I recall once watching a television programme when Francis Pryor was explaining his work, "What the aristocrats had for breakfast I leave to Starkey [the royalist historian of the British establishment] I am interested in the ordinary people" he says. Yes! My heart and mind resonated in concurrence. Similarly, in the Introduction to Home, Pryor states his view that the Victorian period is named after a person who spent her life doing very little, and that it would be more aptly named the Navvian, after the navvies, many of them Irish, who constructed Britain, and who worked enormously hard. Again,I concur.
Pryor rejects top-down narratives. In these narratives history is believed to be created by elites. Thus he is uninterested in the behaviour of kings and the ruling class, and points out that a royal visit to a small town might make a mention in the history books, but changes nothing. Similarly he rejects the view that social change is always created by elites handing down decisions from the top, delivering the fruits of their superior wisdom to grateful, but dumb peasantry. This top-down view he associates with the now discredited "march of mankind model" which saw history as a linear progression driven by elite individuals, classes and races who drive the rest forward, if they can, dispensing with those who cannot make progress, often humanely but not always. In the top down model only the lives of elites are worth recording, the rest are the anonymous chaff of history.
Pryor supports the view that left to themselves ordinary people acting as groups and families have been responsible for much social progress as the human race has been driven forward. This view is termed bottom up explanation. It is interested in aspects of history and prehistory completely opposite to the top down view. Pryor is in this book using archaeology to study home life in prehistory. His is a view that is more fair to women than the top down view,for as we know elites have tended to be male, and in their history women are seen as being of secondary importance, rather like ornaments or hangers on, but in Pryor's attitude to history, which studies ordinary life, women and ordinary men are the main subject, and are seen as the engine of change throughout history,making decisions and working collectively towards their goals. In the top down view the ordinary people do not account, they are cannon and industry fodder, but in the the view from below,their feelings and concerns are the stuff of life itself and really matter. For these perspectives alone the book is worth reading.
But you also find that the author reveals something of his own personality in Home, speaking of personal experiences. He is particularly keen to give proper credit to his wife,Maisie Taylor, an archaeological boffin in her own right, an expert in ancient wood. Whereas for some men the woman is an anonymous dishwasher and cook, whose career is an added and unwanted extra, Pryor celebrates his wife and gives her credit. Maisie has appeared on television much less than Francis has, but we suspect that is by her choice.