Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Related reads and oil burning

Got a couple of related books on the tbr pile at present:

Britain AD: a quest for Arthur, England and the Anglo-Saxons by Francis Pryor
In which the Brian Blessed of archaeology gives his view of 5th-6th century Britain. It's not quite the book of his tv programme, but near enough so far. The main upshot in his programme is that he seemed to think that the Anglo-Saxon invasion/migration/whatever didn't happened. Which begs the question as to why England speaks an essentially Germanic language and not something like Welsh. That idea is not computing so far. Like many archaeologists, he doesn't really believe in 'Celts' either! Good man. He's certainly having some interesting ruminations on what is British, that's for sure.

Bloody Foreigners: the story of immigration to Britain by Rober Winder
An exploration of those who have migrated to the island from around 25,000 years ago onwards, though it's soon onto the Norman era! I reckon we're all mongrels on this island - and thought so long before I found out that at least one of my recent ancestors was Italian. This book explores the various waves of immigrants, right up to the modern era. I'm looking forward to reading about the many nationalities contributing to the variety of the island.

Meanwhile, in my home county, there's a lot of oil burning and the fire service down there is doing a wonderful job. Funny thing: I went out of my door this morning and thought I could smell burning oil - fine, except I'm in Yorkshire. My nose was coming out in sympathy. The dp reckons it's the smell of coal fires, as it's chilly up here and people are lighting up.


At 6:11 pm GMT, Blogger Stephen said...

I missed the Pryor programme, and haven't (yet) seen the book, but your comments do highlight an interesting point.

The archaeological evidence for a large-scale migration of Anglo-Saxons into Britain is remarkably weak. The historical evidence is ambiguous. The linguistic evidence is overwhelming.

Both the archaeological and linguistic evidence must, however, be interpreted within a model. It would appear that at least one, and possibly both, of those models is seriously flawed.

I'm with Pryor on the Celts - there were no Celts in the British Isles before the beginning of the 18th Century.

At 10:13 pm GMT, Blogger Alex Bordessa said...

There are scads of burials with artefacts generally classed as being of Germanic taste (but who was wearing them ...?) And there are large settlements to the east of the country with Germanic-classed artefacts ... These types of settlements are not found to the west at the same time. Soooo, something was going on.

Some of the stuff Gildas says about Saxons isn't exactly ambiguous, but then he was a fuss-pot with an agenda all his own.

Yeah, no Celts! Crikey, that doesn't go down well in some quarters.

Pryor's book is now out it paperback, which is why I've got a copy :-)

At 10:43 pm GMT, Blogger wil said...

I'm intrigued. I immediately placed an order for Britain AD (Paperback! Surely I'm not the only one that dislikes clunky hardbacks).

Every American (if they know anything about British history at all) knows that the Romans drove out the Celts and hordes of Anglo-Saxons poured in after the Romans pulled out. Right? Perhaps we've got it wrong...

At 10:52 pm GMT, Blogger Alex Bordessa said...

Erm ... Wil ... Well ... :-)


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