Iron Age Communities in Britain: An Account of England, Scotland and Wales from the Seventh Century BC until the Roman Conquest

Iron Age Communities in Britain: An Account of England, Scotland and Wales from the Seventh Century BC until the Roman Conquest

Iron Age Communities in Britain: An Account of England, Scotland and Wales from the Seventh Century BC until the Roman Conquest

Iron Age Communities in Britain: An Account of England, Scotland and Wales from the Seventh Century BC until the Roman Conquest

Synopsis

Since its first publication in 1971, Barry Cunliffe's monumental survey has established itself as a classic of British archaeology. This fully revised fourth edition maintains the qualities of the earlier editions, whilst taking into account the significant developments that have moulded the discipline in recent years. Barry Cunliffe here incorporates new theoretical approaches, technological advances and a range of new sites and finds, ensuring that Iron Age Communities in Britain remains the definitive guide to the subject.

Excerpt

The preparation of this fourth edition of Iron Age Communities has been no mean task. Since the third edition was written fourteen years ago Iron Age scholarship has continued to develop vigorously, generating a flood of new publications ranging from definitive reports of large-scale excavations and major corpora to critical overviews and conference proceedings. In all about 800 publications of varying length and significance have had to be considered, and of these some 380 have been added to the bibliography. Most of the publications are reports of fieldwork and excavation resulting, increasingly, from rescue work in advance of development, and this is only a fraction of what has actually been undertaken and remains unpublished in the 'grey literature' of reports to developers. This exponential growth in data is to be welcomed but it does bring with it problems of selection. To keep this book within reasonable bounds of size many sites which could justly claim to be informative have had to be omitted. The sites specifically referred to here, and listed with principal references in Appendix C, are only a small selection of those available in publication, but they do, I believe, include all the major discoveries upon which our knowledge of Iron Age society is founded.

The first edition of this book was conceived in 1969, written in 1971 and published three years later. Over the last thirty years or so our perceptions of the past have changed dramatically. In the late 1960s we were trying to rid ourselves of old 'invasionist' models which explained change in terms of incoming waves of marauders. In more recent years there have been attempts to get into the minds of the Iron Age communities in hope of being able to view the world as they perceived it. Thus, in the literature, 'invaders' and 'defences' have given way to 'agency' and 'cosmologies'-fashions change as the study advances. No doubt in thirty years' time future generations of archaeologists will look with mild amusement at our current preoccupations. Yet behind it all lies a rapidly growing base of solid data and it is this, or more correctly a selection of it, that forms the core of this book.

I have retained the broad structure of the text much as it was in the third edition but have made a number of readjustments, particularly to the chapters dealing with regional groupings (chapters 4 and 5), and have now treated the settlement patterns in western and northern Britain in separate chapters (chapters 13 and 14). Throughout, new material has been included, usually as additions but sometimes replacing older texts. To prevent the book from becoming too unwieldy, space has been saved by omitting the accretion of old prefaces, on the grounds of their being an unnecessary self-indulgence, and by leaving out the lists of radiocarbon dates which, to

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