The Ancient Ways of Wessex tells the story of Wessex’s roads in the early medieval period, at the point at which they first emerge in the historical record. This is the age of the Anglo-Saxons and an era that witnessed the rise of a kingdom that was taken to the very brink of defeat by the Viking invasions of the ninth century. It is a period that goes on to become one within which we can trace the beginnings of the political entity we have come to know today as England. In a series of ten detailed case studies the reader is invited to consider historical and archaeological evidence, alongside topographic information and ancient place-names, in the reconstruction of the networks of routeways and communications that served the people and places of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Wessex. Whether you were a peasant, pilgrim, drover, trader, warrior, bishop, king or queen, travel would have been fundamental to life in the early middle ages and this book explores the physical means by which the landscape was constituted to facilitate and improve the movement of people, goods and ideas from the seventh through to the eleventh centuries. What emerges is a dynamic web of interconnecting routeways serving multiple functions and one, perhaps, even busier than that in our own working countryside. A narrative of transition, one of both of continuity and change, provides a fresh and alternative window into the everyday workings of an early medieval landscape through the pathways trodden over a millennium ago. To purchase The Ancient Ways of Wessex, visit Oxbow Books.
Archaeologists and historians working in southern and northern Europe, explore diverse evidence — from landscape and burial archaeology to charters and chronicles — to discuss the relationships that constituted neighbourhoods and roles these played in the processes of state formation that can be observed in the peripheries of the Frankish world.
How were early medieval people connected to each other and to the wider world? In this collection, archaeologists and historians working in very different areas of early medieval Europe explore diverse evidence — from landscape and burial archaeology to charters and chronicles — to discuss the relationships that constituted neighbourhoods and the roles these played in the processes of state formation that can be observed in the peripheries of the Frankish world. What these case-studies teach us, the contributors argue, is that polities are formed not through the exclusive operation of either top-down or bottom-up agencies, but from the interplay between them. By exploring the ways in which local knowledge, social ties, and understandings of landscape interacted with higher-level authorities and institutions, we can gain real insights into the nature of early medieval power and people’s experiences of it. Marking the culmination of a collective effort that has spanned over a decade and three funded projects, this volume brings together case-studies from Spain, Italy, England, northern Frankia, Norway, and Iceland to offer a comparative view of polities and neighbourhoods in early medieval Europe. Drawing on new research, and offering new perspectives driven by an interdisciplinary approach, this volume is of relevance to a range of disciplines including archaeology, history, onomastics, geography, and anthropology. To purchase Polity and Neighbourhood, visit Brepols.
In this US edition of his new book, archaeologist Alex Langlands takes us into the ancient world of traditional crafts to uncover their deep, original histories.
In the midst of a seemingly endless supply of mass-manufactured products, we find ourselves nostalgic for products bearing the mark of authenticity—hand-made furniture, artisan breads, craft beers, and other goods produced by human hands. What often goes unnoticed is the transformation of our understanding of craft—or rather, craeft—in the wake of industrialization.
W.W. Norton & Company 2018
In this fascinating book, historian and popular broadcaster Alex Langlands goes in search of the mysterious lost meaning of cræft. Through a vibrant series of mini-histories, told with his trademark energy and charm, Langlands resurrects the ancient craftspeople who fused exquisite skill with back-breaking labour and passionately defends the renewed importance of cræft today.
Faber & Faber 2017
The Book of the Farm, written by the 19th-century farming expert Henry Stephens, was the indispensable farming ‘bible’ referred to by the historians living and working on the BBC series Victorian Farm. This brand new version has been fully revised and edited by Alex Langlands, who starred on the programme, to bring its timeless wisdom to a fresh audience.
Pavilion Books 2011
During World War Two Britain had to look to the land to provide the produce it had previously shipped in from abroad, meaning huge changes on both the agricultural and domestic scenes. Accompanying an 8-part BBC series and written by the three presenters who spend a year living on a reconstructed farm from the era, Wartime Farm sets these changes within a historical context and looks at the day-to-day life of that time.
Mitchell Beazley 2012
Following on from the hit BBC series Victorian Farm, this book accompanies a new 12-part BBC series. This time, Ruth Goodman, Alex Langlands and Peter Ginn take a leap forward in time to immerse themselves in an Edwardian community in the West Country.
Pavilion Books 2010
No electricity, no gas, no flushing toilet …and no tractor! Could you survive a year on a Victorian farm? In this fascinating time-travelling experiment Lion Television, with the BBC, follow a team of historians who will spend a year recreating farm life in 1885. Accompanying the series, this book follows the team as they try to run a farm using only materials and resources that would have been available to them in the Victorian era.
Pavilion Books 2009
This book compares community definition and change in the temperate zones of southern Britain and northern France with the starkly contrasting regions of the Spanish meseta and Iceland. The contributors to this book address what determined the size and shape of communities in the early historic past and the ways that communities delineated themselves in physical terms. The roles of the environment, labour patterns, the church and the physical proximity of residences in determining community identity are also examined.