26 April 2007

Britain AD by Francis Pryor

This is another of Pryor's companions to his documentaries on the history of Britain.

It focuses chiefly on two areas in which he argues the received view is mistaken (and I get the impression his position is becoming more widely held). These are:

  1. That the end of Roman rule in Britain did not lead to any sort of widespread collapse, but rather just changes in the way that society was run

  2. There were no large scale Anglo-Saxon invasions rebuilding England after any anarchic Dark Age.

Instead, he present evidence that the end of Roman rule was just a part of a general change in the patterns of life and that the Anglo-Saxon artifacts and traditions of these times were more likely imported by an existing population rather than imposed by conquerors.

That all seems fair enough to me, but I found that the book's focus on this argument detracted from it a little. The other two books contained more interesting stories (either directly, about archaeological digs and research, or speculative ones about how people could have lived).

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