Ingenious! The Making of England

Discover the people, objects and historic places that shaped England's story of human ingenuity, from our prehistoric ancestors all the way through to the 21st century.

Follow @EnglishHeritage on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use the hashtag #Ingenious to share your stories with us.

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Ingenious Objects

We're shining a light on some of the ingenious objects that we care for at our historic places and giving you the chance to vote for the best invention in history.

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Map of ingenious places

Find Places to visit

Discover the places where the story of human ingenuity comes to life. Explore the prehistoric monuments built by our ancestors, and follow the story of England right through to the 21st Century at Dover's Secret Wartime tunnels and York's Cold War Bunker. Use our interactive map to find an place to visit near you, and start planning your next adventure. 

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  • Wartime tunnels at Dover Castle

    Secret Wartime Tunnels at Dover Castle

    Dover Castle is the site of a Roman lighthouse, a great medieval fortress, and the underground command centre that controlled the evacuation of troops from Dunkirk in 1940.

  • Extensive and detailed remains of the latrines

    Housesteads Roman Fort

    Step back in time to the days of the Roman Empire. Wander the barrack blocks and the hospital, and peer into the oldest toilets you'll ever see with examples of Roman sanitation.

  • The 9-metre ladder descending to the bottom of Pit 1, the only flint mine open to visitors in the UK

    Grime's Graves - Prehistoric Flint Mine

    The only Neolithic flint mine open to visitors in Britain, this grassy lunar landscape of 400 pits was originally dug over 5,000 years ago and later named Grim's Graves by the Anglo-Saxons.

  • The house from the east, looking over the parterre. The parterre was restored by English Heritage between 1985 and 1993

    Audley End House and Gardens

    An early example of domestic technologies such as central heating, flushing toilets and piped hot water, with grounds designed by innovative landscape architect Capability Brown.

World War II Event at Pendennis

Take part in our events

See thousands of years of innovation come to life at our events across England. Step back in time to experience invention and innovation through the ages, from ancient technology demonstrations at Stonehenge to the pioneering days of modern technology.

See all events

Discover Our Ingenious History

Girl in a 360 simulation of Stonehenge

Quiz - Are you ingenious enough to survive through the ages?

Throughout 2017, we're exploring how human ingenuity has shaped history and the modern world, from the first Neolithic tools to modern medicine, warfare and domestic technology.

Explore the articles below to brush up your knowledge on history's invention and innovations. Then try the How Ingenious Are You? quiz to see if you can smart your way from Neolithic England through the Roman, Medieval and Victorian periods. Will you make it all the way to the 20th Century?

Take the Quiz

 Timeline of Human Ingenuity

About 4000 BCNeolithic miners dig deep for flint

From earliest times people used flint to make tools, but from about 4000 BC Neolithic miners were beginning to mine to reach the higher quality flint that was found underground. Around 4,500 years ago over 400 pits were dug at Grime's Graves in Norfolk - the only Neolithic flint mine in Britain now open to visitors.

Image: © Historic England Photo Library

Find out more about Neolithic ingenuity

About 2500 BCRaising the stone circle at Stonehenge

Monuments like Stonehenge reveal the sophisticated building techniques of our Neolithic ancestors. Transporting the stones to the site, raising the stone circle and erecting Stonehenge's unique trilithons involved great engineering ability as well as organisational skill.

More about building Stonehenge

Prehistoric Ingenuity

Travel back to a time before written records to discover one of the most significant turning points in all human history. See our ancient crafters and experts bring some of the first feats of ingenuity to life on our YouTube channel.

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