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Unearthing London: The Ancient World Beneath the Metropolis [Paperback]

Simon Webb
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

1 July 2011
Unearthing London reveals the almost-forgotten ritual landscape which lies hidden beneath the streets of the modern capital.  It is the city nobody knows, a vast and intricate network of hilltop shrines, tracks, sacred rivers, mounds, ditches, enclosures and manmade hills, all well over 2000 years old.  This prehistoric landscape, moulded and shaped by early men and women, determined the position of landmarks such as St Paul's Cathedral, the Tower of London and Westminster Abbey.
However, it has not been completely obliterated by the concrete and tarmac of the modern city, and Simon Webb traces the forgotten history of the capital to explore what remains of these early sites.  He also examines the religious beliefs and mythology of the pre-Roman area which became London and looks at how the legends tie in with the various ancient features of the city.  The book also features a guide to walking the ritual landscape today - routes that take in both twenty-first century architecture and ancient mystery.
Whether a lifelong Londoner or a curious visitor, Unearthing London will reveal things you never knew about the global city.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: The History Press (1 July 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0752462741
  • ISBN-13: 978-0752462745
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 15.5 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 593,315 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Simon Webb is a writer who has had aricles in the "Daily Telegraph," the "Independent," and" Times Educational Supplement."

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing speculation 12 Nov 2012
Webb spins a plausible tale of how London might have been before the Romans. I'll buy his argument until it's disproved, Druids and all. He is let down by some silly typos and sloppy editing, and his references aren't impressive. There is more up-to-date scholarship around that he hasn't touched on.
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Amazon.com: 3.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing prehistoric speculations 10 Oct 2012
By Tom Chivers - Published on Amazon.com
This book about the prehistoric 'ritual landscape' of London promises much, but delivers little more than speculation. Whilst it is very fluently written, it's unfortunately riddled with patchy history, and assumptions built upon assumptions.

Webb's general thesis is that prehistoric London was a kind of ritualised (yet largely unsettled) landscape, whose features and practices (esp. the worship of a horned huntsman god) pre-date even the Celts, and secondly that a high level of continuity through the Roman period and later ensures that traces of this landscape can still be found today.

It's a speculative argument, which is fine. And Webb is fully aware of this - the most common words in the book are 'perhaps', 'possibly' and 'probably'. I would be more than happy to indulge in these speculations - after all, there are some fascinating summaries of Roman and prehistoric discoveries in the London area - if it were not for the incredible level of repetition. Rather than making a clear, sharp argument, with some interesting deviations, instead every single piece of evidence is marshalled to back up his central thesis. This makes for a far more tedious book than it needed to be. Disappointing.
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