Barry Cunliffe is an archaeological phenomenon. As an undergraduate he uncovered Fishbourne Palace near Chichester, arguably the home of Rome's client king Cogidubnus. Elected to the Society of Antiquaries when only twenty-four, he became Southampton's first Professor of Archaeology two years later, before getting the Oxford Chair when still a few months short of his thirty-third birthday. A string of notable excavations in southern England ran parallel to this: Roman Bath, with its buried temple to Sulis Minerva; the great Saxon Shore fort of Portchester; the Iron Age hillfort of Danebury; and the trading station on Hengistbury Head, which linked Britain to similar ports across the Channel in north-west France. All of these were published in exemplary fashion, sometimes with a popular book complementing the scholarly monograph. From being a British archaeologist, Barry Cunliffe then became a European one, working in France and producing both the prize-winning Facing the Ocean: The Atlantic and Its Peoples, 8000 BC to AD 1500 and The Extraordinary Voyage of Pytheas the Greek in 2001.
Pytheas (along with other early explorers and geographers from Hecataeus of Miletos to Ingvar the Widefarer) appears again at the beginning of Cunliffe's new book, Europe Between the Oceans, as he swivels his gaze from longitude – Facing the Ocean covered roughly 6–8 degrees West over a long north-south span