Published Jan 2010
In Britain AD the eminent prehistorian and field archaeologist Francis Pryor explores to radical and stunning effect some of the great origin myths of ‘Dark Age’ Britain: who were the Celts, the Anglo-Saxons and the Ancient Britons? How real are their legendary leaders such as King Arthur or Hengist and Horsa? How reliable are authors such as Gildas and the Venerable Bede?
Using the recent findings of archaeology, Francis Pryor reveals the spurious nature of many so-called ‘invasions’ of the British Isles, and shows it is high time for the ‘Anglos-Saxons’ to join them. Any movement of people in post-Roman times was very small, and there were probably as many British people leaving for the Continent as there were incomers. Changes happened essentially from within the population residing in the eastern side of Britain.
It was the racial theories of Victorian Englishmen that gave rise to the myth of Anglo-Saxon conquest in order to prove their own superiority to their so-called ‘Celtic’ neighbours. Arthur, legendary King of the Britons, was in turn used to prop up the Anglo-Saxon invasion theory. The origins of his story lie in Bronze Age Britain, and Francis Pryor shows that continuity of religious and ceremonial ritual runs from the Bronze Age through to the Middle Ages.
Once again, as in Britain BC Francis Pryor has brought a fresh and invigorating new perspective to ancient myths and legends.