Home by Francis Pryor

by stephenpalmersf

A very enjoyable, erudite and all-round super book from a major figure of the field… and of course a regular on ‘Time Team’.

Opening with life in the Continent-connected Britain of just after the end of the last Ice Age, the book covers a lot of ground in stages, ending with Celtic Britain and a bit about the time of the Romans. But the heart of this book – maybe I should say hearth – is the crucial role played in prehistoric cultural evolution by the family and family life. This is why the book is called Home. Pryor is unusual amongst archaeologists in allowing his natural humanity to inform his scientific discoveries and understanding. It is this willingness to add human common sense to science that makes the book so appealing.

I’d recommend this book to pretty much anybody with a brain and the desire to use it. Although – especially in the first half – the writing style is peppered with mental diversions, as if Pryor is attempting a little stream-of-consciousness, those distractions depart as the style settles down. But all the main stuff is there: wisdom, experience, insight, and the willingness to say what lesser men of archaeology are too stuffy to say.