An investigation into the lives of our prehistoric ancestors, focusing on the revolution in Bronze Age archaeology which has been taking place over the last twenty years, and in which the author has played a central role.
One of the most haunting and enigmatic archaeological discoveries of recent times was the uncovering in 1998 at low tide of the so-called Seahenge on the north coast of Norfolk. This circle of wooden planks set vertically in the sand, with a large inverted tree-trunk in the middle, likened to a ghostly ‘hand reaching up from the underworld’, has now been dated to around 2020 BC. It focused national attention on archaeology to an extent not seen for many years, and the issues raised by its removal and preservation made it a cause celebre.
Francis Pryor has been at the centre of British archaeological fieldwork for nearly 30 years, piecing together the way of life of Bronze Age people, their settlement of the landscape, their religion and rituals. The famous wetland sites of the East Anglian Fens have preserved ten times the information of their dryland counterparts like Stonehenge and Avebury, in the form of pollen, leaves, wood, hair, skin and fibre found ‘pickled’ in mud and peat.
Seahenge demonstrates how much Western civilisation owes to the prehistoric societies that existed in Europe in the last four millennia BC.
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" infused with an extraordinarily immediate button-holing spirit of enthusiasm, clear exposition, energetic theorising and a fierce commitment -- Daily TelegraphFrom the Back Cover:
In the Spring of 1998 a circle of prehistoric timbers, exposed by the receding tide, was found projecting from the sands of a Norfolk beach. The site, soon to become known as 'Seahenge', would prove to be the most remarkable controversial and highly publicised archaeological find in Britain for many years.
The beach was known to be eroding fast, and the timbers were threatened with imminent destruction. Something had to be done. This book is the story of the operation to save the Seahenge timbers; but more than that, it is the story of the archaeologist Francis Pryor's personal quest in search of prehistoric Britain.
Since 1971 Francis Pryor has been engaged in the archaeological exploration of the Fens, Britain's largest natural wetland. In pre-Roman times this was a prosperous landscape, populated by farmers who earned their living mainly through livestock. But as Pryor's excavations progressed it became apparent that there was another dimension to their lives: the land they farmed was closely linked to a parallel world, that of the ancestors whose shades lingered around sacred sites in the landscape. Over the course of thirty years, Francis Pryor's work has revealed remarkable glimpses of a mysterious world of religion, worship and ceremonial, as well as countless fascinating details of Daily life in Bronze Age Britain.
'Seahenge' is the result of half a lifetimes research into Britain's prehistoric past and the extraordinary riches that lie, unsuspected, just beneath our feet. Francis Pryor reveals that despite its modern scientific image, archaeology is still largely about unexpected discovery and intuitive insights. He also describes how recent scientific techniques enable us to reveal hitherto unknown truths about ancient life and beliefs, and to retrieve the lost world of the prehistoric imagination.
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Book Description Trafalgar Square Publishing, 2001. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # SONG0007101910
Book Description Harpercollins. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 0007101910 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW4.0001574
Book Description Harpercollins Pub Ltd, 2001. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. First Edition. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0007101910
Book Description Harpercollins, 2001. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110007101910