Book Reviews [Treasure Hunting, December 2009, Page 53]
British Artefacts Vol. 1: Early Anglo-Saxon by Ted Fletcher
Brett Hammond is building a growing reputation as a writer on coins and antiquities. He is also known to many detectorists as a source of sound information and advice for anyone who wants to identify, or dispose of, detected finds. Now he has brought all of his expertise together between the covers of a book surely destined to become essential reading for all in the hobby and many beyond.
Volume 1, of what will eventually evolve to a comprehensive series covering all cultures in British history down to post-medieval, concentrates on the date range encompassing the first embryonic Germanic settlements to the emergence of autonomous Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. Previously this period has often been tacked on to the Anglo-Saxon story as a somewhat shadowy interlude between the end of Roman rule and the full flowering of the Middle Saxon centuries. But the author has brought together a wealth of information on Germanic metalwork and ceramics; describing in more than one hundred informative pages their various styles and methods of production; discussing brooches, buckles, studs, strap ends and sliders, clasps, spears, swords, scabbard fittings, shields, axes, a rich variety of bowls and vessels, pendants, bracteates, bracelets, girdle-hangers, keys, earrings, finger rings, harness fittings, even non-metallic artefacts in amber and bone, as well as glassware, gemstones, and more.
The text describes all of these wonderful finds with great accuracy and precision; so well that this volume would have proved a highly informative work without illustrations. But the author enriches the pages with around two-hundred professional photographs, twenty maps, and museum quality artwork.
British Artefacts: Vol.1 is a serious and authoritative work that will satisfy its academic readers and probably every readers of this magazine. I particularly like the way a difficulty familiar to all writers of books on collecting has been handled: the need to provide valuations that are not out of date almost before the first print run of a new guide or catalogue has sold out. Readers of British Artefacts are invited to visit a website where a regularly updated classification for each object covered in the book can be viewed. Thus the copy you buy will remain relevant on valuations for many years to come. My verdict: Absolutely essential reading for all who pursue this hobby as a quest for knowledge as much as a quest for finds. I can't wait for Vols II and III, covering Middle Anglo-Saxon and Viking; and Late Anglo-Saxon and Norman. I'm informed they are already on the stocks.
British Artefacts by Brett Hammond is published by Greenlight Publishing.
Chris Rudd Comments
Thank you very much indeed for sending me a copy of British Artefacts Vol. 1. Like all Brett Hammond enterprises, this book exudes quality - quality research, quality writing, quality illustration, quality production. It is a magnificent book - a work of Early Anglo-Saxon art and a work of art in its own right. This is more than an authoritative reference book; it is a compulsive and pleasurable read for anyone remotely interested in the period. Well done, Brett!
I must also congratulate you on the dynamic manner in which you are developing TimeLine Originals. I cannot recall another dealership which has grown in such a well planned, purposeful and productive way. I take enormous delight in seeing someone who comes into coins and antiquities from an entirely different commercial background and who then revolutionises the business with great gusto and formidable flair. I'm sure that your forthcoming auctions will prove successful. I'm equally certain that you thoroughly deserve all the success that you and your team are currently having - and al the triumphs that you and your team will share together in the future.
There is no substitute for the entrepreneur who has a vision and who then pursues that vision with unflagging vitality.
Once again, well done, Brett!
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