Saturday, January 07, 2006

Britain AD

OK. I 'fess up here. I'm only reading Francis Pryor's Britain AD to annoy myself. I haven't finished reading it yet, but every chapter so far has me either snorting or laughing. Can't help it. From the avoidance of analysing the aforesaid language problem (he's not qualified to discuss it, he says) to the no-brainer about material culture and who might be using it, it's a laff a minute. I got the book to see if he expanded his ideas about the language problem that's really getting in the way of his 'no invasion/peaceful uptake'' theory. Unless he turns about in the last couple of chapters, it looks like this very important aspect will not be properly addressed.

I shan't be rude about theory-laden prehistorians who can't handle the large amounts of data that are characteristic of other periods, I shan't. Got to hand it to him though, he offends Celticists, Romanists and Anglo-Saxonists in equal measure, so at least he's being balanced on that front :-) He doesn't seem to acknowledge that scholars have to start somewhere; critcising archaeologists from years back is just not fair, and neither does he acknowledge those in the field now have generally moved on. His views are very much his own, and perhaps touched with Political Correctness. And I've just learnt he's got a book due out about the medieval era - Britain in the Middle Ages. That'll be stirring a hornet's nest, for sure, as there are way more medieval historians of all shade around than archaeologists as a whole.

Meanwhile my CD is playing the furious, operatic Finnish rock band Nightwish - Highest Hope: The best of Nightwish. Not my normal choice at all, but at a place I worked at recently they were playing it, and it rather grew on me.


At 12:03 pm GMT, Blogger Carla said...

What's your take on the language shift, Alex? It seems to me to be the most important question in understanding what happened in the period, and yet it's so often skated over or sidestepped. You're a professional archaeologist; would you post some time on what you think and why? I'd love to hear your views.

At 11:28 pm GMT, Blogger Gabriele C. said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 11:44 pm GMT, Blogger Gabriele C. said...

That was me above. I got attacked by the grammar demon.

We have such a fellow, too: Heribert Illig. He created some stir a few years ago, by stating that the time from the 7th century to Otto the Great was an invention of Frederick Barbarossa, for lack of archaeological evidence (he didn't visit the right museums, obviously), and all the documents were faked. Ok, there is a nice amount of faked documents lurking in the archives, led by the (in)famous Constantinian Donation, but to think dear Charlie was a fake is putting things a bit far. ;-)

Here's a link.


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