Shadowland: Wales 3000 – 1500 BC


Author: Steve Burrow

Publishers: Oxbow Books and National Museum Wales

Pages: 192

Copyright: 2011

Synopsis: This is the story of life in Wales over a period of 1,500 years, as gleaned from the remains its inhabitants left behind. These people had no writing so they have left us no names and no records of their deeds. Instead we have the possessions they treasured in life, the broken remains of their bodies and the marks they left on the landscape. The people of these 15 centuries have remained essentially anonymous, in the shadows of prehistory. In part, these shadows have fallen by choice: from 3000 to 2200 BC, people built few monuments and buried very few of the worldly goods which they must certainly have possessed while, for the period 2200 until 1500 BC, monuments were built in profusion and the dead were buried in great numbers. The lives revealed seem filled with rituals that defy easy comprehension and the motivations of those who lived them are difficult to grasp. While thousands of burials are known and dozens of meeting places and ceremonial centres have been uncovered, hardly any settlements or houses are known. But the legacy of these people can even be seen far beyond their own lands: they provided stones for Stonehenge and began carving copper ore from the hills, in a process that would eventually create the largest mine in prehistoric Europe. In this beautifully illustrated book, Steve Burrows coaxes these shadowy figues back into the light.

Review: This was certainly an interesting book to read.  I don’t know much about Wales Prehistory but this book really filled me in.  This is an archeology book, and you really get a sense of how these people lived, what they might have done for their burial rites, as well as how industrialized they were (for their time).  I found a lot of great similarities between the Welsh prehistory and the Irish one.  I would highly recommend this book to all of my friends who are interested in Wales.

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7 thoughts on “Shadowland: Wales 3000 – 1500 BC

  1. Dafydd says:

    Good review, this book sounds like a good guide to Welsh prehistory – something to go on my wishlist. I suppose there really is a strong connection between Wales and Ireland that goes back a long way. Some Welsh burial chambers like Barclodiad y Gawres in North Wales have lots of similarities with stone chambers in Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth in the Boyne valley in Ireland. These markings tend to be completely unique between Irish and Welsh prehistoric tombs.

  2. Thanks, I’ve tried to make it into a fun exercise for kids. Will do the Aubrey holes next.

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