Review of ‘Ancient Peakland’, by Bill Bevan

This review is by Julie Bunting, and was published originally in The Peak Advertiser, the Peak District's local free newspaper, and is reproduced with Julie's kind permission.

ANCIENT PEAKLAND

This new title from Bill Bevan is a guide book par excellence, a beautifully illustrated compendium of accessible archaeological monuments across the Peak District. Accessibility is all-important to the author's aim of encouraging the reader to 'go out and discover many of the impressive monuments and buildings that survive from over 9000 years of the Peak District's past'.

That the interest is strong is beyond doubt. In recent years excavations on the prehistoric landscape of the eastern moors drew thousands of visitors to watch progress and see the latest discoveries. Bill Bevan slightly flexes the undefined boundaries of Peakland to include Creswell Crags, the site of Britain's only known Ice Age rock art. He progresses through a time when 'the ground thawed and began to wake up' - the first stage of the transformation of the Peak District into the habitat of forest nomads, whose legacy is the open moorlands we know today.

The author tells how our ancestors altered the earth, leaving us with a tremendous amount of evidence to interpret: enigmatic rock art, henges and stone monuments, stake holes and hearths from habitations on land settled and farmed for a thousand years before the Roman invasion. He considers advances such as metalworking, agriculture and husbandry - and hints of superstitions that we shall never fathom.

Ancient Peakland offers archaeological understanding of numerous sites along with instructions on how to take a look for ourselves. Published by Halsgrove in hardback priced £14.99 (ISBN 978-1-84114-593-8).

Review by Julie Bunting


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