Britain BC: Life in Britain and Ireland Before the RomansPaperback
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- Publisher: HarperPerennial
- Format: Paperback | 544 pages
- Dimensions: 130mm x 200mm x 38mm | 422g
- Publication date: 30 October 2006
- Publication City/Country: London
- ISBN 10: 000712693X
- ISBN 13: 9780007126934
- Edition: New edition
- Edition statement: Revised ed.
- Illustrations note: 50 b/w illus, 64 col plates (32pp), (4 x 8pp four-colour plate sections), With index
- Sales rank: 75,031
An authoritative and radical rethinking of the history of Ancient Britain and Ancient Ireland, based on remarkable new archaeological finds. British history is traditionally regarded as having started with the Roman Conquest. But this is to ignore half a million years of prehistory that still exert a profound influence. Here Francis Pryor examines the great ceremonial landscapes of Ancient Britain and Ireland - Stonehenge, Seahenge, Avebury and the Bend of the Boyne - as well as the discarded artefacts of day-to-day life, to create an astonishing portrait of our ancestors. This major re-revaluation of pre-Roman Britain, made possible in part by aerial photography and coastal erosion, reveals a much more sophisticated life in Ancient Britain and Ireland than has previously been supposed.
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Dr Francis Pryor, author of the acclaimed 'Seahenge', 'Britain BC', 'Britain AD' and 'Britain in the Middle Ages: An Archaeological History', has spent thirty years studying the prehistory of the Fens. He has excavated sites as diverse as Bronze Age farms and religious sites, field systems and entire Iron Age villages, as well as barrows, 'henges' and a large ceremonial centre dating to 3800 BC. He is President of the Council for British Archaeology, and frequently appears on Channel 4's popular archaeology programme 'Time Team'. In 2003 he wrote and presented a two-part television series on 'Britain BC', and in 2004 made a three-part series on 'Britain AD'.
'Written with pace and passion...immensely readable.' Tom Holland, Daily Telegraph 'It bounds along, wonderfully enlivened by Pryor's earthy enthusiasm. If you want to be introduced painlessly to the fascinating debates surrounding our British past, then "Britain BC" is the book for you.' Barry Cunliffe, New Scientist 'Francis Pryor is a modern field archaeologist with a reputation second to none. He has written a book as successful and exciting as its ambition is huge...lucid and engaging.' Alan Garner, The Times 'There are enough curious facts, contentious theories and bizarre hypotheses here to hold the interest of anyone concerned with the unique and peculiar story of these islands.' Independent on Sunday 'Beautifully written, exciting and extremely good...an essential read.' British Archaeology Praise for Francis Pryor's television series 'Britain BC': 'Fascinating...the evangelical Pryor paints a vivid portrait of pre-Roman society that tackles received wisdom about what was going on here in the Stone, Bronze and Iron ages.' Daily Telegraph 'Pryor leaps about the country at a cracking pace, his big personality making sure we never get bored by the scant and rarefied scraps that are his stock-in-trade.' Observer
As the author of Seahenge, and a regular face on Channel 4's popular Time Team, Francis Pryor is quickly becoming one of Britain's most respected and recognized archaeologists. In this new book he builds on his two-part BBC TV series of the same name to give a comprehensive and compelling overview of how the cultural identities of both Britain and Ireland developed. There's a general misconception that, before to the arrival of the Romans, Britain was a place of wild untamed tribes, united only in their ignorance and barbarity. Yet archaeology is now starting to show that the people who met Caesar's armies were in fact a sophisticated civilization who had as much to lose as gain from subjugation by Rome. Building on the work of Professor Bowen (author of Western Seaways) and Barry Cunliffe (Facing the Ocean), Britain BC looks at the 'personality' of pre-Roman Britain and Ireland and how both nations developed, distinct but not isolated, from mainland Europe. It's a staggering work, covering the period from the separation of the British isles from mainland Europe around 6000 BC to their gradual absorption by the ever-hungry Roman Empire in the first century AD. Here in one epic volume Pryor has pulled together new research and archaeological techniques to present a clear and compelling tale - all highlighted with fascinating aerial photographs. Pryor's skilful narrative has rescued ancient Britain and Ireland from 'the twilight zone' of history and reinstated 'the missing 99 per cent of British history'. This is a sharp, smart and stimulating read. (Kirkus UK)