We usually like to form our own opinions of books. But in this case it's worth quoting a couple of headline reviews by others that appear, for obvious reasons, on the covers of "Roman Britain and Where to Find It" by Denise Allen and Mike Bryan. First we have "The best guide to finding Britannia!"; and then "An absolute must-buy for anyone interested in Roman Britain."
We quote these reviews by others because we feel they sum up this outstanding book perfectly. While it's tempting to end our review at that point, it might help to spell out just a little more clearly why we think this book is so good.
What you find within a reasonably portable format - certainly a format that will fit the glove-box of your car very easily - is a truly indispensable guide for anyone who has ever watched a back-episode of Time Team and wanted to find out, to offer another (possibly mis-)quote, "what did the Romans ever do for us?" To put it simply, the book sets out to provide information about every Roman site and every museum with Roman aretfacts worth visiting in England, Wales and Scotland. Entries range in size from a few paragraphs to - in the case of York - four pages. There are attractive and helpful colour illustrations throughout as well as some maps, whether of Roman York or for each geographical section within the book.
As that implies, the book is divided into geographical sections, nine of them. Six cover regions of England; one covers Hadrian's Wall; and there is one each for Wales and Scotland. In looking at the book we've tended to focus on the areas we know best, Hadrian's Wall and Scotland. These sections really are superb, providing a very nice balance between depth and breadth of coverage. As far as we can see, the Scottish section covers everything worth covering north of the border, with locations listed alphabetically. The section covering Hadrian's Wall takes a geographical approach that leads readers through things to see in different sectors of the wall: and agasin seems to cover the ground very well indeed.
"Roman Britain and Where to Find It" by Denise Allen and Mike Bryan really is essential reading for anyone with any interest at all in the Romans in Britain.