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Head of Zeus
Scenes from Prehistoric Life
05 Aug 2021 * HARDBACK * £25 * 9781789544145

A journey through the evolution of Britain's prehistoric landscape, and an insight into the lives of its inhabitants, in fifteen scenes.

Non Fiction / HBLA (Ancient History)
Extent: 368 pages  Format: 234 x 153 mm Illus: 50 integrated b&w
Exclusive: GB CA AU NZ IN ZA SG US
The Fens
Stonehenge
Stonehenge
Also by Francis Pryor
Scenes from Prehistoric Life: From the Ice Age to the Coming of the RomansFrancis Pryor

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.

Francis Pryor is one of Britain's most distinguished living archaeologists, the excavator of Flag Fen and a sheep farmer. He is the author of seventeen books including The Fens (a Radio 4 Book of the Week), Stonehenge, Flag Fen, Britain BC, Britain AD, and The Making of the British Landscape.

The Fens received high praise in the media and was a Radio 4 Book of the Week.

The Fens sold over 12,000 copies.

The fraught relationship between people and the earth is a major concern at the moment, and is one that Francis explores historically.

MARKET: The Running Hare, Meadowland and The Wood by John Lewis-Stempel; Philip Marsden; Max Adams.


'You get a lot of Francis Pryor in this book, but that is only a good thing. His descriptions of visiting and excavating the sites mentioned add welcome dimensions ... Decades' worth of communicating archaeology on TV and a recent foray into crime fiction writing help make this book a highly compelling read. What the book does particularly well is to humanise prehistory' Spectator

'Pryor's colourful book makes life in Britain BC often sound rather more appealing that the frenetic and anxious 21st century!' Daily Mail

'[Pryor] brings almost impossibly distant times into brilliant focus' Eastern Daily Press Norfolk

'Vividly relating what life was like in pre-Roman Britain' Choice Magazine

PRAISE FOR FRANCIS PRYOR:
'Pryor is especially able in conveying the dynamism of prehistory, with its constant changes, both of the form of individual monuments and in broader patterns of ritual behaviour and architectural fashion' TLS, on Stonehenge.
'[Francis Pryor's] enthusiasm is infectious, whether he's glimpsing Ely cathedral from a train, coming across John Clare's grave or counting the bricks of Tattershall Castle' The Spectator, on The Fens.
'An immersive journey through the landscape, saturated with local history and personal insight ... It will inspire you to explore the locations on foot' Country Walking, on The Fens.
'Beautifully written and illustrated' Mail on Sunday, on Stonehenge.
'Written with pace and passion ... Immensely readable'
Tom Holland, on Britain BC

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