Britain has been inhabited by man for nearly 500,000 years, during which time there have been a great many changes in lifestyles and the surrounding landscapes. Darvill examines the development of human societies in Britain from earliest times to the Roman Conquest, as revealed by archaeological evidence. Special emphasis is placed upon six themes which are traced through all phases of prehistory: subsistence, technology, ritual, trade, society and population. The background to prehistoric Britain is first presented in terms of the development of interest in the subject and the changes wrought by new techniques such as radiocarbon dating, and new theories such as the emphasis on social archaeology. The central chapters then trace the development of society from the hunter-gatherer groups of the last Ice Age, through the adoption of farming, the introduction of metalworking, on to the rise of highly organized societies living on the fringes of the mighty Roman Empire in the first century AD. Throughout, prominence is given to documenting and explaining changes within these prehistoric communities, and to exploring the regional variations found around Britain.
In this way the wealth of evidence to be found in our museums is placed in its proper context. The author ends with a review of the effects of prehistoric communities on life today.
Table of Contents
The prehistoric past - archaeology in the present; bands on the run - hunter-gatherer societies to 3500BC; harvest for the year - early agriculturalists 3500-2500BC; sunrises and other new beginnings - the first chiefdoms 2500-1500BC; after the gold rush - agrarian societies 1500-600BC; below the salt - tribes and chiefdoms 600-100BC; questions of balance - political societies 100BC-AD50; all things must pass - patterns of society and change.
Timothy Darvill was born and brought up in Gloucestershire. He was educated in Cheltenham, and at Southampton University where he obtained an honours degree in Archaeology. His postgraduate research focused on the Neolithic period in Wales and the West of England. Between 1983 and 1985 he worked for the Western Archaeological Trust and the Council for British Archaeology before establishing himself as a freelance consultant. More recently he has been appointed to the BPF Chair of Property Development and Archaeology at Bournemouth University. A Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and a former Chairman of the Institute of Field Archaeologists, Professor Darvill is a nominated member of the Council of the National Trust and a Director of the Cotswold Archaeological Trust Ltd. Other publications include: The Archaeology of the Uplands (1986) and Ancient Monuments in the Countryside (1987).