The Modern Antiquarian


The stones of Callanish are explored again, this time by an energetic and erudite Julian Cope. The Modern Antiquarian was a 55-minute TV documentary produced by the BBC in 2000 as a spin-off from Cope’s book-length study of the ancient past of the British Isles, The Modern Antiquarian: A Pre-Millennial Odyssey Through Megalithic Britain (1998). Cope has always been a great enthusiast, blessed with a talent for communicating that enthusiasm in his own inimitable manner. Needless to say this film, which follows him while he visits some of his favourite neolithic sites, is nothing like the standard television approach to archaeology. Cope isn’t an academic (thank Odin) yet his book is 448-pages of deep investigation which involved visiting every one of the sites he was writing about; he’s also not that other television standby, the shallow audience proxy, he’s too well-informed for that. It would have been good if this one-off film had developed into a series but for its original screening it was shunted into a late-night slot where few people would have seen it. Cope then, as now, is probably too intense for a general audience.

The Modern Antiquarian: part 1 | part 2 | part 3 | part 4 | part 5 | part 6


Previously on { feuilleton }
Callanish panoramas

One thought on “The Modern Antiquarian”

  1. That’s a blast from the past. I remember seeing this book when it was released as my mum worked for a publishing company and I always ended up thumbing through some random books. Remember laughing at the phonetic pronunciations (I was only 12), but I never thought the design really matched the subject matter.

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