Ancestors: A prehistory of Britain in seven burials
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The content was accessible but more importantly, I was gripped by the way she challenged accepted ideas, inviting the reader to engage with a different way of thinking. Roberts is a prolific TV presenter, and Ancestors skilfully deploys the arts of screen storytelling: narrative pace, a sense of mysteries being unfolded. There is such a scope of knowledge between the covers of this book that you feel like a better and more knowledgeable person having read it.
It explores our interconnected global ancestry, and the human experience that binds us all together. Perhaps the important divide for the Beaker people was into animate/singular and neuter/collective, rather than owned wealth or male/female? But in Ancestors , anthropologist, broadcaster and academic Professor Alice Roberts explores what we can learn about the very earliest Britons, from burial sites and by using new technology to analyse ancient DNA. The Amesbury Archer is preserved in Salisbury Museum and, according to Roberts, “our visits to museums, to gaze on such human remains, are a form of ancestor worship”.We don’t share your credit card details with third-party sellers, and we don’t sell your information to others. The burials are described in detail, as is the history of their discovery, excavation and the theories around them. The main topic is covered in sufficient for the armchair archaeologist and is accessible without descending into a dry, academic, study. Had she been able to infuse the whole of the text with this compelling style, I would have given the book five stars.
Alice Roberts argues in Ancestors that we need to consciously set aside our own bias and try to evaluate archaeological remains on their own terms. One thing that did surprise me that Alice Roberts did not mention particularly when talking about women warriors and even gender fluidity was the Scythians as she does mention the Yamnaya culture "“Yamnaya (from the Russian for pits: yama) and has long been recognised to have connections with the Bell Beaker phenomenon in western Europe.The reality of multiple, miserable, slow-death diseases is in the bones simply had to direct the trajectory of civilization.
They intend to fully sequence a thousand ancient genomes, which it is hoped will reveal the connectedness, the shared ancestry, of people across Britain and beyond: “Ancient DNA bears clues to forgotten journeys – memories of migrations long ago, written into genes.But, would the pre-archaeology topic have piqued public interest for a hundred years to advance the study to modern standards? Archaeologists opened a tomb, found items they thought of as gendered (jewellery/mirrors versus weapons/chariots) and assigned gender to the human remains on that basis. Ancestors is a carefully thought out and well-expressed argument for a new way of doing prehistory -- trying to prevent the shape of present-day society from dictating how we understand the past. In 2002, not far from Amesbury in southern Wiltshire and a mile or so from Stonehenge, archaeologists were investigating the site of a new school when they discovered something remarkable.
Although Roberts does draw on genomic evidence to show the migration of peoples in prehistory, what is so fascinating about this book is the way it weaves together scientific and cultural interpretation. This is a subject about which she has been involved as broadcaster and author for many years and about which she is both authoritive and a great communicator. This makes it quite a theoretical book, in that it addresses the ways that prehistory derived from archaeology gets it wrong. The author delivers several of the best summaries I've seen regarding the Beaker People, Arras culture, genetics and isotope analysis, and the long-term implications of 100,000-some years of migrations and retreats.Ancestors' is focused on the evolution and methods up from the grave digging, treasure hunting, and carnival attraction-seeking roots. Linguistic gender is the way that words are tied together by categorising the things they represent, thus nouns are tied to pronouns by gender, and both are tied to adjectives in many European languages.