Review by Trevor Creighton
This book is, in part, an update of D W Harding’s 2009 publication, The Iron Age Roundhouse. Significant new insights from the author justify the updated title, however.
The chronology now extends from the later Neolithic into the post-Roman period. Furthermore, the roundhouse is treated not as a specifically British phenomenon, but considered in relation to Irish and north-eastern European archaeology. The constructional aspects of roundhouses are reconsidered with considerable insight, as is the relationship between structured spaces in roundhouses and later rectilinear buildings.
While Rethinking Roundhouses provides a useful snapshot of the state of knowledge on the subject, its most exciting aspect lies in the author’s suggestion that we should reconceptualise roundhouses in terms of both design and function. Rethinking Roundhouses will deservedly find its way on to the shelves of university libraries. Although it is a relatively expensive and niche publication, I would recommend it to anyone with an interest in architecture and settlement in late prehistoric Britain.
Rethinking Roundhouses: later prehistoric settlement in Britain and beyond D W Harding Oxford University Press, £83 ISBN 978-0192893802