Ancient Britain

Ancient Britain

Ancient Britain

Ancient Britain

Synopsis

This book is for anyone starting out to understand the prehistoric life of Britain from the first human occupation 450,000 years ago, until the Roman conquest in AD 43.James Dyer here succeeds in bringing to life a thriving picture of the people and customs of the Stone, Bronze and Iron Ages, based on the sometimes sparse clues presented by prehistoric archaeological sites across Britain. For many readers, Ancient Britain will provide the first chance to get to grips with the present state of our knowledge of prehistoric agriculture, settlement, trade and ritual.The rise of power, with the development of a class system at the hands of the first metal users, is charted through to the growth of wealth and the emergence of a warlike and advanced Iron Age society - a society that was nonetheless unable to withstand the might of Rome.With over 130 illustrations and photographs, including a number of specially drawn reconstructions, this highly visual book is an ideal primer for all students of prehistory and all those who are simply interested in the subject.

Excerpt

This book is for the layman, seeking a first introduction to the story of Britain before the Roman conquest. When I first began to take an interest in prehistory in my early teens the choice of books available to me was limited. There were a number of detailed studies by professional prehistorians like Gordon Childe and Christopher Hawkes but few introductory volumes for those taking their first steps into the subject. Prehistoric Britain by Jacquetta and Christopher Hawkes was a fine introduction, supplemented on methodology by Graham Clarke’s Archaeology and Society. the book that had the greatest influence in my formative years was Stuart Piggott’s British Prehistory, and it has seldom been far from my mind in producing this new volume. Piggott had the knack of telling his story in a way that appealed to schoolboy, student, layman and university don alike. He reminded us continually that prehistory is about people, and that whilst our vocabulary is dominated by monuments and artefacts, behind those words were people with emotions and feelings as real as ours. By the very nature of its evidence prehistory is stifled by thousands of unknown factors that we can never hope to retrieve. We may describe flint mines or burial mounds but we are rarely able to see what really took place there. For example, archaeology allows us few glimpses of prehistoric childhood with its toys and games, entertainment with music and singing, leisure spent in sporting activities or with loved ones and pets, or sickness with its medical care and herbal remedies. in this book I have presented an outline of the story of our island’s first inhabitants. It is for the reader to fill in the flesh and blood; I have tried to give the clues where they exist. It is not the story of great lives and deeds: that is the realm of history. It is a simple account of our state of knowledge of life in Britain before the arrival of the Romans in ad 43.

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