Impressive in every sense, this hugely ambitious and assured book takes as its subject the entire history of the British Isles from the end of the last Ice Age and their physical emergence as islands all the way down to the Norman Conquest. Barry Cunliffe's magisterial narrative is abetted by correspondingly high production values, and whilst complex ideas are explained with admirable clarity, making the book an ideal introduction to Britain's prehistory and early history, there would be plenty here for the most seasoned professional to enjoy and profit from. Cunliffe kicks off with an examination of the ways in which our ancestors have conceived the distant past, from medieval myths to the dawn of modern archaeology. The remainder of the book is roughly chronological in structure. Prominent themes include the 'problem of origins', where Cunliffe's own research has been of such significance (the Celtic from the west hypothesis is synthesised here with concision and flair), and the importance of communication, connectivity and cultural transmission is emphasised throughout, with the Channel, the Atlantic and the North Sea seen as highways linking Britain and Ireland to the continent and building up an ongoing narrative which is anything but narrowly insular.
The last Ice Age, which came to an end about 12,000 years ago, swept the bands of hunter gatherers from the face of the land that was to become Britain and Ireland, but as the ice sheets retreated and the climate improved so human groups spread slowly northwards, re-colonizing the land that had been laid waste. From that time onwards Britain and Ireland have been continuously inhabited and the resident population has increased from a few hundreds to more than 60 million. Britain Begins is nothing less than the story of the origins of the British and the Irish peoples, from around 10,000BC to the eve of the Norman Conquest. Using the most up to date archaeological evidence together with new work on DNA and other scientific techniques which help us to trace the origins and movements of these early settlers, Barry Cunliffe offers a rich narrative account of the first islanders - who they were, where they came from, and how they interacted one with another. Underlying this narrative throughout is the story of the sea, which allowed the islanders and their continental neighbours to be in constant contact. The story told by the archaeological evidence, in later periods augmented by historical texts, satisfies our need to know who we are and where we come from. But before the development of the discipline of archaeology, people used what scraps there were, gleaned from Biblical and classical texts, to create a largely mythological origin for the British. Britain Begins also explores the development of these early myths, which show our ancestors attempting to understand their origins. And, as Cunliffe shows, today's archaeologists are driven by the same desire to understand the past - the only real difference is that we have vastly more evidence to work with.
Britain has been inhabited by humans for over half a million years, during which time there were a great many changes in lifestyles and in the surrounding landscape. This book, now in its second edition, examines the development of human societies in Britain from earliest times to the Roman conquest of AD 43, as revealed by archaeological evidence. Special attention is given to six themes which are traced through prehistory: subsistence, technology, ritual, trade, society, and population. Prehistoric Britain begins by introducing the background to prehistoric studies in Britain, presenting it in terms of the development of interest in the subject and the changes wrought by new techniques such as radiocarbon dating, and new theories, such as the emphasis on social archaeology. The central sections trace the development of society from the hunter-gatherer groups of the last Ice Age, through the adoption of farming, the introduction of metalworking, and on to the rise of highly organized societies living on the fringes of the mighty Roman Empire in the 1st century AD. Throughout, emphasis is given to documenting and explaining changes within these prehistoric communities, and to exploring the regional variations found in Britain. In this way the wealth of evidence that can be seen in the countryside and in our museums is placed firmly in its proper context. It concludes with a review of the effects of prehistoric communities on life today. With over 120 illustrations, this is a unique review of Britain's ancient past as revealed by modern archaeology. The revisions and updates to Prehistoric Britain ensure that this will continue to be the most comprehensive and authoritative account of British prehistory for those students and interested readers studying the subject.
Fierce warriors and skilled craftsmen, the Celts were famous throughout the Ancient Mediterranean World. They were the archetypal barbarians from the north and were feared by both Greeks and Romans. For two and a half thousand years they have continued to fascinate those who have come into contact with them, yet their origins have remained a mystery and even today are the subject of heated debate among historians and archaeologists. Barry Cunliffe's classic study of the ancient Celtic world was first published in 1997. Since then huge advances have taken place in our knowledge: new finds, new ways of using DNA records to understand Celtic origins, new ideas about the proto-urban nature of early chieftains' strongholds. All these developments are part of this fully updated, and completely redesigned edition. Cunliffe explores the archaeological reality of these bold warriors and skilled craftsmen of barbarian Europe who inspired fear in both the Greeks and the Romans. He investigates the texts of the classical writers and contrasts their view of the Celts with current archaeological findings. Tracing the emergence of chiefdoms and the fifth- to third-century migrations as far as Bosnia and the Czech Republic, he assesses the disparity between the traditional story and the most recent historical and archaeological evidence on the Celts. Other aspects of Celtic identity such as the cultural diversity of the tribes, their social and religious systems, art, language and law, are also examined. From the picture that emerges, we are - crucially - able to distinguish between the original Celts, and those tribes which were "Celtized," giving us an invaluable insight into the true identity of this ancient people.
Sited at the furthest limits of the Neolithic revolution and standing at the confluence of the two great sea routes of prehistory, Britain and Ireland are distinct from continental Europe for much of the prehistoric sequence. In this landmark 2007 study - the first significant survey of the archaeology of Britain and Ireland for twenty years - Richard Bradley offers an interpretation of the unique archaeological record of these islands based on a wealth of current and largely unpublished data. Bradley surveys the entire archaeological sequence over a 4,000 year period, from the adoption of agriculture in the Neolithic period to the discovery of Britain and Ireland by travellers from the Mediterranean during the later pre-Roman Iron Age. Significantly, this is the first modern account to treat Britain and Ireland on equal terms, offering a detailed interpretation of the prehistory of both islands.
The Mediterranean and the Atlantic from Prehistory to AD 1500
Author: Sir Barry Cunliffe
Publisher: Oxford University Press
For humans the sea is, and always has been, an alien environment. Ever moving and ever changing in mood, it is a place without time, in contrast to the land which is fixed and scarred by human activity giving it a visible history. While the land is familiar, even reassuring, the sea is unknown and threatening. By taking to the sea humans put themselves at its mercy. It has often been perceived to be an alien power teasing and cajoling. The sea may give but it takes. Why, then, did humans become seafarers? Part of the answer is that we are conditioned by our genetics to be acquisitive animals: we like to acquire rare materials and we are eager for esoteric knowledge, and society rewards us well for both. Looking out to sea most will be curious as to what is out there - a mysterious island perhaps but what lies beyond? Our innate inquisitiveness drives us to explore. Barry Cunliffe looks at the development of seafaring on the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, two contrasting seas -- the Mediterranean without a significant tide, enclosed and soon to become familiar, the Atlantic with its frightening tidal ranges, an ocean without end. We begin with the Middle Palaeolithic hunter gatherers in the eastern Mediterranean building simple vessels to make their remarkable crossing to Crete and we end in the early years of the sixteenth century with sailors from Spain, Portugal and England establishing the limits of the ocean from Labrador to Patagonia. The message is that the contest between humans and the sea has been a driving force, perhaps the driving force, in human history.
By Steppe, Desert, and Ocean is nothing less than the story of how humans first started building the globalized world we know today. Set on a huge continental stage, from Europe to China, it is a tale covering over 10,000 years, from the origins of farming around 9000 BC to the expansion of the Mongols in the thirteenth century AD. An unashamedly 'big history', it charts the development of European, Near Eastern, and Chinesecivilizations and the growing links between them by way of the Indian Ocean, the silk Roads, and the great steppe corridor (which crucially allowed horse riders to travel from Mongolia to the Great Hungarian Plainwithin a year). Along the way, it is also the story of the rise and fall of empires, the development of maritime trade, and the shattering impact of predatory nomads on their urban neighbours. Above all, as this immense historical panorama unfolds, we begin to see in clearer focus those basic underlying factors - the acquisitive nature of humanity, the differing environments in which people live, and the dislocating effect of even slight climatic variation - which havedriven change throughout the ages, and which help us better understand our world today.
Domesday Book is the most famous English public record, and it is probably the most remarkable statistical document in the history of Europe. It calls itself merely a descriptio and it acquired its name in the following century because its authority seemed comparable to that of the Book by which one day all will be judged (Revelation 20:12). It is not surprising that so many scholars have felt its fascination, and have discussed again and again what it says about economic, social and legal matters. But it also tells us much about the countryside of the eleventh century, and the present volume is the seventh of a series concerned with this geographical information. As the final volume, it seeks to sum up the main features of the Domesday geography of England as a whole, and to reconstruct, as far as the materials allow, the scene which King William's clerks saw as they made their great inquest.
Written into our facial features is a story going back generations. It is the story of who we are and where we are from - the history of Britain through war and conquest, migration and racial integration. The Channel 4 series, Face of Britain, begins with the largest ever research project into the genetic make-up of the British public. The Welcome Trust has given a £2million grant to Oxford geneticist Sir Walter Bodmer to take DNA samples from hundreds of volunteers throughout Britain and find tell-tale fragments of DNA that reveal the biological traces of successive waves of colonisers - Celts, Saxons, Vikings, etc. - in various parts of Britain. These traces in part determine our facial features. In effect, this project will produce a genetic map of our islands revealing where today's Cornish or East Anglians originally came from. The project is unique in that it uses cutting edge technology to question our accepted notions of our history. Added to this, the series and the book will meld science, history and personal stories to investigate our linguistic history, our surnames and placenames and compare findings with the results of the Bodmer study. Face of Britain will be a launch pad to explore Britain's earliest history while investigating why we look the way we do.
The Struggle for the Skies from the First World War to the Battle of Britain
Author: Peter Townsend
Dogfights in the sky, ruthless political maneuvers, legendary heroes of the air like Richthofen (the "Red Baron") and Douglas Bader, this book combines all of these colorful, dramatic, and evocative accounts of the furious air conflicts that saved Britain from German invasion.
From the best-selling author of The Seven Daughters of Eve, a perfect book for anyone interested in the genetic history of Britain, Ireland, and America. One of the world's leading geneticists, Bryan Sykes has helped thousands find their ancestry in the British Isles. Saxons, Vikings, and Celts, which resulted from a systematic ten-year DNA survey of more than 10,000 volunteers, traces the true genetic makeup of the British Isles and its descendants, taking readers from the Pontnewydd cave in North Wales to the resting place of the Red Lady of Paviland and the tomb of King Arthur. This illuminating guide provides a much-needed introduction to the genetic history of the people of the British Isles and their descendants throughout the world.
A lively and authoritative investigation into the lives of our ancestors, based on the revolution in the field of Bronze Age archaeology which has been taking place in Norfolk and the Fenlands over the last twenty years, and in which the author has played a central role.
James Coleman has emerged in recent years as one of the most important artists of visual postmodernism. His work has transformed critical debates about the status of the image in contemporary culture and influenced an entire generation of younger artists in ways that have not yet been fully acknowledged. Until recently, Coleman has enjoyed relatively little critical attention - in part because of his refusal to comment on his projects or to allow his work to be reconstructed outside of the context of its exhibition.
Analyzing the history and memory of migrant journeys, covering not only the response of politicians and the public but also literary and artistic representations, then and now, Kushner's volume sheds new light on the nature and construction of Britishness from the early modern era onwards.
This splendid and timely book will be invaluable to those visiting the battlefields, sites, museums, memorials and cemeteries of France and Belgium. It is intended for those planning and leading school groups and similar parties but is also ideal for individual/family visitors.??Rather than list every site etc it provides realistic itineraries to the best places in the two major areas of the Somme and Ypres. Even these are flexible to allow party leaders suitable discretion.??The author provides helpful information for each site such as its context in the War, visitor orientation, the 'spiel' (the essential facts to engage, inform and entertain), suggested activity and relevant photos and maps.??This combines to make every visit of maximum benefit and interest and yet reduce the workload of the party leaders.??There are also valuable tips for lunch breaks, free time ideas and other helpful pointers.
History records only one peaceful transition of hegemonic power: the passage from British to American dominance of the international order. To explain why this transition was nonviolent, Kori Schake explores nine points of crisis between Britain and the U.S., from the Monroe Doctrine to the unequal “special relationship” during World War II.