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Archaeologia Cantiana - Vol. 127   2007 page 441

Book Reviews

   Large quantities of domestic rubbish including pottery, small finds, animal bone and fish bone were recovered. These important assemblages have been analysed in some detail and a study of the extensive pottery collection is presented. The large amounts of fish bone found, together with many fishhooks and other items of fishing equipment, underline the importance of fishing to the humble medieval folk who lived in this area. Amongst them must have been some of the mariners of Dover who provided annual ship-service to the King, under the arrangements of the medieval Cinque Ports Federation.

Homo Britannicus. The Incredible Story of Human Life in Britain. By Chris Stringer. Allen Lane. 319 pp., 185 illustrations, maps and tables. Penguin Books, 2006. Hardback, £25.00. ISBN-13: 978-0-713-99795-8; ISBN-10: 0-713-99795-8.

Professor Stringer has been at the British Museum (Natural History) since 1973 and his research is concerned with human evolution over the past million years. He leads the Ancient Human Occupation of Britain project (AHOB) which is a standing multi-disciplinary combined operation. The dramatis personae is an appendix to this attractive book. Chris Stringer is the author of numerous papers and books, notably upon the African Exodus and the Neanderthals. His predecessor at the BM was Kenneth P. Oakley, well known in Kent for his assessment of the ostensible Palaeolithic human remains from Galley Hill and Halling and his detailed denouement of the fraudulent Piltdown assemblage.
   Homo Britannicus is a striking book with a wealth of illustrations, for the most part coloured and of quality. The end-papers depict the Natural History Museum’s faunal remains from the London area, the seven chapters are divided by double-page plates, and the b/w illustrations are confined to those of historical significance. The book’s structure is clear and concise; there is a Prologue, followed by seven chapters, details of the AHOB team, acknowledgements and illustrations, sources and further reading, all of which is concluded by a surprisingly brief, functional, index. The employment of the word ‘mystery’ in the Prologue’s title could be a culture-shock, but the dictionary demonstrates that it is not an incorrect usage and in accord with Stringer’s lucid prose.
   His historical chapter extends from the seventeenth century to Piltdown and the endeavours of the recent past. Thereafter there is consideration of Pleistocene people, their tools and life-modes. Two chapters are devoted to Ice Ages and another to the notion of deserted Britain. This is followed by an incisive consideration of our closely related, but long extinct, Neanderthals, an especial interest of the author who has ranged the length and breadth of Europe in the pursuit of their remains. Despite its double-

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