Saturday, 8 November 2008

British History: History in Focus: The Beaker People

The Beaker culture reached Britain from across the English Channel and a had a major impact on life in pre-historic Britain: not only did the Beaker People bring the earliest metal objects of copper and gold, but they also brought a new burial rite to the isles. In contrast to the earlier Neolithic tribes who had buried their dead in communal graves under long barrows, the Beaker People had individual burials, usually under round barrows, which were built and re-used for 1000 years.

The Beaker culture got its name from the distinctly shaped clay pots these people placed next to their dead in addition to other grave goods such as copper daggers, gold trinkets, flint arrowheads, and archer's wristguards made of stone. These grave goods were either the possessions of the dead person and/or they might have been intended as provisions for (the journey into) the afterlife. Men were usually given more grave goods than women, and the objects that were buried with them typically indicated their warrior status. The beakers themselves likely contained some sort of alcoholic beverage.

Info courtesy of the British Museum; male Beaker person can be found in Room 51 of the upper floor at the museum.

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

British History: The Christianisation of the British Isles

On one of my other blogs I've posted a short article on the Christianisation of the British Isles. You can find it here.

Whitby Abbey (from Wikipedia)

Sunday, 6 April 2008

British History 02

In the second episode I talk about prehistoric and early medieval Britain, and we travel all the way from the ice age to the Norman conquest.

The White Horse of Uffington

In THE BRITISH ISLES - A NATURAL HISTORY Alan Titchmarsh does a wonderful job of describing what Britain looked like during the ice age and thereafter, and how humans started to change the face of Britain:

Ice Age

The Taming of the Wild

Saturday, 5 April 2008

DVD Recommendations

Here are some snippets from the DVDs I recommended:





Friday, 21 March 2008

British History 01

In this first episode I talk about the geography of the British Isles, about the languages spoken on the British Isles, as well as about the flags and saints of the United Kingdom.

Unfortunately, I've somehow managed to record the beginning and the main part of this episode in two different qualities, so there's a noticable break after the intro -- sorry about that! I will probably have to record this whole podcast in a lower quality anyway, to ensure that I won't exceed my 100 MB per month. :)


Recommended Reading for the British History Series:

  • Mike Corbishley et al. The Young Oxford History of Britain and Ireland. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1996. (The latest edition is published under the title of The History of Britain and Ireland. -- Most of my students find this the easiest book to work with.)

  • Barry Cunliffe et al., eds. The Penguin Illustrated History of Britain and Ireland: From Earliest Times to the Present Day. London: Penguin, 2004. (This was first published under the title of The Penguin Atlast of British and Irish History. It contains great overviews, but many of the relevant historical events we discuss in CS1 are not included.)

  • Michael Maurer. Kleine Geschichte Englands. Rev. ed. Stuttgart: Reclam, 2002. (Well, obviously, the big disadvantage of this book is that it's written in German.)

Most of the information about British geography used in the first episode is from:
  • John Oakland. British Civilization: An Introduction. 3rd ed. London: Routledge, 1995.

DVDs you might find interesting:
  • How We Built Britain (present. David Dimbleby, BBC)

  • A Picture of Britain (present. David Dimbleby, BBC)

  • The British Isles -- A Natural History (present. Alan Titchmarsh, BBC)

  • Coast (Open University)

From Ben Nevis to the Isles of Scilly (excerpt from The British Isles -- A Natural History

Saturday, 8 March 2008

Welcome to Books, Cats & Me!

Welcome to a brandnew blog, which is going to explore new methods of teaching and learning! Books, Cats, & Me accompanies a podcast of the same title, where I will post recordings of the courses I teach at the University of Mainz, Germany. One the one hand, I hope both blog and podcast will help my students with revisions. But on the other hand, I also hope I will able to reach beyond my own classroom and introduce them to aspects of British literature. So please feel free to chime in with thoughts, comments, or questions whenever you like.

I hope you'll enjoy Books, Cats, & Me! :)