Britain Begins

Paperback | August 28, 2013

byBarry Cunliffe

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The last Ice Age, which came to an end about 12,000 years ago, swept the bands of hunter gatherers from the face of the land that was to become Britain and Ireland, but as the ice sheets retreated and the climate improved so human groups spread slowly northwards, re-colonizing the land thathad been laid waste. From that time onwards Britain and Ireland have been continuously inhabited and the resident population has increased from a few hundreds to more than 60 million. Britain Begins is nothing less than the story of the origins of the British and the Irish peoples, from around 10,000BC to the eve of the Norman Conquest. Using the most up to date archaeological evidence together with new work on DNA and other scientific techniques which help us to trace theorigins and movements of these early settlers, Barry Cunliffe offers a rich narrative account of the first islanders - who they were, where they came from, and how they interacted one with another. Underlying this narrative throughout is the story of the sea, which allowed the islanders and theircontinental neighbours to be in constant contact. The story told by the archaeological evidence, in later periods augmented by historical texts, satisfies our need to know who we are and where we come from. But before the development of the discipline of archaeology, people used what scraps there were, gleaned from Biblical and classical texts, tocreate a largely mythological origin for the British. Britain Begins also explores the development of these early myths, which show our ancestors attempting to understand their origins. And, as Cunliffe shows, today's archaeologists are driven by the same desire to understand the past - the onlyreal difference is that we have vastly more evidence to work with.

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The last Ice Age, which came to an end about 12,000 years ago, swept the bands of hunter gatherers from the face of the land that was to become Britain and Ireland, but as the ice sheets retreated and the climate improved so human groups spread slowly northwards, re-colonizing the land thathad been laid waste. From that time onwards Br...

Barry Cunliffe taught archaeology in the Universities of Bristol and Southampton and was Professor of European Archaeology at the University of Oxford from 1972 to 2008, thereafter becoming Emeritus Professor. He has excavated widely in Britain (Fishbourne, Bath, Danebury, Hengistbury Head, Brading) and in the Channel Islands, Brittany...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:568 pagesPublished:August 28, 2013Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199679452

ISBN - 13:9780199679454

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Table of Contents

Preface1. In the Beginning: Myths and Ancestors2. Britain Emerges: the Stage is Set3. Interlude: Enter the Actors4. Settlement Begins 10,000 - 4200 BC5. New People, New Ideas 4200 - 3000 BC6. Mobilizing materials: a New Connectivity 3000 - 1500 BC7. Interlude: Talking to Each Other8. The Productive Land in The Age of Warriors 1500 - 800 BC9. Episodes of Conflict 800 - 60 BC10. Interlude: Approaching the Gods11. Integration: the Roman Episode 60 BC - AD 35012. 'Its Red and Savage Tongue', AD 350 - 65013. The Age of the Northmen AD 600 - 110014. Of Myths and Realities: an epilogueA Guide to Further ReadingIndex

Editorial Reviews

"Sweeping from the end of the last Ice Age to the eve of the Norman Conquest, this book contains a vast amount of information, accessibly presented. It is an enjoyable journey, and one that never loses sight of the wider picture." --Current Archaeology