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The island was formed at the end of the last Ice Age, about 8–9000 years ago, as sea levels rose, and the land of southern Britain sunk due to the post-glacial rebound of the north that had been under the ice.
This flooded the former river valley of the Solent to the north, and the future English Channel to the south, and cut Wight off from the island of Britain.
Bronze Age Britain had large reserves of tin from mining in Cornwall and Devon. At that time the sea level was much lower, and so tin for export could be brought across the Solent at low tide on carts, or possibly on boats such as those found at Ferriby.
A shortage of tin during the Bronze Age collapse and trade disruptions in the Mediterranean around 1300 BCE may have forced metalworkers to seek an alternative to bronze.
referring to the future emperor Vespasian, who "proceeded to Britain where he fought thirty battles, subjugated two warlike tribes, and captured more than twenty towns, besides the entire Isle of Vectis". A gloss on an 1164 manuscript of Nennius equates Old English wiht with Latin divorcium, which has encouraged writers to think that the island sits like a lever (Latin vectis) between the two arms of the Solent.
The word could be Brittonic, from a Celtic root akin to Irish fecht "journey" and Welsh gwaith "work".
A detailed study in 2010 draws attention to the Proto-Germanic word *wextiz, which would have been Vectis in Latin, and survives in various modern-language forms, including Modern English whit "something small" (English wight is considered a revival from Middle English), German wicht "dwarf, imp", Dutch wicht "little girl" and Norwegian vette "being, creature (especially supernatural)".
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