Books

Glass-Vessels

Review – The Glass Vessels of Anglo-Saxon England, c.AD 650-1100

This book presents the first ever national survey of all 2,847 fragments of glass vessels known in England dating from the 7th to 11th centuries. Beyond simply recording these fragments, Rose Broadley quantifies and compares different vessel types and analyses their geographical distribution, presenting a new insight into both glass vessels and life in the Middle Anglo-Saxon period.

Vikings

Review – Vikings: a history of the Northmen

In his introduction, W B Bartlett denies he is making any attempt to write a ‘definitive history’ of the great sweep of the Viking Age. Instead, his aim is simply to explore some of the key events and figures involved. But, despite this modest framing, he has achieved a wide-ranging and very informative overview of this eventful period of history – and an interesting read, too.

Anglian-York

Review – Anglian York

Ailsa Mainman’s Anglian York encapsulates the allure and the frustration of researching this period in the city. Following the near silence of the 5th and 6th centuries, York blossoms from the 600s in written sources, emerging as the ecclesiastical heart of Northumbria, the 8th-century home of Alcuin and his precious library, and finally the thriving, tempting, high-status target for the 9th-century Viking army. But, archaeologically, York from c.410 to c.850 remains highly fragmentary and elusive.

The-Lost-Shrine

Review – The Lost Shrine

Archaeological sleuths Clare Hills, David Barbrook, and Margaret Bockford return in Nicola Ford’s cleverly constructed crime novel, a sequel to The Hidden Bones (see CA 340). This latter book featured a research dig on a barrow cemetery, but its successor dives into the world of commercial archaeology.

Small-Change

Review – Small Change: a history of everyday coinage

The production and use of coinage are closely tied to many other aspects of social history, as is demonstrated in this accessible and engaging book. Focusing on smaller denominations, both those produced officially and the ingenious local responses to a lack of small change, it presents an overview of the development of money around the world, before discussing the story in Britain in detail.

Mons-Graupius

Review – The Romans in Scotland and the Battle of Mons Graupius

This book offers an alternative view on the well-trodden path of attempting to identify the site of the fabled last stand of the Caledonii. Offering a new analysis of the earliest Roman invasion, Forder re-examines the extent of the occupation, arguing that the dating of some sites is flawed, and suggesting possible locations for the battle.

Living-off-the-Land

Review – Living off the Land: agriculture in Wales c.400-1600 AD

This important publication is the first study of medieval agriculture in Wales to be produced in many years, and as such offers a valuable contribution to a subject that has been far less comprehensively written about than it has in England and Ireland. It sheds more light on the relationship between agricultural development and wider social and political change in Wales during this period.

Brick

Review – Brick: a social history

In England we are so surrounded by brick, much of our cities and towns being built out if it, that we are in danger of taking it entirely for granted. Carolyne Haynes’ delightful paperback book sets out to change this. She introduces the reader to the joys and intricacies of English brickwork, and most particularly to some of the stories behind those who made it.

Mudlarking

Review – Mudlarking: lost and found on the River Thames

The tidal reach of the River Thames is the longest archaeological site in Britain, its rhythmically rising and falling waters exposing a wealth of material spanning millennia of human activity along its banks. For the last decade, thousands of features and objects have been recorded by the Thames Discovery Programme and its volunteers – but people have also been exploring the foreshore and its finds on a more informal basis for centuries.

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