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.
A journey through the evolution of Britain’s prehistoric landscapes in fifteen ‘scenes’, shedding revelatory light on the lives of their inhabitants. In Scenes from Prehistoric Life, the distinguished archaeologist Francis Pryor paints a vivid picture of British and Irish 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 profiles of specific ancient landscapes. Whether writing about the early human family who trod the estuarine muds of Happisburgh in Norfolk c.900,000 BC, the craftsmen who built a wooden trackway in the Somerset Levels early in the fourth millennium BC, or the Iron Age denizens of Britain’s first towns, Pryor uses excavations and surveys to uncover the daily routines of our ancient ancestors. But he also demonstrates the impact that their rapid cultural evolution had on the landscape: Scenes from Prehistoric Life takes us across four millennia – from a Britain dominated by forests, moors, heaths and open flood plains to a landscape recognisable to many people living today, demarcated by roads, fields, farms and villages.
Archaeology is transforming our knowledge of what it would have been like to live in Britain and Ireland in the time before the Romans. By revealing how our prehistoric forebears coped with both simple practical problems and more existential challenges, Francis Pryor offers remarkable insights into the long and unrecorded centuries of our early history, and a convincing, well-attested and movingly human portrait of prehistoric life as it was really lived.