HomeHome: A Time  Traveller’s Tales from  Britain’s Prehistory
Francis Pryor
Allen Lane, £20.00
ISBN 978-1846144875

‘Archaeology is about the past  as experienced by ordinary  people,’ writes Francis Pryor.  Arguing that the past is too  often approached from the top  down, focusing on monarchs  and political events, he makes  the case for a greater emphasis  on social history, and, above all,  on the importance of the family.

It is an account as warm and  funny as it is informative, with  research news and anecdotes  about site visits interwoven  with episodes from Francis’s  own life. Having worked in  archaeology for decades, and  written about prehistory for  15 years — as well as serving as  president of the Council for  British Archaeology, and on the  Prehistoric Society’s council —  Francis is well placed to discuss  how perceptions of the past  have changed.

These are changes both in  terms of leaps in knowledge —  in the time he has been writing  books, evidence for Britain’s  earliest humans has been  pushed back from c.600,000  years ago to over 1 million — and  in public understanding. At the  start of his career, Francis says,  people often assumed excavations  only happened in exotic  locations, but today — post-Time  Team — archaeologists field  questions about ‘geofizz’.

Review by Carly Hilts

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