Invasions, migrations and continuity in pre-Christian Britain
Late Neolithic, Bronze Age, Iron Age, Romano-British and Anglo-Saxon Britain.
Bronze Age round barrows respect ancient land holdings that remained in place throughout the Bronze Age, into the Iron Age and even up to Romano-British times.
'It used to be assumed that invasions were the rule rather than the exception,' said a voice on the audio-player. 'The Mesolithic hunter-gatherers in Britain had been displaced by an invasion of farming folk who brought in the Neolithic era. Celtic invasions in the early first millennium BC heralded a new people and a new era; hill-forts and fine metalwork. Invasions of Angles and Saxons in the fifth and sixth centuries AD created England and wiped the slate clean in that region yet again.
'Of course, the Roman invasion and the Norman Conquest were never assumed to have eradicated the village population in England to any great extent and neither, it now seems, did any of these other invasions or immigrations either.
'The Mesolithic hunter began to domesticate his wild herds in the forest clearings he had made to hunt them in and start to veer towards farming as a more reliable way of life, simply through a diffusion of knowledge. Excavations in and around the town of Peterborough, in Cambridgeshire, have found that property boundaries that were marked out by Bronze Age round barrows respect ancient land holdings that remained in place throughout the Bronze Age, into the Iron Age and even up to Romano-British times. Widespread archaeological excavation in eastern England has shown the continuing wealth, prosperity and physical continuity of the villages there, from late Roman times through the supposedly hostile invasions af Angles and Saxons and on into the Middle Ages, hinting at an influx of migrants rather than invaders.'
'And as with property boundaries, so with cultural inheritance and folk religion, one might suspect,' said Miranda, tapping off the audio on her tablet computer.