The modern period produces far more finds than the other periods. This is because this period, or slice of time, is more recent and objects have had less time to rot away in (called corrosion). Also because many more objects were made in the first place. This is because of mass production, which took off during the Industrial Revolution.

Factory

The Industrial Revolution sounds like a sudden, one-off event, but it was in fact, a series of clever inventions, harnessing of new technology and changes in the way that people worked. Before this, everything was made by hand but during the Industrial Revolution, factories full of steam-powered machines produced lots of things at once (mass production). Canals, and later railways, linked towns and cities together so that food, raw materials and finished goods could be moved more easily and cheaply than before.

Just like in our century, the world changed very, very quickly from about the 1750s to the late 1800s, leading to the technology of the twentieth century and the modern world that we know today.

Raspberry phone Can you imagine a world without computers, mobile phones or games consoles? Well, your parents can! Can you imagine a world without cars and aeroplanes? Well, your grandparents and great grandparents might be able to!

Now think about what kind of world your grandparents great grandparents might have known, when machines that spun wool, made cloth or made steel tools seemed very modern indeed. This was the time of the Industrial Revolution when Britain became modern. This is why archaeologists call the period from 1750 until now, the Modern period.

© The British Museum 2012 | Credits