It might be thought that in the modern world, where documentary evidence abounds, there is no place for archaeology. But nothing could be further from the truth. Documentary records alone are not sufficient to provide a balanced view of Britain?s recent history. This is hardly surprising in the agricultural and industrial ?revolutions?, when pioneers were too busy inventing to record what was happening around them. But the same could apply in much later times. In the Second World War the imminent threat of invasion and the sheer pressure of events made the keeping of records less important than the building of physical defences, such as concrete anti-tank cubes and pill-boxes. As a result, archaeological evidence still provides the most reliable guide to the extent of Britain?s anti-invasion defences in the autumn of 1940.
Covering the whole of the post-medieval period, from 1550 to the present day, Francis Pryor brings his customary wit and erudition to the study of modern historical archaeology, probably the fastest-growing branch of the subject. Ranging over topics as diverse as the birth of modern agriculture, the growth of towns and cities, and the development of roads, canals and railways, he brings to a gripping conclusion his illuminating journey into Britain?s archaeological past.