Paperback review: Time's Anvil, By Richard Morris


“One thing we bring to time,” writes archaeologist Richard Morris in this multi-levelled book about digging up the English past, “is a compulsion to split it up”.

In contrast, Morris seeks links and affinities. He mixes a history of archaeology with family memoirs and a panoramic vista of the past from the Mesolothic era to industrial Birmingham - his own home soil. The result is a richly textured, and very moving, hybrid of a book: silted, layered, as studded with jewels as the mud around an Anglo-Saxon tomb. The ground beneath your feet – or the keepsakes cleared from a relative’s home – will never feel the same again.