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Archaeologia Cantiana - Vol. 126   2006 page 417 - Book Reviews - continued

Sir Ifor Williams, an expert on medieval Welsh literature, in an essay on assemblies and courts in medieval Wales. Some employ a comparable approach, such as Aliki Pantos’ assessment of several assembly places in England, while others, for example Stephen Driscoll, note the limits of current scholarship on ancient assembly places, and highlight the need for further research, especially fieldwork if archaeologists and historians are to gain a clearer understanding of how, where and why these fascinating sites existed.
   In addition to their intrinsic value, for those fascinated by the early development of political processes in post-Roman Western Europe, these royal, judicial and ‘popular’ assembly places apparently retain their importance over time. This is not to suggest that such places have a continuous history of usage, rather that the periods of discontinuity provide opportunities for later users to reinterpret the site and its features as they see fit. Use and re-use of ancient sites, and the meanings peoples may have attached to them, will interest the specialist, but also the general reader. Moreover, the ideas put forward in the Introduction concerning the interpretation of these sites in the light of the political and religious changes of the sixteenth century would seem to reflect contemporary interests in other aspects of Anglo-Saxon culture, a feature that was particularly noticeable among the Kentish Protestant gentry. As Aliki Pantos and Sarah Semple point out, these ideas were at their most extreme during the Commonwealth period, but were still seen as relevant during later eras.
   Unfortunately, like many academic books, the price tag seems prohibitively high for most people unless they have a very strong interest in this field or are professional archaeologists or early medieval historians. This is understandable, but a pity, because many of the essays cover places and topics that might appeal to a wider readership. The book is well produced and the figures, maps and illustrations are usefully integrated into the text.

SHEILA SWEETINBURGH


Tonbridge’s Industrial Heritage. Edited by Anthony Wilson. 101 pp. 11 maps and 98 b/w illustrations. Tonbridge Historical Society, Tonbridge, 2005. £9.95. ISBN 0 9523563 2 5.

Tonbridge, once a market town, is still surrounded by open countryside today and yet as this splendid book makes clear it has a rich industrial heritage. Dr Wilson and his collaborators are to be commended for producing an excellent survey of Tonbridge’s industrial landscape illustrated with clear maps, pertinent photographs and contemporary illustrations, accompanied by an economically worded and highly

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