In "Barbarians to Angels", one of the world's leading archaeologists offers a surprising look at the least-appreciated period of European history: the so-called Dark Ages. The barbarians who destroyed Rome demolished civilisation along with it and for the next four centuries the people of Europe barely held on. The picture of the Dark Ages that most historians promote is one of random violence, mass migration, disease and starvation. But archaeology tells a different story and here Peter S. Wells surveys the archaeological record to demonstrate that the Dark Ages were not dark at all. The kingdoms of Christendom that emerged from the ninth century sprang from a robust, previously little-known, European culture, albeit one that left behind few written texts. This culture achieved heights in artistry, technology, craft production, commerce and learning. Future assessments of the period between Rome and Charlemagne will need to incorporate this fresh new picture.