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Edited by Lynch, Davies and Aldhouse-Green, published by Sutton Publishing at £25. 256pp Hbk. ISBN: 0-7509-2165-X (Reviewed by David Taylor)

If a recent letter in the pages of this magazine complaining about academic books on archaeology and history are anything to go by, then this book will not be everyone's cup of tea.

This wonderful, lavishly illustrated tome is a comprehensive examination of the prehistory of Wales by leading experts in the field. All of the authors are archaeologists from the University of Wales and one is formerly from the National Museum of Wales, so they obviously know what they are talking about. We are taken on an in-depth survey of Wales from the Palaeolithic through to the Iron Age. The progress of settlement, social structure and population are charted and put into context with climate, environment, vegetation, burial and death and religion. In here you will also find your old Welsh favourites such as Pentre Ifan and Bryn Celli Ddu with maps/plans of various hill forts and burial sites and detailed archaeological drawings of some of the artefacts.

This may be a little too in-depth for the casual reader who may do better in purchasing a guide book to some of the Welsh prehistoric sites (The Ancient Stones of Wales by Chris Barder is an excellent example). This book most definitely is aimed at those who have a serious, academic interest in Welsh prehistory. But don't let the in-depth surveys and examinations put you off. For those of you, like me, just off on holiday to Wales this will give you some valuable background to some of the better known and some less well known sites. Highly recommended.