By Robin Fleming
Penguin/Allen Lane, 2010
The extraordinary discovery last year of some 1,500 pieces of Anglo-Saxon gold in a Staffordshire field has galvanised interest in a mysterious, remote time in this country’s history.
In Britain After Rome Robin Fleming writes about the people of early medieval Britain and the communities in which they lived. It’s a narrative history, in which the story it tells is driven not by such famous individuals as King Offa and Æthelred the Unready, but by the lives of the hundreds and thousands of nameless people who lived and died alongside them.
The written sources for these centuries are poor, but the archaeology, using the most cutting-edge technology, is fascinating, allowing us to know so much more about our ancestors than could have been imagined even ten years ago.
“Texts deal almost exclusively with kings and churchmen,” writes Fleming in the introduction, “and they report on these people’s world from their own very specific and particular points of view … The discoveries unearthed by archaeologists in the past thirty years are profoundly transformative, not least because they are so often at odds with our texts.”
Britain After Rome brings together a lifetime’s research and imaginative engagement to bring us closer than ever before to life in Britain after the departure of the Roman legions.
Interview with Robin Fleming
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