Thursday, 19 May 2011

ARCHAEOLOGY FACTUAL REVIEW: Ancient Farming - Peter J Reynolds

Release Date: 10/02/11


Beginning with the transition from hunter-gatherer societies in the Neolithic period, this book traces the evolution of agriculture from the initial struggle to engage creatively with the landscape to the full ‘agroscape’ of the late Iron Age. Much of the evidence for prehistoric agriculture, especially for the late Iron Age, has been subjected to experimental research at the Butser Ancient Farm Research Project in Hampshire, of which the author has been the director; many of the latest results of that research have been incorporated into the text, enhancing theory with practical probability.


Whilst I’m not an out in the fields archaeologist, I do have an innate fascination with the past, whether it is the weaponry or warfare or even the day to day survival of the ancestors. What is revealed in this title by Peter J Reynolds, is the ancient farming methods that have barely changed over the millennia. However rather than just basing the work on what can be dug up or discovered, Peter was a practical archaeologist, demonstrating through practical application what did and what didn’t happen using the closest animals and crops to those from the correct period to back up his research as well as his actual findings.

This book is not only fascinating but a wonderful look into the past and it is perhaps due to the careful research and proof that modern day survivalists such as Ray Mears utilise the methodology to demonstrate the skills of the past that have died out throughout most of the modern world. All in this title is a fascinating read and for those who have a bond with the land such as modern farmers will be fascinated at how little some of the methods have changed or even just to help fill in some of the gaps from the past for the modern reader and could even allow modern authors to add a touch of authenticity to their fiction.

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