Late Iron Age Oppida Conference, Reading University, 22/04/2017


On Saturday 22nd April 2017 the Henley Business School at Reading University’s Whiteknights campus was home to the Prehistoric Society’s Late Iron Age Oppida conference.


After an early start and a smooth journey, Chris and Lizzy the Apprentice had a very successful day of bookselling, networking, and meeting new customers, along with some familiar faces. Considering it was Lizzy’s first conference, here’s how she got on…

“I found it extremely interesting, especially when we got the chance to dip into some of the lectures. I found out about the specifics of earthworks surveys and how they help to map out the area during digs. It was so fun to meet all the new people, find out their interests and help them to find what they were looking for, whether we had brought it with us or I knew it was on the shelves back home. It was, overall, a really fun day (albeit sometimes a little manic when the bookstall was flooded with people). It was absolutely jam-packed with information, new faces, and new opportunities.”

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Chris was very pleased to have spotted numerous notable figures of prehistoric archaeology, including Mike Fulford, Philip Crummy, Richard Bradley, and Sir Barry Cunliffe (who certainly looked happy to see a selection of his books on Danebury and other hillforts selling rapidly). The excellent papers and accomplished company made for a fantastic day, and he can’t wait for the next conference.

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Many congratulations to Simon Smith- the winner of our £100 voucher prize draw- from all of us here at Archaeology Plus, and Patter the Office Dog!!

We’d like to thank everyone at The Prehistoric Society and Reading University for accommodating us, and another huge thank you to all the speakers, and of course everyone who bought our books!


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Unearthing the interests in Archaeology?

As the new team are still learning the tricks of the trade, we wanted to know more into the history of how this company came about. Both the owners have such different approaches to the topics, so we wanted to dig to get some interesting answers.


Julia’s question was… Why does Prehistory interests you the most and what got you hooked on the topic? 

My interest in prehistory is really an abiding curiosity about origins. It always begs more questions for me when I read, for example, that the first humans left the safety of forest life and decided instead to roam the dangerous open savannahs of Africa. Why would they do that? How could a dangerous scavenging type of life lead to brain development? And then the idea of hunter-gatherer versus farmer makes me want to say, how do you know people were one thing or the other, and how do you know that one followed on from the other? Why couldn’t people be doing both, at the same time, according to their environment?


Chris was asked… Why do the Romans interest you the most and what got you hooked on the topic?

Sometime in the late 1950s my parents took me to see the Roman theatre at Verulamium (St Albans).  As a bright inquisitive child I was spellbound by the sight of the Roman pillars and the seating tiers rising out of the ground and on the way out, I bought a large rusty Roman nail for 6d (2.5p). After that I was hooked on the Romans and have read avidly about digs and archaeological research for 50 years since, as well as visiting most of the visible Roman remains in Britain and many in France and Germany as well.

We then asked them both to tell us the reasons behind why Archaeology Plus was born…

I am not an archaeologist but I read books on the fringe of archaeology. My current bedtime reading is Bruce Pascoe’s ‘Dark Emu: black seeds: agriculture or accident?’ A riveting collection of reports from the early settlers in Australia, giving the lie to the popularised story of primitive nomads living in makeshift camps and eating witchetty grubs! It builds a picture of  a continent-wide civilisation that developed over thousands of years and included house building, fish farming, grain production and storage, and co-operative management of resources. And it kind of makes you sad that all that could have been destroyed by settlers with an obsession for sheep farming.      Julia
I bought books over many years from Castle Bookshop in Llandyssil and when they announced in 2009 that they were selling up, Julia and I agreed to take over the business from them and we launched Archaeology Plus. The last eight years have been a whirlwind of learning the trade, going to conferences, seminars and excavation sites and buying and selling books throughout. We now have a team of 4 staff, full and part-time and are hoping to step back a bit from the day to day running of the company and focus on our personal interests more.     Chris