Formative Britain. An archaeology of Britain, Fifth to Eleventh Century AD

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FORMATIVE BRITAIN came out from Routledge on 31 January 2019 after 10 years in the making. It offers a synthesis of the history of the whole island of Britain from the Fifth to the Eleventh century (c400-1100AD), using archaeology alone. It reviews the surviving prehistoric and Roman landscape (Inheritance), the appearance of peoples (Looking for Personhood), the forms of settlements (Working from Home), the role of burial grounds (Addressing eternity), the role of sculpture, churches and illuminated manuscripts (Monumentality), myths and records (the Materiality of words), and concludes with a presentation of Narratives, reflections and legacies. It divides the island into seven regions and its experience into three periods, and argues that the encounters of natives and incomers and their different beliefs forged a moment that was truly Formative, its effects being still active today. It is unusual in using the archaeology to illuminate the texts rather than vice versa. And in giving equal weight to all parts of the island, removing the English bias of documentary history -- since everyone, though e'er so poor - leaves an archaeological record.

Formative Britain is not a text book but a thesis - the thesis being that the three driving forces of lordship, spirituality and wealth creation, while always with us, had different and varying emphases in the regions and periods. These ideological convictions are primarily what drives change and makes history happen.

Grateful thanks for making this book happen are owed to Jo Tozer, Autumn Spalding and supportive friends of many years. It is available as a hardback (c.£85), a paperback (c.£27) and ebook (c£20). Contact