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In Home Francis Pryor, author of The Making of the British Landscape, archaeologist and broadcaster, takes us on his lifetime's quest: to discover the origins of family life in prehistoric Britain

Francis Pryor's search for the origins of our island story has been the quest of a lifetime. In Home, the Time Team expert explores the first nine thousand years of life in Britain, from the retreat of the glaciers to the Romans' departure. Tracing the settlement of domestic communities, he shows how archaeology enables us to reconstruct the evolution of habits, traditions and customs. But this, too, is Francis Pryor's own story: of his passion for unearthing our past, from Yorkshire to the west country, Lincolnshire to Wales, digging in freezing winters, arid summers, mud and hurricanes, through frustrated journeys and euphoric discoveries. Evocative and intimate, Home shows how, in going about their daily existence, our prehistoric ancestors created the institution that remains at the heart of the way we live now: the family.

'Under his gaze, the land starts to fill with tribes and clans wandering this way and that, leaving traces that can still be seen today . . . Pryor feels the land rather than simply knowing it' - Guardian

Former president of the Council for British Archaeology, Dr Francis Pryor has spent over thirty years studying our prehistory. He has excavated sites as diverse as Bronze Age farms, field systems and entire Iron Age villages. He appears frequently on TV's Time Team and is the author of The Making of the British Landscape, Seahenge, as well as Britain BC and Britain AD, both of which he adapted and presented as Channel 4 series.

Leading archaeologist Francis Pryor retells the story of King Arthur, legendary king of the Britons, tracing it back to its Bronze Age origins.

The legend of King Arthur and Camelot is one of the most enduring in Britain's history, spanning centuries and surviving invasions by Angles, Vikings and Normans. In his latest book Francis Pryor – one of Britain’s most celebrated archaeologists and author of the acclaimed ‘Britain B.C.’ and ‘Seahenge’ – traces the story of Arthur back to its ancient origins. Putting forth the compelling idea that most of the key elements of the Arthurian legends are deeply rooted in Bronze and Iron Ages (the sword Excalibur, the Lady of the Lake, the Sword in the Stone and so on), Pryor argues that the legends' survival mirrors a flourishing, indigenous culture that endured through the Roman occupation of Britain, and the subsequent invasions of the so-called Dark Ages.

As in ‘Britain B.C.’, Pryor roots his story in the very landscape, from Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh, to South Cadbury Castle in Somerset and Tintagel in Cornwall. He traces the story back to the 5th-century King Arthur and beyond, all the time testing his ideas with archaeological evidence, and showing how the story was manipulated through the ages for various historical and literary purposes, by Geoffrey of Monmouth and Malory, among others.

Delving into history, literary sources – ancient, medieval and romantic – and archaeological research, Francis Pryor creates an original, lively and illuminating account of this most British of legends.

This ebook edition does not include illustrations.

As he did in ‘Britain B.C.’ and ‘Britain A.D.’, eminent archaeologist Francis Pryor challenges familiar historical views of the Middle Ages by examining fresh evidence from the ground.

The term 'Middle Ages' suggests a time between two other ages: a period when nothing much happened. In his radical reassessment, Francis Pryor shows that this is incorrect and that the Middle Ages were actually the time when the modern world was born. This was when Britain moved from Late Antiquity into a world we can recognize: roads and parishes became fixed; familiar institutions, such as the church and local government, came into being; industry became truly industrial; and international trade was now a routine process.

Archaeology shows that the Middle Ages were far from static. Based on everyday evidence, Pryor demonstrates that the British agricultural and industrial revolutions had their roots in this era – as did the explosion of British maritime power in the late 1700s. It stresses the strength of development at the expense of 'revolution' and the profound effect the Black Death had on loosening the grip of the feudal system.

The Middle Ages can now be seen in a fresh light as an era of great inventiveness as the author examines such topics as 'upward mobility'; the power of the Church; the role of the Guilds as precursors of trade unions; and the importance of transport infrastructure such as roads, bridges and shipbuilders.

A BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week.

'Francis Pryor brings the magic of the Fens to life in a deeply personal and utterly enthralling way' TONY ROBINSON.

'Pryor feels the land rather than simply knowing it' GUARDIAN.

Inland from the Wash, on England's eastern cost, crisscrossed by substantial rivers and punctuated by soaring church spires, are the low-lying, marshy and mysterious Fens. Formed by marine and freshwater flooding, and historically wealthy owing to the fertility of their soils, the Fens of Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire are one of the most distinctive, neglected and extraordinary regions of England.

Francis Pryor has the most intimate of connections with this landscape. For some forty years he has dug its soils as a working archaeologist – making ground-breaking discoveries about the nature of prehistoric settlement in the area – and raising sheep in the flower-growing country between Spalding and Wisbech. In The Fens, he counterpoints the history of the Fenland landscape and its transformation – from Bronze age field systems to Iron Age hillforts; from the rise of prosperous towns such as King's Lynn, Ely and Cambridge to the ambitious drainage projects that created the Old and New Bedford Rivers – with the story of his own discovery of it as an archaeologist.

Affectionate, richly informative and deftly executed, The Fens weaves together strands of archaeology, history and personal experience into a satisfying narrative portrait of a complex and threatened landscape.

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