Norton £11.99 (239pp) (free p&p) from the Independent Bookshop : 08430 600 030
Barbarians to Angels, By Peter S Wells
Friday 13 November 2009
"The names conjure up images of savagery and destruction," but Wells believes the Visigoths, Huns, Vandals had a bum rap. The Dark Ages were not so dark after all.
Recently excavated in Spitalfields, London, a young woman's grave from AD 350 contained silk from China, an indication that both wealth and trade continued towards the end of the Roman era. When the Romans retreated, Britain was not invaded by hordes of Angles and Saxons.
Far from falling apart, post-Roman society maintained a good diet and a busy economy. Wells suggests that the reversion from stone architecture to buildings of wattle and daub was "a matter of cultural choice rather than a result of impoverishment". Based on Europe-wide archaeology, his assertion of a continuum is wholly persuasive.
Arts & Ents blogs
Dennis Hopper's lost sixties photo album found
The Independent Bath Literature Festival: 'Top Gear' makes Saudis look liberal, Kirsty Wark tells book festival
Jenny Collier row: Comedy promoter apologises after dropping female comic 'because venue did not want too many women on the bill'
Liam Neeson turned down James Bond role because late wife Natasha Richardson said she wouldn't marry him if he took it
Captain Phillips actor Barkhad Abdi struggles financially despite Oscar nomination
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
If you're horrified by a flame-roasted dog, you should be shocked at a hog roast
Poor 'live like animals' says Boris's privately educated sister after going on 'poverty safari'
Exclusive: Impact of immigrants on British workers ‘negligible’
Vince Cable: Teachers 'know absolutely nothing' about the world of work
Ukraine crisis: Russia pledges to 'retaliate against sanctions' as Ukrainian president says Crimea vote will not be recognised
- 1 International Women's Day 2014: The shocking statistics that show why it is still so important
- 2 Australian man Rod Sommerville reacts to bite from deadly snake by reaching for cold beer
- 3 Singapore sting: Sky-high prices are pushing locals to the edge of affordability
- 4 Russia has made 'big miscalculation' over Ukraine warns Hague
- 5 Swarm of killer bees sting woman 1,000 times