Scenes from Prehistoric Life
An invigorating journey through Britain’s prehistoric landscape, and an insight into the lives of its inhabitants. From the critically acclaimed author of The Fens, a Radio 4 Book of the Week.
In Scenes from Prehistoric Life, the distinguished archaeologist Francis Pryor paints a vivid picture of Britain’s prehistory, from the Old Stone Age (about one million years ago) to the arrival of the Romans in AD 43, in a sequence of fifteen chronologically arranged portraits of specific ancient British landscapes.
Whether writing about the early human family who trod the estuarine muds of Happisburgh in Norfolk circa 900,000 BC or the Iron Age denizens of Britain’s first towns, Pryor brings the ancient past to life: revealing the daily routines of our ancient ancestors, and how they coped with both simple practical problems and more existential challenges. Pryor also demonstrates the impact this rapid cultural evolution had on the landscape. We travel across four millennia, from a Britain dominated by forests, moors, heaths and open floodplains to a landscape recognisable to many people living today: one demarcated by roads, fields, farms and villages.
At a time when the relationship between lifestyle and landscape is more fraught than ever before, it is crucial to look to the past to inform our present, and to help us to cope with the challenges of the future.
PRAISE FOR FRANCIS PRYOR: 'Pryor is especially able in conveying the dynamism of prehistory, with its constant changes, both of the form of individual monuments and in broader patterns of ritual behaviour and architectural fashion' TLS, on Stonehenge. '[Francis Pryor's] enthusiasm is infectious, whether he's glimpsing Ely cathedral from a train, coming across John Clare's grave or counting the bricks of Tattershall Castle' The Spectator, on The Fens. 'An immersive journey through the landscape, saturated with local history and personal insight ... It will inspire you to explore the locations on foot' Country Walking, on The Fens. 'Beautifully written and illustrated' Mail on Sunday, on Stonehenge. 'Written with pace and passion ... Immensely readable' -- Tom Holland, on Britain BC
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