Peter S. Wells


On his book Barbarians to Angels: The Dark Ages Reconsidered (now in paperback

Cover Interview of October 27, 2009

In a nutshell

My book is about the peoples who are often referred to as “barbarians” during the period commonly known as “the Dark Ages.”  I argue that far from being the uncivilized and unaccomplished peoples whom many Late Roman writers described, the communities of the early Middle Ages achieved great heights in artistic creativity, technology, manufacturing, and commerce.

The special approach of Barbarians to Angels is to use the archaeological evidence of these peoples, rather than trying to understand them by taking at face value the assertions of Roman writers.  The Romans were not part of these societies.  So I use the direct evidence of material culture to understand how people of early medieval Europe fashioned their social, economic, and religious worlds.