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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deep exploration of the history of our pre-christian culture
From cover to cover this book stands out from the other 'historical' accounts of British Heritage. It can be overwhelming at first hand looking at this rather bewildering account of events in pre-Roman times of British culture and how it has developed to date. Julian takes you on a 'cosmical' whirl through the original landscapes of the British Isles. And I have yet...
Published on 28 Feb 1999

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28 of 33 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great guide to the sites, foget the roll-your-own prehistory
The second half is an excellent and unparalleled gazeteer of Britain's prehistoric sites. The first half is just annoying, with its monolithic interpretation of everything in sight as Goddess-related and the tiresomely smug rubbishing of the work of genuine scholars in this field (and slyly selective pillaging of that work when it suits, eg for dating).
This...
Published on 25 Feb 1999


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deep exploration of the history of our pre-christian culture, 28 Feb 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Modern Antiquarian: A Pre-millennial Odyssey Through Megalithic Britain : Including a Gazetteer to Over 300 Prehistoric Sites (Hardcover)
From cover to cover this book stands out from the other 'historical' accounts of British Heritage. It can be overwhelming at first hand looking at this rather bewildering account of events in pre-Roman times of British culture and how it has developed to date. Julian takes you on a 'cosmical' whirl through the original landscapes of the British Isles. And I have yet to fully understand where he is coming or going to with this book.
(On the other hand as for areas of great interest to visit in the UK this makes for a great read. Look out for his next book 'Let the Driver Speak' which goes into further details about the origination of the English Language.)
This book makes for great reading, not just for the English but also for the majority of Americans who want to know where their language originated from.
Read it... you won't be disappointed, a great record of English Megalithic landscapes and also an up-to-date field guide.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Paranormal in the West Country, and beyond, 16 Dec 2003
This review is from: The Modern Antiquarian: A Pre-millennial Odyssey Through Megalithic Britain : Including a Gazetteer to Over 300 Prehistoric Sites (Hardcover)
Our Passionate Friend Julian Cope surprised us all in the 1990's by suddenly coming out as a megalithomaniac. The Modern Antiquarian is partly Julian's very personal take on ancient Britain and how the church and those pesky Romans ballsed it all up for us and partly a gazetteer of ancient sites around Britain, complete with directions, maps, idle jottings and some marvellous photographs.
The gazetteer is arranged geographically with each section colour-coded for ease of reference. Unfortunately some of the background colours are so dense that the print becomes difficult to read. In part one in particular there are some garishly photoshopped images laid out in various eccentric styles so that no two pages look quite the same. But these add to the charm of the book and what it might lack in academic rigour it makes up for in sheer enthusiasm. The binding of the book has come in for some criticism although my own copy is still all in one piece despite constant reference for 4 years or so now.
Cope lists many sites I would never have known about let alone have visited were it not for The Modern Antiquarian. The bizarre Figsbury Ring, near Salisbury, is a good example. There are some other sites listed and described here that I may have been put off from visiting had I not double-checked elsewhere.
Some of the material is already quite dated and some is just downright inaccurate. The entry on Stoney Littleton really needs to be updated as things have improved immeasurably at this site. The information on The Chestnuts in Kent needs some revising and correction. I'm sure there are many others besides.
But whatever the imperfections this is a marvellous and very worthwhile book, funny, informative, at times angry and passionate, always opinionated and all the better for that.
I believe a follow-up, looking at sites across Europe, is now being written; maybe this will carry some updates and corrections. But either way I look forward to it and recommend The Modern Antiquarian to you without hesitation.
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good guide, but very dodgy scholarship, 5 Jan 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Modern Antiquarian: A Pre-millennial Odyssey Through Megalithic Britain : Including a Gazetteer to Over 300 Prehistoric Sites (Hardcover)
As a guide to where to find ancient monuments this is very good, and I'll certainly be using it to give some targets on my walking trips. I like the look and feel of the book a lot; it's well organised, and it's nice to read his notes on each monument - they communicate his enthusiasm and encourage me to get out and find these places, as do the pictures.
The essays at the beginning are entertaining; I wouldn't know how true they are, but I have to say that I suspect it has to be wishful thinking. I speak Welsh, and some of the things he says in the sections about Wales are completely wrong (eg his translation of Pontypridd is so far off the mark, it's laughable), or misleading (eg he says that the ancient Welsh in former days called Britain 'Prydain'. That's true but, err, so do the modern Welsh in current days. Didn't he know that?) These aren't difficult things to find out, so it makes me wonder about everything else he presents as fact.
So if you're looking for a scholarly, reliable guide to ancient British monuments, don't buy this book. If you're looking for a personal, entertaining interpretation of these sites, which will encourage you to get out there, get this book and take it with a large pinch of salt. I'm glad I've got it though.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Julian Cope -an often sadly unrecognised genius, 19 Jan 2002
By 
S. Lindgren - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Modern Antiquarian: A Pre-millennial Odyssey Through Megalithic Britain : Including a Gazetteer to Over 300 Prehistoric Sites (Hardcover)
Brilliant. This is one of my all-time favourite books, and it's had such heavy useage in the field that I've bought another copy. They both sit together on my shelf, in all their luminous, rock-album clothed glory.
As you will have noticed from the above, The Modern Antiquarian is split into two sections, the first a collection of highly entertaining and thought-provoking essays on modern and ancient society and life, the second being a gazateer of epic proportions to the significant ancient sites of Britain. The latter is as close to perfection as you could possibly wish for, even down to the O/S co-ordinates and hints on visiting.
The former may prove a little more contentious. The essays are written with an infectious passion, are superby argued, and deliberatly provocative. Yes, they are subjective. The subject matter can be nothing but that. Their aim is not just to inform, but to yank us out of apathy; to make us think laterally; to think in circles, transcend what we have previously thought or been taught. And that can only be a good, and beneficial thing.
It's very easy to get a little 'New Age' dealing with this subject matter. Julian avoids that with the effectiveness of a sledgehammer smashing through lead-crystal glass. He's still a rocker, a brillant one, and so is this book, which took him eight years to research and write, which shows the painstaking research detail that went into it, and it's all the better for it. It certainly opened my eyes. The Modern Antiquarian is worth every penny of the asking price. If you're thinking about buying it, do so. I can promise this much -you won't regret it.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not-Mad Rock Star Writes Guide for Heads and Scholars Alike, 18 Jan 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Modern Antiquarian: A Pre-millennial Odyssey Through Megalithic Britain : Including a Gazetteer to Over 300 Prehistoric Sites (Hardcover)
So after 8 years of research not-mad rock and popster Julian Cope finally finishes the Modern Antiquarian. The gazeteer, wipe-clean cover and rainbow pages we were always promised are there as are poems and a collection of essays. The essay section won't make the archaeologists happy, but hopefully it will make them think. The sections on landscape temples are especially good. Some might find the etymosophy hard to swallow but just wait till the sequel 'Let Me Talk To The Driver' is published, Er...Look Out! The gazeteer triumphs where others fall short by having a full page and colour photo for almost all the sites covered as well as a description and notes written in the field. Some sites even get one of the aforementioned poems (over 50 of them) my personal favorite was the one for Knapp Hill, which begins 'On Knapp Hill I eat my Snot, For 'tis the only food I've Got'. Julian visited every site in the book and took most of the excellent photographs (unlike the famous archaeologist who wrote a whole paper on the Clava Cairns in Scotland without once leaving his office). All in all the Modern Antiquarian in a scholarly and visionary book which should set the archaeologists talking (if ever they decide to leave their offices).
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28 of 33 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great guide to the sites, foget the roll-your-own prehistory, 25 Feb 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Modern Antiquarian: A Pre-millennial Odyssey Through Megalithic Britain : Including a Gazetteer to Over 300 Prehistoric Sites (Hardcover)
The second half is an excellent and unparalleled gazeteer of Britain's prehistoric sites. The first half is just annoying, with its monolithic interpretation of everything in sight as Goddess-related and the tiresomely smug rubbishing of the work of genuine scholars in this field (and slyly selective pillaging of that work when it suits, eg for dating).
This ruthless imposition of a modern hybrid faith on our undeserving ancestors is a kind of temporal imperialism (and totally at odds with the allegedly tolerant ethics that faith espouses).
The sites, however, demand to be visited. I only hope that visitors to these sites will give free rein to their own imaginations rather than having them constrained by Cope's tendentious dogmatism. The worst outcome of this book would be if people of a non-New Age outlook were discouraged from visiting the sites by the fact that they are currently overrun by hippies: this is everyone's heritage!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I can't believe I haven't reviewed this book already!, 25 Mar 2007
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This review is from: The Modern Antiquarian: A Pre-millennial Odyssey Through Megalithic Britain : Including a Gazetteer to Over 300 Prehistoric Sites (Hardcover)
My title says it all, I have had it for eons and forgot to tell anybody what I thought about it, how selfish. Simply I think this is a MUST READ for prehistory monument geeks like myself who want to make that spiritual contact with the ancestors in the ancient world. (You know who you are) It is written in the most user-friendly style I have ever come across in this kind of subject area, that is an immediate attraction for myself. A refreshing change from all the more serious academic stuff I have had to endure. I would like to meet Julian Cope someday just to say thanks for opening this door, saw him at a Leeds (supporting a Queen gig) once under less endearing circumstances, would like to apologise for that as well and thank him for such an amazing piece of work. Read it please and grow in your knowledge.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth the wait., 25 Nov 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: The Modern Antiquarian: A Pre-millennial Odyssey Through Megalithic Britain : Including a Gazetteer to Over 300 Prehistoric Sites (Hardcover)
What a book, this is like an AA guide to megalithic Britain with a good chunky section of verbal ramblings by the Cope. Days out galore are here for those searching for a bit of our lost (ignored?) history, the very essence of Britain.
The other great aspect about having a book to see these places before you go is 1: You don't end up somewhere pants and 2: The chances are you'll meet other likeminded people who have found the site through the book. I think Mr Cope should be pleased he has given his audience a mechanism to randomly meet each other at various megalithic sites around the country.
all in all - excellent.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Essential, 2 Sep 2014
By 
S. W. Turner "Siturn" (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: The Modern Antiquarian: A Pre-millennial Odyssey Through Megalithic Britain : Including a Gazetteer to Over 300 Prehistoric Sites (Hardcover)
Mr Cope has written an absolutely exhaustive tome that is full of fascination and serious historical research. He also never strays from his personal approach so you get his character shining through which is no bad thing. It can get a bit daft when he lets his personality shine through (read it and you will see what I mean!) but this is never at the cost of factual, historical and fascinating research. The book is laid out beautifully, and the "family snapshots" work equally well alongside the professional photography. A great piece of work that will teach you loads about the vast and deep history of early Britain and the areas that still have evidence of our distant past. His personal asides merely serve to reinforce this, and reminds you that there is a person behind all of this rather than some dry academic. Essential reading for the armchair enthusiast, the serious historian, and anyone who finds the pull of these places equally important as sites of ritual and energy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great field guide, 24 May 2014
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This review is from: The Modern Antiquarian: A Pre-millennial Odyssey Through Megalithic Britain : Including a Gazetteer to Over 300 Prehistoric Sites (Hardcover)
A marvellous book in many ways. It is firmly in the "Earth Mysteries" department so far as the general theme is concerned, with much about the "Great Goddess" etc. - I suggest Ronald Hutton's excellent latest book "Pagan Britain" as a balanced corrective from an academic. Howeiver, it is wonderful for its enthusiasm and joy with regard to our ancient heritage.
Buy it for the Gazeteer- a superb guide to the finest Megalithic sites of Britain but take the theories with a (large) pinch of salt.
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