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Britain BC: Life in Britain and Ireland Before the Romans (Text Only) [Kindle Edition]

Francis Pryor
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $17.95
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Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers

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Book Description

An authoritative and radical rethinking of the history of Ancient Britain and Ancient Ireland, based on remarkable new archaeological finds.

British history is traditionally regarded as having started with the Roman Conquest. But this is to ignore half a million years of prehistory that still exert a profound influence. Here Francis Pryor examines the great ceremonial landscapes of Ancient Britain and Ireland – Stonehenge, Seahenge, Avebury and the Bend of the Boyne – as well as the discarded artefacts of day-to-day life, to create an astonishing portrait of our ancestors.

This major re-revaluation of pre-Roman Britain, made possible in part by aerial photography and coastal erosion, reveals a much more sophisticated life in Ancient Britain and Ireland than has previously been supposed.

This edition does not include illustrations.

Editorial Reviews


‘Written with pace and passion…immensely readable.’ Tom Holland, Daily Telegraph

‘It bounds along, wonderfully enlivened by Pryor’s earthy enthusiasm. If you want to be introduced painlessly to the fascinating debates surrounding our British past, then “Britain BC” is the book for you.’ Barry Cunliffe, New Scientist

‘Francis Pryor is a modern field archaeologist with a reputation second to none. He has written a book as successful and exciting as its ambition is huge…lucid and engaging.’ Alan Garner, The Times

‘There are enough curious facts, contentious theories and bizarre hypotheses here to hold the interest of anyone concerned with the unique and peculiar story of these islands.’ Independent on Sunday

‘Beautifully written, exciting and extremely good…an essential read.’ British Archaeology

Praise for Francis Pryor’s television series ‘Britain BC’:

‘Fascinating…the evangelical Pryor paints a vivid portrait of pre-Roman society that tackles received wisdom about what was going on here in the Stone, Bronze and Iron ages.’ Daily Telegraph

‘Pryor leaps about the country at a cracking pace, his big personality making sure we never get bored by the scant and rarefied scraps that are his stock-in-trade.’ Observer

About the Author

Dr Francis Pryor, author of the acclaimed ‘Seahenge’, ‘Britain BC’, ‘Britain AD’ and ‘Britain in the Middle Ages: An Archaeological History’, has spent thirty years studying the prehistory of the Fens. He has excavated sites as diverse as Bronze Age farms and religious sites, field systems and entire Iron Age villages, as well as barrows, ‘henges’ and a large ceremonial centre dating to 3800 BC. He is President of the Council for British Archaeology, and frequently appears on Channel 4’s popular archaeology programme ‘Time Team’. In 2003 he wrote and presented a two-part television series on ‘Britain BC’, and in 2004 made a three-part series on ‘Britain AD’.

Product Details

  • File Size: 791 KB
  • Print Length: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (April 28, 2011)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004XOZ9GE
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #281,612 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
43 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An impassioned look back June 11, 2004
Pryor is candid about his intentions. He wants to understand the society of his homeland. To gain that understanding, he's dug more holes than "found in Blackbourne, Lancashire". He's also swept the literature of prehistoric Britain to learn what his colleagues have revealed in their work. The result is a compelling narrative of how Britain, in the years before the Roman invasion, lived, worshipped and died. He's gone a step further in trying out the life for himself. It all boils down to what might be an exercise in chauvinism, but Pryor's too professional to sink into that morass. Instead, he's given us a superb overview of the roots of the British Isles. He also provides an superlative insight into the workings of modern archaeology.
The title reflects Pryor's view that too much attention has been paid to the Roman era. Christianity's invasion on Roman skirt-tails, of course, has diverted attention from the beliefs of pre-Roman peoples. He wants to set that record straight, and does so thoroughly and admirably. Drawing on a wealth of resources, he casts away the "invasion" foundation of British pre-history to build a new structure. Sweeping hordes give way to a society that spread cultural innovations through limited, but far-reaching mobility. Instead of defensive fortresses, the British Isles are pocked with "henges", religious centres reflecting a stable, ancestor-worshipping society. Henges, he reminds us, totally lack defensive features. Weapons are found as often in bogs and streams, or buried with owners. They aren't the detritus of battle.
Pryor's start is the now-famous site of Boxgrove. His account of the finds there, a stone tool preparation site nearly half a million years old, is nearly as vivid as Mike Pitts' own.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars UK BC review March 31, 2008
As a former participant in the Fengate excavations that Francis Pryor supervised near Peterborough in the 1970s, I found his interpretation of Neolithic, Bronze Age, and Iron Age ritual in the daily life of prehistoric Britian to be compelling, interspersed as it was with personal anecdotes and current case studies. This book only whetted my appetite to return and experience anew those discoveries and many more, enlightened by a new understanding of my own roots, both professional and personal.

Dr. Boyd Dixon
Senior Archaeologist
Austin Texas
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome! March 30, 2005
Pryor has combined his own expertise from the archaeological field with a thorough understnading of the work of fellow archaeologists, (both in the UK and abroad), to present a vibrant, fluid and exceptionally informative look at life before Roman Britain.

Where Pryor makes some "judgement calls", he is open and honest about how much evidence there is and some different ways of understanding it. He presents a variety of views.

What you end up with a very comprehensive view of prehistoric life in Britain that does not get lost in reams of dry information. Pryor writes with an obvious passion for the topic, and that enthusiasm comes out in the writing.

It is basically a great book, with loads of information. I learned heaps from it!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Archaeology Book November 26, 2010
Francis Pryor's Britain BC is one of the most readable and certainly one of the most enjoyable archaeology books I have ever read. Pryor brings Britain's prehistory to life, no small task given that he is dealing with nonliterate peoples, vast amounts of time and, given the nature of the field, data that tends to be scattered at many sites. He has been criticized for both his "at-ease" writing style and at the same time for being too technical in parts. I find that he walks the line between archaeological scholar and archaeological popularizer extemely well. He is a fluid writer who must at times dig more deeply into the data to make a point. One needs to be aware of his goal in this book. In the several archaeology courses I had in my college days, I became aware of what a solid archaeology text is like. It is the combination of the latest data and methodology organized in a way so that a student can bring the work to bear in future courses or careers. Such books are often "dry" but that is not a criticism if the goal is to lay a firm groundwork for future field work or coursework in archaeology. But Pryor's goal is not that. It is, as he puts it in the Preface, to get across to the reader his fascination with the "story" of early humans in Britain. His readership is not primarily intended to be future archaeologists, though they would also learn a great deal here. His goal is to get the general educated reader to experience the excitement and, frankly, the fun of the dig, the joy of discovery and the amazement at our ancestors' accomplishments. Understandably, Pryor views the Romans as destructive of an indigenous people, though he points out that the early prehistory of Britain continued to live on. Read more ›
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for the general reader July 18, 2007
As the other 3 reviewers have provided brilliant reviews about the topics, the author and information provided, all I will add, like my fellow reviewer above is:
Pryor's: Britain BC is very comprehensive for the home history buff (with no prior archeology knowledge required .... phew !!) and incredibly interesting, and at times completely mind blowing.

I feel intellectually richer having read this book. And in all honesty, for the small price it costs here on Amazon ..... if you 'dig' (pardon the pun) this type of stuff - BUY IT !!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Splendid and approachable work
I once had a history professor who distained archaeologists as “too imaginative,” something I was exposed to when I saw the ancient site of Knossos on Crete as it was “restored. Read more
Published 12 days ago by Atheen
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended for anyone interested in history or archaeology
Francis Pryor's passion for his subject is contagious, and very readable. When I finished the book,I went back to the beginning and started again. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Nancy Bardes
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Outstanding presentation of the subject matter.
Published 3 months ago by Pete Garland
2.0 out of 5 stars ... general interest reader--or even a history buff-- I don't...
If you are a general interest reader--or even a history buff-- I don't recommend reading Britain BC. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Jennifer Foy
4.0 out of 5 stars The book itself is quite good, but get the physical version
Do not buy the Kindle version. The diagrams and pictures are vital to following the text, and they're not included. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Very well written, this book holds the reader's attention!
I like Francis Pryor's prose style. He is quite readable and takes the time to explain and give the backstory as he goes. Read more
Published 10 months ago by invisible
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it
A walk with Francis Pryor. He talks to you like a friend and I loved the lack of pretense. Excellent.
Published 14 months ago by Book Worm
4.0 out of 5 stars good book, rambles a bit
The author has a lot to say and much of it is fascinating, but he does have a tendency to ramble---a bit. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Judson E Veazey
5.0 out of 5 stars enthralling commentary on prehistoric Britain
Loved this book, first book ever bought on my new kindle. Very easy to read, informative. Have been a fan of the author since time team days as he always became involved when... Read more
Published on March 25, 2013 by chebwanderer
4.0 out of 5 stars Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, Rome! How about everybody else?
This is a dunting tome but it is filled with many revelations.

I always wanted to know where the other peoples of Europe came from; the ones who weren't Greek or... Read more
Published on January 23, 2013 by Andrew J. Mulhall Jr.
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