Britain has been inhabited by humans for over half a million years, during which time there were a great many changes in lifestyles and in the surrounding landscape. This book, now in its second edition, examines the development of human societies in Britain from earliest times to the Roman conquest of AD 43, as revealed by archaeological evidence. Special attention is given to six themes which are traced through prehistory: subsistence, technology, ritual, trade, society, and population. Prehistoric Britain begins by introducing the background to prehistoric studies in Britain, presenting it in terms of the development of interest in the subject and the changes wrought by new techniques such as radiocarbon dating, and new theories, such as the emphasis on social archaeology. The central sections trace the development of society from the hunter-gatherer groups of the last Ice Age, through the adoption of farming, the introduction of metalworking, and on to the rise of highly organized societies living on the fringes of the mighty Roman Empire in the 1st century AD. Throughout, emphasis is given to documenting and explaining changes within these prehistoric communities, and to exploring the regional variations found in Britain. In this way the wealth of evidence that can be seen in the countryside and in our museums is placed firmly in its proper context. It concludes with a review of the effects of prehistoric communities on life today. With over 120 illustrations, this is a unique review of Britain's ancient past as revealed by modern archaeology. The revisions and updates to Prehistoric Britain ensure that this will continue to be the most comprehensive and authoritative account of British prehistory for those students and interested readers studying the subject.
The momentum provided by ongoing fieldwork and innovative archaeological interpretation is pushing British prehistory to the forefront of contemporary archaeological research. "Prehistoric Britain" taps into and incorporates the very latest archaeological findings to provide a fascinating overview of the development of human societies in Britain from the Upper Palaeolithic to the end of the Iron Age. Breaking free of the constraints of traditional, period-based narratives, "Prehistoric Britain" offers readers an incisive synthesis and much-needed overview of current research themes. The book presents a series of essays from leading scholars and professionals who address the very latest trends in current research. Drawing upon original, innovative fieldwork and in-depth analysis, "Prehistoric Britain" provides a thorough examination of the issues central to the study of British prehistory.
Sited at the furthest limits of the Neolithic revolution and standing at the confluence of the two great sea routes of prehistory, Britain and Ireland are distinct from continental Europe for much of the prehistoric sequence. In this landmark 2007 study - the first significant survey of the archaeology of Britain and Ireland for twenty years - Richard Bradley offers an interpretation of the unique archaeological record of these islands based on a wealth of current and largely unpublished data. Bradley surveys the entire archaeological sequence over a 4,000 year period, from the adoption of agriculture in the Neolithic period to the discovery of Britain and Ireland by travellers from the Mediterranean during the later pre-Roman Iron Age. Significantly, this is the first modern account to treat Britain and Ireland on equal terms, offering a detailed interpretation of the prehistory of both islands.
This book provides a bird's eye look at the monumental achievements of Britain's earliest inhabitants. Arranged thematically, it illustrates and describes a wide selection of archaeological sites and landscapes dating from between 500,000 years ago and the Roman conquest. Timothy Darvill brings to life many of the familiar sites and monuments that prehistoric communities built, and exposes to view many thousands of sites that simply cannot be seen at ground level. Throughout the book, he makes a unique application of social archaeology to the field of aerial photography.
From spit roasting pig to hanging cream cheese from the rafters, from baking roast pork under the ground in pits to cooking trout on wicker frames over an open fire, cooking techniques in prehistoric Britain are ingenious and revealing. There were no ovens and many vegetables and breeds of animal familiar to us today had not yet arrived. In reconstructing some of these techniques and recipes, the author has discovered a different world, with a completely different approach to food. This is native cuisine, cooked in a manner that persisted through the Neolithic, Bronze and Iron Ages. This book first tells the story of prehistoric settlement, and moves on to explore the hunting and foraging techniques of the Mesolithic. After discussing the way in which the Britons farmed, and what they grew, the book moves into the roundhouse and the tools and utensils available. The final half of the book examines the varied techniques used, from covering fish in clay, to baking meat underground, spit roasting, brewing mead, boiling water with hot stones and so on. All the techniques have been carried out by the author.
Do prehistoric stone monuments in Britain and Ireland incorporate deliberate astronomical alignments, and if so, what is their purpose and meaning? Here, for the first time this topic, a subject of long-standing controversy between astronomers and archaeologists, is approached from a perspective that incorporates both disciplines. The author establishes the importance of studies of astronomy in the context of broader questions of cosmology, ideology, and cognition that are of central interest to prehistorians at the beginning of the twenty-first century. He also makes clear the necessity of multi-disciplinary perspectives in tackling problems of this nature.
Emphasizing past gains in knowledge from experimental, aerial and field archaeology, Dr Fowler demonstrates how the application of archaeological approaches to agrarian history has made the subject central to our understanding of the prehistoric period. Emphasizing past gains in knowledge from experimental, aerial and field archaeology, Dr Fowler demonstrates how the application of archaeological approaches to agrarian history has made the subject central to our understanding of the prehistoric period.
FRANCIS PRYOR - regular contributor on Channel 4's Time Team and the man behind the Britain BC and Britain AD television series - maintains that early farming in Britain has been largely misunderstood, due to a loss of contact with the countryside and failure to understand prehistoric farming methods.To redress this problem, this book reconstructs the lives of prehistoric farmers, with the author drawing on his academic research and practical experience, as a professional farmer, to provide details on crop cultivation and flock management.Pryor also shows how, in the millennium leading up to about 700 BC, certain areas of lowland England developed an intensive style of livestock rearing. The success of these prehistoric 'agri-businesses' made many communities extremely prosperous - so prosperous that they were able to bequeath fabulously valuable objects of bronze, iron or even gold to the world of their ancestors. This they did by carefully placing their wealth within rivers, lakes and meres.
" . . . a stimulting book which no serious student of British Prehistory can afford to ignore." Archaeological Review " It is essential reading for all scholars. Personally I found the first half of the book so authoritative and stimulating that it was impossible not to read it in a single sitting." The London Archaeologist " A stimulating personal essay . . . throws light on major features of the British archaeological record." New Books on Archaeology
Pottery has become one of the major categories of artefact that is used in reconstructing the lives and habits of prehistoric people. In these 14 papers, members of the Prehistoric Ceramics Research Group discuss the many ways in which pottery is used to study chronology, behavioural changes, inter-relationships between people and between people and their environment, technology and production, exchange, settlement organisation, cultural expression, style and symbolism.
Infrared absorption spectroscopy is able to pinpoint the source of British Prehistoric amber, here shown by analysis of all surviving finds to be predominantly Baltic. This leads on to a discussion of British amber in a European context, and of its particular significance as a social indicator, and as an item of trade or exchange. Complete with catalogue, analyses, drawings. 231p with figs. (Oxbow Monograph 8, 1991) Pb
As the word "prehistoric" has no limitation in the past history of the country, it logically follows that a treatise on "Prehistoric Britain" would have an equally wide range; but by a judicious discretion we limit the scope of this book to the period during which man was an inhabitant of Western Europe, prior to the invention of written records. But the Britain of that early period differed widely from the Britain of to-day both in climate and geographical area, and to some extent in its flora and fauna. Consequently our first duty is to describe with as much precision as modern researches will admit of, but very briefly, the physical conditions which obtained in prehistoric Britain when it comes within the above-defined scope of the present work. From this standpoint we have practically to discuss the entire field of the development of human civilization, as disclosed by the remains of Palæolithic and Neolithic races, both of which, have left traces of their existence within the British area. On the other hand, the pre-history of our island, outside the limitation imposed on it by the appearance of man on the scene, goes back to the dawn of life on the globe; and it is largely to the modifications effected under the influence of cosmic agencies during this infinitely longer period that the country became a suitable habitat for Homo sapiens. A few preliminary words on this aspect of the subject will not, therefore, be considered out of place, as thereby the true starting-point of our main thesis will be brought into clearer relief. As we cannot endorse the opinion long held as a dogma in theological cosmogonies, that the multitudinous phenomena of the material world—the distribution of land and water, the evolution of plants and animals, the recurrence of seasons, etc.—were specially designed to minister to the welfare of man- kind, we are bound to account for them on some other hypothesis. On this point all we affirm is that they were the outcome of the fixed laws which then governed, and still govern, the universe. Evidence in support of this conclusion is not far to seek. In the Geological and Palæontological records we have ample details of the successive changes the earth has undergone since it cooled down sufficiently to admit of organic life on its surface.
Warfare in Prehistoric Britain explores the dark shadow of war which has hung over humanity for centuries
Impressive in every sense, this hugely ambitious and assured book takes as its subject the entire history of the British Isles from the end of the last Ice Age and their physical emergence as islands all the way down to the Norman Conquest. Barry Cunliffe's magisterial narrative is abetted by correspondingly high production values, and whilst complex ideas are explained with admirable clarity, making the book an ideal introduction to Britain's prehistory and early history, there would be plenty here for the most seasoned professional to enjoy and profit from. Cunliffe kicks off with an examination of the ways in which our ancestors have conceived the distant past, from medieval myths to the dawn of modern archaeology. The remainder of the book is roughly chronological in structure. Prominent themes include the 'problem of origins', where Cunliffe's own research has been of such significance (the Celtic from the west hypothesis is synthesised here with concision and flair), and the importance of communication, connectivity and cultural transmission is emphasised throughout, with the Channel, the Atlantic and the North Sea seen as highways linking Britain and Ireland to the continent and building up an ongoing narrative which is anything but narrowly insular.