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Debunking Bad History,
By A Customer
This review is from: Britain BC: Life in Britain and Ireland Before the Romans (Paperback)Francis Pryor's Britain BC is not a book for those who cling on to old ideas concerning the prehistory and early history of Britain. This is an adventurous book written to bring daring new ideas based on data from archaeological fieldwork. If the old stories of waves of invaders replacing one after an other don't work for you - from Neolithic revolutionaries, to La Tene Celts - if you ever suspected that there was something funamentally wrong with the traditional depictions of the Ancient British past - then read this book!
The author, backed by years of fieldwork experience as a professional archaeologist based in the East of England argues for the case for continuity - that there was no Neolithic Revolution, no invasion of Beaker folk, no mass arrival of continental 'Celts'. Francis Pryor is clearly passionate in his views that modern Britain owes more to prehistoric Britain than is generally accepted. Rome is portrayed as an alien empire that suppressed and stifled the self-identities of a growing and developing prehistoric Britain. Pryor suggests that far from being sparsely populated by painted savages - Late Iron Age Britain, following centuries or even millenia of metal-working, art, monument-building, and agriculture - was thriving and in the process of developing high art forms, tribal federations, trade and cultural links with the Continent, kingdoms, and Oppidi (sprawling ruralised towns) based on age old indigeneous traditions and identities.
Francis Pryor leads you through a series of prehistoric landscapes - the world of the Pre-Anglian Glacial hunters of Boxgrove, hunter-gatherers crossing the Great North Sea Plain, the vast open ritual landscapes of the Neolithic, the diversity of the archaeology of Iron Age Britain and Ireland. An excellent introduction and revision of prehistoric Britain and Ireland.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 2 Jan 2013 17:13:35 GMT
Last edited by the author on 2 Jan 2013 17:16:03 GMT
S. M. Saunders says:
You're clearly an advocate of 'new' history. And by 'new' you'll presumably mean 'more accurate'? 'Daring new ideas', as you put it.
That's fine. But how do we KNOW that the history taught to date (your 'bad' history) has been inaccurate?
I've always been slightly sceptical of some modern historians (and there seem to be a growing number of them) who wish to challenge the received wisdom.
In reply to an earlier post on 9 Mar 2013 16:48:27 GMT
Last edited by the author on 9 Mar 2013 16:51:53 GMT
Yes, S M Saunders, no doubt today's debunking will tomorrow be debunked. But it's something we just have to accept, especially with a discipline like archaeology where new evidence is turning up all the time. And of course each archaeologist has their own axe to grind, and each tends to over-react to what's gone before. Personally I rather enjoy these scrummages. Barry Cunliffe's Facing the Ocean: The Atlantic and Its Peoples, 8000 BC to AD 1500, now a classic, was very jolly when he turned on its head all that 'conquering with fire and the sword from right to left starting on Thanet' stuff that was being laughed at even as early as 1066 and All That. Had a very droll discussion in an Oxford pub with a professor of archaeology a few years ago who, after various beer-modified attempts to rubbish Pryor, was reduced to pointing out that he was very fat. Tempted as I was to point out to Pryor's critic that he was, himself, very bald, I decided discretion was the better part of thingy. But no doubt the arguments will rumble on as long as there are things to dig up and archaeologists to disagree about them . . .
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