ⓘ History of Somerset
Somerset is a historic county in the south west of England. There is evidence of human occupation since prehistoric times with hand axes and flint points from the Palaeolithic and Mesolithic eras, and a range of burial mounds, hill forts and other artefacts dating from the Neolithic, Bronze and Iron Ages. The oldest dated human road work in Great Britain is the Sweet Track, constructed across the Somerset Levels with wooden planks in the 39th century BCE.
After the Roman Empire invasion in the South of UK, mining of lead and silver in the Mendip is the basis for local industry and trade. Bath became the site of a major Roman fortress, the remains of which can still be seen. During the early middle Ages Somerset was the scene of a battle between Anglo-Saxons and the Britons and later the Danes. During this period he was under the power first of the various kings of Wessex and later of the kings of England. After the defeat of the Anglo-Saxon monarchy by the Normans in 1066, castles were built in Somerset.
Population growth and settlements in the County continued during the Tudor and later periods. Agriculture and coal mining expanded until the 18th century, although other industries declined during the industrial revolution. In modern times the population has grown, especially in coastal cities, particularly in Weston-super-Mare. Agriculture remains a major if not the major employer because of mechanization. Light industry is located in towns such as Bridgwater and Yeovil. Taunton and Shepton mallet manufacture cider, although the area under Apple orchards is less than it was before.