Amberley Publishing, £14.99
Review Lorraine Mepham
One of several books recently published celebrating the work of the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS), this follows the popular format of using individual objects to tell a larger story. The author had more than 43,000 objects to choose from, reported over the last 18 years. The objects are arranged chronologically, and are well illustrated. The inevitable concentration on metalwork (particularly coins) means that the earlier prehistoric periods are more sparsely represented, but some non-PAS finds are included to flesh out the record.
And what a record it is, from a Lower Palaeolithic hand-axe to a George V florin in the process of being fashioned into a finger ring. In between there are rare treasures – delicate Bronze Age gold jewellery, an Anglo-Saxon Byzantine bucket – and mysteries too. What was a hoard of over 7,000 coins issued by Louis XIV in 1711 doing under the floorboards of a shop in Bishop’s Waltham? Each object tells its own story, but the overall narrative is one of a county in close contact with the Continent from a very early date.
This review appeared in CA 333.