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Archaeologia Cantiana - Vol. 126   2006 page 409

Book Reviews

Kent in Prehistoric Times. By Paul Ashbee. Tempus Publishing Ltd, 2005. 223 pp. 73 illustrations and maps. Paperback. £19.99. ISBN 0 7524 3136 6.

General accounts of prehistoric Kent have been few and this new volume is to be warmly welcomed, particularly as it is written by Dr Paul Ashbee, an eminent prehistorian and long-standing member of the Society. In an all too brief overview of ancient Kent from the Palaeolithic period through to the eve of the Roman invasion Dr Ashbee provides us with a readable and coherent account of past discoveries in Kent, showing how these combine to throw at least a little light on the nature of the prehistoric occupation of our County.
   The volume consists of seven principal chapters. Beginning with an interesting summary of the efforts of early antiquaries and pioneering prehistorians to understand our countyís ancient past, we then move on to all-important environmental considerations, before arriving at the main part of the book, which comprises five period-based chapters, providing respective summaries of the Palaeolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic, Bronze Age and the Iron Age. Finally, there is an epilogue that introduces us to the Romans and has some thought-provoking comments on the present state and future of Kentís prehistoric heritage. An extensive bibliography gives a useful list of primary sources for the information set out in the text. Lastly, a helpful index lists personal names; sites and places; and subjects. Ashbee is most at home with the Neolithic and Bronze-Age material and there are good summaries of such topics as the Medway megaliths, the results of Bronze-Age round barrow investigations and bronze implement finds.
   Contained within the body of the text are some particularly interesting ideas and comments; the notion that the Roman amphitheatre at Richborough may have begun life as a Neolithic henge monument is something certainly worthy of further investigation and comes as new work at this crucial site is being planned. The idea that the outer defences of Dover Castle incorporate the remains of an Iron-Age hillfort is again brought out; indeed a late Bronze-Age origin for the primary earthworks is now suggested. There are also useful descriptions and background

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