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James Honeychuck
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Statue of a VENUS by LESPUGUE
Statue of a VENUS by LESPUGUE
Offered by APARTLINE
Price: £24.95

4.0 out of 5 stars A very good museum reproduction, 1 May 2015
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Approximately the same size as the original. Made in restored condition, and in an original ivory colour, not the discoloured state of the actual ancient piece. Not perfectly vertical on its stand, but I corrected that with a little bit of folded tape on the bottom of the stand.


Home: A Time Traveller's Tales from Britain's Prehistory
Home: A Time Traveller's Tales from Britain's Prehistory
by Francis Pryor
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.00

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gold, 17 Oct. 2014
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Excellent semi-autobiographical review of what is known about the Mesolithic, Neolithic, and Iron Age in Britain, with an epilogue on the Romano-British and Saxon eras, by a well-known archaeologist with 50 years' experience. He is also a TV presenter. On the TV program Time Team, this is one of the people I wished the host would just allow to talk without interruption.

This is the sort of book which can only be written by someone who can provide first-hand examples and who has thought for years about the issues involved. As with Chris Stringer's The Origin of Our Species, the reader can tell the author has refined his explanations to perfection.

The chatty style is very different from academic writing. But the author does get to the heart of the matter, and you can follow his reasoning. I like it when an author explains how he knows what he knows, as this one does. He is also candid with his personal opinions (e.g., on "Druids" at Stonehenge).

The focus is not on photogenic prehistoric monuments, but on prehistoric people; specifically as the title says, on families. It all seems to make sense that way. This book ranks with Steven Mithen's After the Ice in describing the whole picture of a site at the personal level.

Particularly valuable insights in the book concern how the transition from hunting/gathering to farming occurred, the meaning of "ritual deposition" of objects in water, and prehistoric woodworking. The book would be worth reading just for that last topic. On woodworking insights the author gives full credit to his wife, archaeologist Maisie Taylor.

The book is very nicely edited, with no typos and relevant colour plates and line drawings.

The book should be of equal interest to people like myself who are not in this field but read about it extensively, and to those who want an introduction, since all archaeological terms are clearly explained.


No Title Available

4.0 out of 5 stars Sentry X031, 6 April 2014
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Should discourage/defeat a burglar who is not carrying heavy tools.

Flimsy rawl plugs did not stand up well to installation. Use better quality ones instead.


Ancestral Journeys: The Peopling of Europe from the First Venturers to the Vikings
Ancestral Journeys: The Peopling of Europe from the First Venturers to the Vikings
by Jean Manco
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £18.91

46 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally, a synthesis of DNA and archaeological findings, 6 Sept. 2013
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Despite my high esteem for Chris Stringer's Homo Britannicus and Barry Cunliffe's Europe Between the Oceans and Britain Begins, those books fell short of satisfying my thirst for the full integration of recent DNA findings with archaeology and its specialties. Now at last we have that in this brand new book Ancestral Journeys.

I think this book would be equally good as an overview for someone not yet familiar with the field of population genetics or the origin of the people of Europe, and as a deskside reference to European DNA for someone more familiar with the field.

The illustrations are very skilfully placed and referenced in the text, not distracting as in some books. Well done to the editor who laid all that out.

This book makes going to primary sources easy, with everything footnoted.

The book passed my two toughest tests: I spotted only one misprinted word, and the minefield of my own complicated Y-DNA haplogroup is negotiated judiciously; in fact, it is such a good description that I will probably start quoting it.

The whole book is written in an executive summary style, with short sentences usually stating only one fact. What a pleasure to read, compared to academic papers. But the text is not dumbed-down, such as by calling haplogroups by names like "Rory" or "Helen". All the correct detail is there, even if it is smoothed out for quicker reading. An example is replacing the non-self-descriptive term "Younger Dryas" with "big freeze." I like that.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 11, 2014 8:29 AM BST


Ice Age art: arrival of the modern mind
Ice Age art: arrival of the modern mind
by Jill Cook
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £30.00

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An eye-opening treatise on prehistoric art, 13 Mar. 2013
This multidisciplinary analysis of Ice Age art is beautifully illustrated, with all the closeups needed to see the details. And details there are, for the author and the experts she quotes see things in these works of art which I certainly would miss. The analysis is so thorough that in a few cases, I wonder if too much has been read into certain features, such as the carving of a woman's head which "has a twist to her smile and an injured eye." I just can't see it. This milestone of a book can stand up to another backhanded compliment from a layman, which is that the idea of Ice Age "goddesses" actually being self-portraits or otherwise carved or drawn by women for some purpose of their own gets a well-deserved mention but no further analysis in the text. BTW, the book and its sources give no support to the theory that these prehistoric depictions of women were goddesses any kind, so don't come looking for that. At the moment, Amazon UK has no "look inside" or chapter list for the book, but there's one at [...] , which is actually where I bought my copy the day it went on sale.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 25, 2013 8:30 PM BST


Celtic from the West 2: 2: Rethinking the Bronze Age and the Arrival of Indo-European in Atlantic Europe (Celtic Studies Publications)
Celtic from the West 2: 2: Rethinking the Bronze Age and the Arrival of Indo-European in Atlantic Europe (Celtic Studies Publications)
by Barry Cunliffe
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £40.00

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scholarly work, lavishly illustrated, 3 Mar. 2013
At the moment, Amazon's page for this book has no description or table of contents, but I can tell you it consists of almost all the academic papers presented at this conference: [...] , along with an excellent introduction.

These are densely written evaluations of the archaeological and linguistic clues as to who the Celts were. It is a slow read for any non-specialist; for example, a 21 page essay with an eight and a half page bibliography includes sentences like "The contextual reliability of some of the early 5th millennium BC metalworking dates has been questioned recently (Roberts 2009, 470), such as those from Cerro Virtud in south-east Spain (Montero & Ruiz Taboada 1996; Delibes de Castro & Montero 1999; Ruiz Taboada & Montero 1999; Montero 2005), and Cabezo Juré in south-west Spain (Nocete 2006)." But that is how academics make the careful and cautious arguments that advance the state of knowledge in the social sciences. So if you like the challenge of thinking hard about such things, this is great stuff. About 68 maps and illustrations, many in full colour.


Squirrel & Predator Proof Chinese Lantern Seed Feeder
Squirrel & Predator Proof Chinese Lantern Seed Feeder
Offered by Cambridge Pet Store
Price: £17.69

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Effective when out of reach of grey squirrels, 11 Jan. 2013
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I have two of these, the seed feeder in which I put dried mealworms and the nut feeder with suet. They are the only feeders I can use in an urban environment with daily assaults by grey squirrels, jackdaws, pigeons, and even gulls. To keep squirrels from worrying the feeders every day, I have them on poles higher than a squirrel can jump and protected by a squirrel guard cone. I'm very happy with these feeders.


The Tripolye Culture giant-settlements in Ukraine
The Tripolye Culture giant-settlements in Ukraine
by Francesco Menotti
Edition: Paperback
Price: £40.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unique source of information, 17 Dec. 2012
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This new book fills in a large blank space by presenting in English detailed archaeological findings previously available only in Russian, Ukrainian, and Rumanian. It covers the late Neolithic and the Copper Age, c.5,000-3,000 BC, in the area from the Carpathian Mountains northeast to the Dnieper River in what is now Ukraine and Moldova. This is a meaty book which requires some chewing by non-specialists, with challenging passages such as "Srednestogovskij type ceramics of the Molyukhov Bugor kind date to a later period." I found it necessary to pause many times and look up terms on line. Incidentally, the book explains that a "giant-settlement" is a large grouping of Neolithic/Aeneolithic houses which might be mistaken for a town except for the lack of any ceremonial or administrative spaces. I suppose this sort of settlement must be unique to this region in the prehistoric world. I would like to have seen some illustrations of the enigmatic figurines of this culture, but they seem to be its best known feature, at least in English writing, so anyway that information is available elsewhere. Contains interesting speculation about the movement of populations during that era. The essays stick close to the archaeological evidence, and do not stray into the minefield which is the much later origin of the Slavs. The page count above is wrong; it is not 174, it is 264.


Britain Begins
Britain Begins
by Barry Cunliffe
Edition: Hardcover

71 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Archaeology and DNA too --- I love it, 5 Nov. 2012
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This review is from: Britain Begins (Hardcover)
Another beautifully produced, glossy book by Oxford University Press, in which the renowned Emeritus Professor Sir Barry Cunliffe surveys the state of knowledge of prehistoric Britain, as well as later periods up to 1100 AD in which I personally am less interested.

I pre-ordered the book, and when it arrived I was pleasantly surprised to discover that it addresses Ireland as well. No prehistory of Britain could do otherwise. But the need to avoid the politically incorrect term "British Isles" does make titling difficult, such as with Bryan Sykes's "Blood of the Isles," which is about the DNA of Britain and Ireland. Anyway, the alliterative title "Britain Begins" does not do justice to the coverage of Ireland in this book.

At least one eminent archaeologist has scoffed at the idea that DNA studies are of much use in studying prehistory. So I was delighted to see that Prof. Cunliffe considers DNA findings in at least 17 places in the book. Skeptics will be satisfied to see that he does not believe everything he reads about DNA. To my knowledge, this book sets a precedent in at least considering DNA studies as part of a multidisciplinary approach to understanding the past.

This author's analysis of where on the Continent the people of these islands originated is the clearest I have seen anywhere. I finally think I have it straight in my own mind.

The section on the origin and spread of the Celtic languages is a concise summary of work published previously in the book Celtic from the West, which Prof. Cunliffe co-edited, and enhanced here by a brilliant new map depicting a model of that spread.

The book has no footnotes or bibliography. Instead, there is a guide to further reading for each chapter, a kind of narrative annotated bibliography such as you would get from a professor surveying the literature for students in a graduate seminar. Very effective, both for the general reader and for readers who have many of those books on a nearby shelf.

I was worried to find three "lapse of concentration" mistakes in the first part of the book: annual rainfall in the west of Britain is over 100cm, not 100mm (p.63); the Scottish Mesolithic began in the seventh millennium BC, not the seventh century BC (p.117); and Rhyl is not in south Wales (p.44), it is on the north coast. But no such mistakes are to be seen once the author hits his stride with the Neolithic era.

I won't even try to comment on the last 200 pages on the historic era which in Britain begins with the arrival of the Romans. This book is worth twice the price just for the prehistory sections.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 11, 2013 12:40 PM BST


No Title Available

5.0 out of 5 stars Very nice, 5 May 2012
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Purchased this because of its comfortable wide-band design and ancient-looking slight casting imperfections. The photo does not do justice to the amber in the ring I received, which has a delightful sparkle. Very pleased with this ring.


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