Books

The-Prehistory-of-Britain-and-Ireland

Review – The Prehistory of Britain and Ireland

This is a thoroughly revised, weighty second edition, and can be regarded as a companion piece to Richard Bradley’s recently co-authored and more broadly focused The Later Prehistory of North-west Europe (2015). This book concentrates on those few islands on the western fringes, blinking in and out of Europe, and proceeds to examine their history closely.

Personifying-Prehistory

Review – Personifying Prehistory: relational ontologies in Bronze Age Britain and Ireland

Professor Joanna Brück has produced a fresh textbook of the Bronze Age that builds a complex picture of the period from the personal up to the broader landscape in Britain and Ireland. Joanna explores the period through the intricacies of the relationships between people, objects, structures, and landscapes. This contrasts with the standard approach, which focuses on overviews and the ‘bigger picture’, often framed by questions of power and control.

The--Prittlewell-princely-burial

Review – The Prittlewell princely burial: excavations at Priory Crescent, 2003

In 2003, an excavation by MOLA (Museum of London Archaeology) discovered a spectacular Anglo-Saxon burial chamber at Prittlewell, near Southend-on-Sea. Since then, expert analysis of the burial and its contents has indeed yielded a vast array of new information – the result of which is this absorbing monograph, which is packed with insights from the scientific studies that have been undertaken on the finds.

The-Archaeology-of-Roman-York (1)

Review – The Archaeology of Roman York

On this whistle-stop tour of Roman York, Adam Parker gives us a tale of two cities. One is the military fortress, which was established in AD 70 or 71 and would shape the growth of the city long after the Romans left. Then there was the colonia, the civilian settlement that developed on the other side of the river. Over time, it acquired all the necessities of a grand city: public baths, townhouses decorated with mosaics, temples, monumental tombs that lined the roads into the city, and, possibly, an amphitheatre.

Raasay

Review – Raasay: the ACFA archaeological surveys 1995-2009

The Isle of Raasay is in sharp focus in Scottish culture. It is the place whose cleared settlements informed Sorley MacLean’s important Gaelic poem Hallaig. It is the landscape where Calum MacLeod spent ten years in the 1960s and 1970s hand-building a road to keep his community connected.

Torre-Abbey (1)

Review – Torre Abbey, Devon: the archaeology of the Premonstratensian abbey

Torbay will mean only one thing to most people: holidays! In Torre Abbey, however, the area holds a gem of monastic archaeology. The site was founded quite late, in 1196, by the Premonstratensians (reformed Augustinian canons). When it was closed in 1539, its value of almost £400 made it the wealthiest house of the monastic order in England. The site took a standard route after the Dissolution, with the cloister ranges converted into a fine residence for Sir Hugh Pollard.

Warfare,-Raiding,-and-Defence

Review – Warfare, Raiding, and Defence in Early Medieval Britain

They are the biggest relics of their age, and there are more than a hundred of them in Britain, yet because they do not easily fit into the modern view of post-Roman society – stripped of its hordes of rampaging Saxons – linear earthworks, or dykes, have become almost invisible.

The-Beaker-People

Review – The Beaker People: isotopes, mobility, and diet in prehistoric Britain

It was said that astronomy was divided into two: study of the Crab Nebula and the rest. Similarly, in British prehistory, the Beaker Phenomenon with all its expansive bling outshines all others. The last decade has seen an almost nova-like explosion of impressive, Beaker-led, wonderfully illustrated texts, memoirs, and catalogues – notably Woodward and Hunter’s bracer and well-furnished grave (‘bling’) volumes and the Amesbury Archer monograph. Truly our beaker runneth over.

Hadrian's-Wall---history-&-guide

Review – Hadrian’s Wall: history and guide

Anyone visiting Hadrian’s Wall is well advised to take a guidebook. There are many available, but one of the most useful is Guy de la Bédoyère’s handy volume. Though a slim book, it is packed full of detail.