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Piltdown Man: The Secret Life of Charles Dawson (Revealing History) [Paperback]

Miles Russell
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

1 Dec 2003 Revealing History
The human and animal remains discovered at Piltdown, near Lewes in Sussex almost 100 years ago were at the time hailed as the 'missing link' between ape and man. It was not until 1953 that modern analysis conclusively revealed an ingenious hoax. The perpetrator was almost certainly the antiquarian excavator Charles Dawson who, as Miles Russell shows, was responsible for sixteen other archaeological forgeries during his lifetime.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: The History Press (1 Dec 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0752425722
  • ISBN-13: 978-0752425726
  • Product Dimensions: 2.1 x 17.1 x 24.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 907,753 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dr Miles Russell is a senior lecturer in prehistoric and Roman archaeology at Bournemouth University. He has worked as a field officer and project manager for the UCL Field Archaeology Unit, the Oxford Archaeological Unit and Bournemouth Archaeology on sites across Southern England, Wales, Scotland, the Isle of Man, Germany, Sicily and Russia. He is currently researching prehistoric monumental architecture, archaeological hoaxes and Roman imperial statuary. He is co-director of the Durotriges Project and REGNVM investigating the transition from the Iron Age to Roman period in SW and SE Britain.

Miles is a regular contributor to television and radio, his most recent appearances being in Time Team, Timewatch, The Seven Ages of Britain, Museum Discoveries, Gangsters of Science, Mysteries in the Landscape, the One Show, Digging for Britain and Sacred Wonders of Britain. He is the author of twelve books, including The Piltdown Man Hoax: Case Closed, UnRoman Britain: Exposing the Great Myth of Britannia (with Stuart Laycock), Bloodline: the Celtic Kings of Roman Britain, Roman Sussex, Prehistoric Sussex, Monuments of the British Neolithic: the Roots of Architecture, Flint Mines in Neolithic Britain, Rough Quarries Rocks and Hills, Piltdown Man: the Secret Life of Charles Dawson, Digging Holes in Popular Culture: Archaeology and Science Fiction, and numerous other papers and journal articles.


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A convincing case for the Piltdown Forgeries 10 Feb 2004
By A Customer
Miles's book, which comprehensively and rigorously examines Charles Dawson's antiquarian activities before and after Piltdown, exposes 'Ruhmbegierde' and a determination to deceive on a grander scale than any that had gone before. There appeared to be no pecuniary motive, nor any intention to disclose the deception so as to revel in the discomfiture of the professional 'experts' he had duped. On the contrary, Dawson must have known that exposure in his lifetime would be disastrous to him both as the leading amataur archaeologist and as a practising solicitor and pillar of the local community. He could not have foreseen in 1912 (the year of Piltdown) that he would die within four years: had he lived to be 90 he would have been unmasked in his lifetime.
The question that arises therefore is not whether but why this exremely clever and energetic polymath should have perpetrated such an audacious and calculated fraud. Miles has provided all the clues and you can agree with his conclusions, or even come up with your own theory, from the evidence he has painstakinly assembled as to why the frauds were perpetrated.
Miles records that Charles was the eldest of three sons and began work as a solicitor's clerk at the age of 16, whereas both younger brothers went to University. Hugh had a successful career in the Church, whilst Trevor achieved eminence both in the Navy and big business, was knighted in 1909, and moved in exalted and even royal circles. Miles considers the possibility that Charles was envious of his brothers' relative eminence in their chosen professions, compared with his own modest status as a mere country solicitor with humdrum official roles in the local gas company and building society.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sloppy editor undermines hard work 3 Mar 2012
By aryx - Published on
A lot of work and research has gone into this book about an interesting subject.

However the standard of editing is woefully sloppy and detracts severely from enjoyment of the book and undermines its authority.

Examples: The book is strewn with a ridiculous amount of commas, which pop up in the strangest of places. Also at least twice the word "inferring" is used instead of "implying". At one point the word "culpability" sits in the place of "credulity", making a nonsense of the sentence. In a number of sentences the object and verb do not agree in number. Whatever you may think, these types of error are utterly unacceptable in a professional publication.

I am tempted to give only 2 stars but feel that is harsh, as many of the errors are probably not entirely the fault of the author.
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