Thank you for visiting us. We are currently updating our shopping cart and regret to advise that it will be unavailable until September 1, 2014. We apologise for any inconvenience and look forward to serving you again.

Wiley
Wiley.com
Print this page Share

Creating Prehistory: Druids, Ley Hunters and Archaeologists in Pre-War Britain

ISBN: 978-1-4051-5505-2
336 pages
June 2008, Wiley-Blackwell
Creating Prehistory: Druids, Ley Hunters and Archaeologists in Pre-War Britain (1405155051) cover image
Creating Prehistory deals even-handedly and sympathetically with the creation of several different sorts of prehistory during the volatile period between the two World Wars.
  • Investigates the origins of professional archaeology in Britain during the inter-war period
  • Brings to life many fascinating and controversial personalities and their creeds, including the archaeologists O. G. S. Crawford, Mortimer Wheeler and Gordon Childe; Grafton Elliot Smith and W. H. R. Rivers (of ‘Regeneration’ fame); Alfred Watkins and The Old Straight Track; and the thunderous George Watson Macgregor Reid, who brought the Druids back to Stonehenge
  • Examines the production of archaeological knowledge as a social process, and the relationship between personalities, institutions, ideology, and power
  • Addresses the ongoing debates of the significance of sites such as Stonehenge, Avebury, and Maiden Castle
See More
List of Illustrations.

Acknowledgements.

Introduction: Power and the Past.

Part I: Disciplining the Past:.

1. Manufacturing The Past: The Victorian Background.

2. Establishing the Discipline.

3. Containing the Amateurs.

Part II: Contesting Utopia:.

4. Making Progress.

5. The Politics of Socialism.

6. The Diffusion Heresy: Nurture and the Primitive.

7. Establishing Diffusion.

8. A Clash of Narratives: Diffusion and the Archaeologists.

Part III: The Most Ancient Faith:.

9. The Esoteric Revival.

10. The Universal Bond.

11. Stonehenge: A Mecca of Celtic Idealism.

Part IV: Order and Civilization:.

12. The Aesthetics of Order.

13. The Old Straight Track.

14. The Straight Track Postal Club.

15. Straight Track to Beyond.

16. Visions of Civilization.

Conclusion: Archaeology and Social Transformation.

Notes.

Bibliography.

Index
See More
Adam Stout is a Research Fellow in Archaeology at the University of Wales, Lampeter. His pioneering study of urban cowkeeping in 1978 marked him out as a historian of the unusual. Other works include The Thorn and the Waters: Miraculous Glastonbury in the Eighteenth Century (2007); What's Real and What Is Not: Reflections upon Archaeology and Earth Mysteries in Britain (2006); Pimlico: Deep Well of Glee (1997); The Old Gloucester: Study of a Cattle Breed (1980); and a series of acclaimed artistic collaborations including Where Two Rivers Meet: The Story of Kennet Mouth (1994).
See More

  • Investigates the origins of professional archaeology in Britain during the inter-war period
  • Brings to life many fascinating and controversial personalities and their creeds, including the archaeologists O. G. S. Crawford, Mortimer Wheeler and Gordon Childe; Grafton Elliot Smith and W. H. R. Rivers (of ‘Regeneration’ fame); Alfred Watkins and The Old Straight Track; and the thunderous George Watson Macgregor Reid, who brought the Druids back to Stonehenge
  • Examines the production of archaeological knowledge as a social process, and the relationship between personalities, institutions, ideology, and power
  • Addresses the ongoing debates of the significance of sites such as Stonehenge, Avebury, and Maiden Castle
See More

“Most refreshing, and the great value of this book, is the way it looks beyond the traditional mainstream of archaeological endeavour to evaluate the contributions of Druids, ley hunters, and what from the early 1960s onwards Glyn Daniel colourfully and cruelly dismissed as the “lunatic fringe” (Daniel 1962: 1 66).”  (Time and Mind, 1 July 2012)

"A lively and thoroughly engaging read which grabs the reader’s attention from the start ... .Stout’s excellent work is, of course, more than just a set of entertaining anecdotes; it is informative, illuminating and important … .An essential read." (The Prehistoric Society, March 2009)

"Creating Prehistory is radical and passionate, welcome things in a world of academic research that is itself increasingly professionalised ... The story that Stout tells so well is far from irrelevant for archaeology. Not only does it shed light on the exclusions of the discipline and how they have come to exist, it also shows in compellingly human detail that the study of prehistory is never only, never really about the distant past at all." (British Archaeology, January February 2009)

"An excellent new book … .[Stout] reminds us how much the pioneer lay hunters were also strongly involved in the growing outdoor movement of the pre-war years." (Cambrian News, January 2009)

"A fascinating account of archaeology in the first half of the 20th Century." Western Daily Press"It is a complex story and Stout tells it well … He is good at linking apparently disparate phenomena." (Morning Star)

"Written in a sparkling, compelling and very accessible style, with a superb sense of pace, drama, fun and irony, Creating Prehistory is a wonderfully courageous and fluent questioning of the nature of archaeology, based on a tremendous amount of original research."
Ronald Hutton, Bristol University

"In Creating Prehistory Adam Stout offers a compelling account of the visions, philosophies, rivalries and eccentricities shaping the British archaeological landscape."
David Matless, University of Nottingham

"Adam Stout’s book is a thrilling and innovative contribution to the history of archaeology. Stout makes the unprecedented move of placing the prehistoric archaeology of the inter-war years alongside druids, ley-hunters and hyper-diffusionists, investigating the social, political and historical conditions that affected each. The results are both surprising and enlightening."
Julian Thomas, University of Manchester

"Creating Prehistory is an engagingly provocative contribution to current debates on how the past is produced, in writing and illustration and on the ground in excavation and preservation. It recovers the knowledge and imagination of lay, often local, enthusiasts in pre-war Britain from the condescension of a new archaeological establishment keen to enclose and police the boundaries of prehistoric expertise. Thoroughly researched, from many previously untapped sources, and accessibly and entertainingly written, Creating Prehistory will appeal to a wide readership, interested in sites of antiquity and how those places have been viewed and debated in the recent past."
Stephen Daniels, University of Nottingham

"Prehistory is a contentious affair, and Adam Stout's story of just how competitive narratives can get is illuminating in its exposure of archaeology's dirty war against visionaries."
John Billingsley, Editor, Northern Earth

"Adam Stout's new book gives the inside story of British archaeology in the first half of the 20th century. He brings to light the various groups and individuals, especially the revived Order of Druids, who opposed the low-level, reductionist view of Stonehenge and prehistoric culture that the authorities were insisting upon. This is a new and well-told story about a controversy that is still going on."
John Michell, author of The View Over Atlantis

See More
Back to Top