Our directory of things of interest

University Directory

HIDDEN HISTORIES by Mary-Ann Ochota

HIDDEN HISTORIES by Mary-Ann Ochota
05 Dec
2016
There is so much history to the British landscape. What with its stone circles, hill forts, mines and umpteenth century cottages, the land is marked with centuries of use. This can make it hard to read, like a blackboard written on hundreds of times and never erased

Luckily, anthropologist and Time Team regular, Mary-Ann Ochota is here to offer you a hand. Hidden Histories is an accessible travelogue through time from prehistoric Britain to recent history. With the easy style of a handbook, it will help you become a Sherlock Holmes of the landscape, able to decipher clues and annoy your friends with factoids about British history. Ochota’s observations cover the specific, such as recognising the different types of ancient barrow, to the more general, such as the difference between the open, planned countryside of the midlands compared to the more enclosed, ancient countryside of lowland Wales and the South. Some of the most remarkable clues are those embedded in place names, and a useful dictionary reintroduces us to old meanings such as ‘aber-’a Welsh prefix for the mouth of a river or stream and ‘-caster’, ‘-chester’ and ‘-cester’, which indicate old Roman fortified sites.

She also delves into the rich history of pub names, which have been controversial for longer than you may think. ‘An editorial in The Spectator in 1710 bemoaned the fashion for foolish pub names, like Blue Boar and Flying Pig,’ she writes. However, she discusses the central role of pub signs too, which once were more than just festive decoration. ‘Pictoral signs were important in times when many people were illiterate – a crow, bull’s head or star were easy symbols to depict and recognise’. Overall, this book is a pleasure for anyone curious about the outdoors.

Click here to purchase Hidden Histories by Mary-Ann Ochota

NEVER MISS A STORY - Follow Geographical on Social

Want to stay up to date with breaking Geographical stories? Join the thousands following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and stay informed about the world.

More articles in REVIEWS...

Books

Read on for our reviews of some of the latest…

Books

by Paul Wapner • Polity Books • £9.99 (paperback)

Books

by Lucy Jones • Allen Lane • £20 (hardback)

Books

by Robert Twigger • Weidenfeld & Nicolson • £20/£13.99 (hardback/eBook)

Books

by Nick Danziger • Unbound • £50 (hardback)

Books

by Riaz Dean • Casemate • £20 (hardback)

Books

by Adam Rutherford • Weidenfeld & Nicolson • £12.99/£6.99 (hardback/eBook)

Books

by Emily Chappell • Profile • £14.99 (hardback)

Books

by Christiane Ritter • Pushkin Press  • £9.99 (paperback)

Books

by Sophy Roberts • Doubleday • £16.99 (hardback/eBook)

Books

by Kapka Kassabova • Granta Books • £14.99 (hardback)

Books

by Gaia Vince • Allen Lane • £20 (hardback)

Exhibitions

Photographer Claudia Andujar has spent 50 years documenting the lives…

Films

Monbiot demonstrates the shocking facts and presents a vision for…

Books

by Andrew Blum • The Bodley Head • £16.99 (hardback)

Books

by Sue and Patrick Cunningham • Papadakis • £40 (hardback)

Books

by Sanmao (translated by Mike Fu) • Bloomsbury • £16.99…

Books

by Matthew Woodward • Lanna Hall Publishing • £8.95 (paperback)

Books

by John Hemming • Hurst • £20 (hardback)