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Customer Review

29 of 31 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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