Formative Britain: An Archaeology of Britain, Fifth to Eleventh Century AD (Paperback) book cover

Formative Britain

An Archaeology of Britain, Fifth to Eleventh Century AD

By Martin Carver


1,152 pages | 313 B/W Illus.

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Paperback: 9780415524759
pub: 2018-12-19
Available for pre-order
Hardback: 9780415524742
pub: 2018-12-19
Available for pre-order

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Formative Britain presents an account of the peoples occupying the island of Britain between 400 and 1100AD, whose ideas continue to set the political agenda today.  Forty years of new archaeological research has laid bare a hive of diverse and disputatious communities of Picts, Scots, Welsh, Cumbrian and Cornish Britons, Northumbrians, Angles and Saxons, who expressed their views of this world and the next in a thousand sites and monuments.

This highly illustrated volume is the first book that attempts to describe the experience of all levels of society over the whole island using archaeology alone. The story is drawn from the clothes, faces and biology of men and women, the images that survive in their poetry, the places they lived, the work they did, the ingenious celebrations of their graves and burial grounds, their decorated stone monuments and their diverse messages.

This ground-breaking account is aimed students and archaeological researchers at all levels in the academic and commercial sectors. It will also inform relevant stakeholders and general readers alike of how the islands of Britain developed in the early Medieval period. Many of the ideas forged in Britain’s formative years underpin those of today as the UK seeks to find a consensus programme for its future.

Table of Contents





Chapter 1 Inheritance

Chapter 2: Looking for Personhood

Chapter 3: Working from home

Chapter 4 Addressing eternity

Chapter 5 Monumentality

Chapter 6: Materiality of words

Chapter 7 Narratives – Reflections - Legacies


About the Author

Martin Carver specialises in the archaeology of early Medieval Europe and field archaeology in all periods. He was a freelance archaeologist from 1972 until 1986, when he was appointed professor and head of department, and subsequently Professor Emeritus at the University of York. He was editor of the journal Antiquity from 2002-2012.

About the Series

Routledge Archaeology of Northern Europe

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Archaeology