Book Review: The Neolithic of Britain and Ireland by Vicki Cummings

Cummings provides a good, broad introduction to the Neolithic period in Britain and Ireland, that makes for accessible reading for a general interested audience as well as students looking to familiarize themselves better with the period. Although the focus is on the Neolithic, Cummings does cover the end of the Mesolithic and the start of the Bronze Age for context.

Each chapter opens with an introduction to the specific subject to follow, then goes into specific examples and trends, before providing a concluding summary and further reading.

Unlike some other books, Cummings doesn’t simply focus on the “stones and bones” of material culture and instead makes some effort to think about the people and their practices, and how these relate to what material culture is covered. If there’s a weakness in the book, it’s Cumming’s hesitancy to touch on wider issues, especially when there is much more that can be said on language and beliefs, and even DNA analysis of populations.

However, this does make for a good read and general overview, with other books filling the gaps – there are plenty recommended.

Overall, a decent broad introduction of the Neolithic period that aims to be reasonably comprehensive about key ideas and themes, but without becoming bogged down in simply describing every aspect of material culture as some others do. The only real negative is that I made so many notes that I exceeded the publishers limit for exporting them from my Kindle!

The Neolithic of Britain and Ireland by Vicki Cummings is available on Amazon.