Human evolution tends to be understood in terms of a development from inferior to superior, primitive to advanced, the simple to the complex. In this book Gamble attempts to dispel some of the myths and distortions that this way of perceiving the human past has produced. He looks at human prehistory and behaviour through a detailed study of global colonization and adaptation to climate and environment, and seeks to introduce a fresh approach to the causes behind this dispersal of humans. In the course of his study he presents the latest findings of prehistoric archaeology, and a critique of the attitudes of early European explorers and twentieth-century scholars to the question of human origins.
Author: Neil MacGregor
Publisher: Penguin UK
Release Date: 2011-10-06
This book takes a dramatically original approach to the history of humanity, using objects which previous civilisations have left behind them, often accidentally, as prisms through which we can explore past worlds and the lives of the men and women who lived in them. The book's range is enormous. It begins with one of the earliest surviving objects made by human hands, a chopping tool from the Olduvai gorge in Africa, and ends with an object from the 21st century which represents the world we live in today. Neil MacGregor's aim is not simply to describe these remarkable things, but to show us their significance - how a stone pillar tells us about a great Indian emperor preaching tolerance to his people, how Spanish pieces of eight tell us about the beginning of a global currency or how an early Victorian tea-set tells us about the impact of empire. Each chapter immerses the reader in a past civilisation accompanied by an exceptionally well-informed guide. Seen through this lens, history is a kaleidoscope - shifting, interconnected, constantly surprising, and shaping our world today in ways that most of us have never imagined. An intellectual and visual feast, it is one of the most engrossing and unusual history books published in years.
This volume presents the archaeological & anthropological foundations of the landscape learning process. A series of case studies examines interpretations of landscape learning from the movements of pre-modern humans into Europe, post-glacial migration into America & the English colonists at Jamestown.
Author: Anna Prentiss
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
Release Date: 2009-09-18
Genre: Social Science
Cultural evolution, much like general evolution, works from the assumption that cultures are descendent from much earlier ancestors. Human culture manifests itself in forms ranging from the small bands of hunters, through intermediate scale complex hunter-gatherers and farmers, to the high density urban settlements and complex polities that characterize much of today’s world. The chapters in the volume examine the dynamic interaction between the micro- and macro-scales of cultural evolution, developing a theoretical approach to the archaeological record that has been termed evolutionary processual archaeology. The contributions in this volume integrate positive elements of both evolutionary and processualist schools of thought. The approach, as explicated by the contributors in this work, offers novel insights into topics that include the emergence, stasis, collapse and extinction of cultural patterns, and development of social inequalities. Consequently, these contributions form a stepping off point for a significant new range of cultural evolutionary studies.
Author: John F. Hoffecker
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Release Date: 2007-06-26
Twenty-five thousand years ago, sea level fell more than 400 feet below its present position as a consequence of the growth of immense ice sheets in the Northern Hemisphere. A dry plain stretching 1,000 miles from the Arctic Ocean to the Aleutians became exposed between northeast Asia and Alaska, and across that plain, most likely, walked the first people of the New World. This book describes what is known about these people and the now partly submerged land, named Beringia, which they settled during the final millennia of the Ice Age. Humans first occupied Beringia during a twilight period when rising sea levels had not yet caught up with warming climates. Although the land bridge between northeast Asia and Alaska was still present, warmer and wetter climates were rapidly transforming the Beringian steppe into shrub tundra. This volume synthesizes current research-some previously unpublished-on the archaeological sites and rapidly changing climates and biota of the period, suggesting that the absence of woody shrubs to help fire bone fuel may have been the barrier to earlier settlement, and that from the outset the Beringians developed a postglacial economy similar to that of later northern interior peoples. The book opens with a review of current research and the major problems and debates regarding the environment and archaeology of Beringia. It then describes Beringian environments and the controversies surrounding their interpretation; traces the evolving adaptations of early humans to the cold environments of northern Eurasia, which set the stage for the settlement of Beringia; and provides a detailed account of the archaeological record in three chapters, each of which is focused on a specific slice of time between 15,000 and 11,500 years ago. In conclusion, the authors present an interpretive summary of the human ecology of Beringia and discuss its relationship to the wider problem of the peopling of the New World.
Author: Michael Chazan
Release Date: 2017-08-22
Genre: Social Science
An Integrated Picture of Prehistory as an Active Process of Discovery World Prehistory and Archaeology: Pathways through Time, fourth edition, provides an integrated discussion of world prehistory and archaeological methods. This text emphasizes the relevance of how we know and what we know about our human prehistory. A cornerstone of World Prehistory and Archaeology is the discussion of prehistory as an active process of discovery. Methodological issues are addressed throughout the text to engage readers. Archaeological methods are introduced in the first two chapters. Succeeding chapters then address the question of how we know the past to provide an integrated presentation of prehistory. The fourth edition involves readers in the current state of archaeological research, revealing how archaeologists work and interpret what they find. Through the coverage of various new research, author Michael Chazan shows how archaeology is truly a global discipline. Learning Goals Upon completing this book, readers will be able to: * Gain new perspectives and insights into who we are and how our world came into being. * Think about humanity from the perspective of archaeology. * Appreciate the importance of the archaeological record for contemporary society.
Author: John F. Hoffecker
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Release Date: 2011-05-31
Genre: Social Science
In Landscape of the Mind, John F. Hoffecker explores the origin and growth of the human mind, drawing on archaeology, history, and the fossil record. He suggests that, as an indirect result of bipedal locomotion, early humans developed a feedback relationship among their hands, brains, and tools that evolved into the capacity to externalize thoughts in the form of shaped stone objects. When anatomically modern humans evolved a parallel capacity to externalize thoughts as symbolic language, individual brains within social groups became integrated into a "neocortical Internet," or super-brain, giving birth to the mind. Noting that archaeological traces of symbolism coincide with evidence of the ability to generate novel technology, Hoffecker contends that human creativity, as well as higher order consciousness, is a product of the superbrain. He equates the subsequent growth of the mind with human history, which began in Africa more than 50,000 years ago. As anatomically modern humans spread across the globe, adapting to a variety of climates and habitats, they redesigned themselves technologically and created alternative realities through tools, language, and art. Hoffecker connects the rise of civilization to a hierarchical reorganization of the super-brain, triggered by explosive population growth. Subsequent human history reflects to varying degrees the suppression of the mind's creative powers by the rigid hierarchies of nationstates and empires, constraining the further accumulation of knowledge. The modern world emerged after 1200 from the fragments of the Roman Empire, whose collapse had eliminated a central authority that could thwart innovation. Hoffecker concludes with speculation about the possibility of artificial intelligence and the consequences of a mind liberated from its organic antecedents to exist in an independent, nonbiological form.
Author: Eviatar Zerubavel
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Release Date: 2011-11-04
Genre: Social Science
Genealogy has long been one of humanity's greatest obsessions. But with the rise of genetics, and increasing media attention to it through programs like Who Do You Think You Are? and Faces of America, we are now told that genetic markers can definitively tell us who we are and where we came from. The problem, writes Eviatar Zerubavel, is that biology does not provide us with the full picture. After all, he asks, why do we consider Barack Obama black even though his mother was white? Why did the Nazis believe that unions of Germans and Jews would produce Jews rather than Germans? In this provocative book, he offers a fresh understanding of relatedness, showing that its social logic sometimes overrides the biological reality it supposedly reflects. In fact, rather than just biological facts, social traditions of remembering and classifying shape the way we trace our ancestors, identify our relatives, and delineate families, ethnic groups, nations, and species. Furthermore, genealogies are more than mere records of history. Drawing on a wide range of evidence, Zerubavel introduces such concepts as braiding, clipping, pasting, lumping, splitting, stretching, and pruning to shed light on how we manipulate genealogies to accommodate personal and collective agendas of inclusion and exclusion. Rather than simply find out who our ancestors were and identify our relatives, we actually construct the genealogical narratives that make them our ancestors and relatives. An eye-opening re-examination of our very notion of relatedness, Ancestors and Relatives offers a new way of understanding family, ethnicity, nationhood, race, and humanity.
Author: Jürgen Osterhammel
Publisher: Franz Steiner Verlag Wiesbaden gmbh
Release Date: 2008
World history is one of the most dynamic fields of international historical science - and one of its most diverse. This anthology publishes recent studies and discussions that demonstrate the thematic and methodological variety of world history. German text.
Author: Brian M. Fagan
Publisher: Pearson College Division
Release Date: 2002
Written by one of the leading archaeological writers in the world--in a simple, jargon-free narrative style--this brief, well-illustrated account of the major developments in the human past (from the origins of humanity to the origins of literate civilization) is ideal for those with no previous knowledge of the subject. Up to date and state of the art in content and perspective, it covers the entire world (not just the Americas or Europe), placing major emphasis on both theories and the latest archaeological and multidisciplinary approaches. The main focus is on four major developments--the origins of humanity; the appearance and spread of modern humans before and during the late Ice Age, including the first settlement of the Americas; the beginnings of food production; and the rise of the first civilizations. Features special boxes on Science (e.g., key dating methods and other scientific approaches), Sites (e.g., sites of unusual importance or interest, and Voices (e.g., quotes from writings of ancient times). Human Origins. African Exodus. Diaspora. The Origins of Food Production. The First Farmers. Chiefs and Chiefdoms. State-Organized Societies. Mesopotamia and the Eastern Mediterranean World. Egypt and Africa. South, Southeast, And East Asia. Lowland Mesoamerica. Highland Mesamerica. Andean Civilizations. For anyone interested in Archaeology, World Prehistory, Human Antiquity.
Author: Hannah L. Cobb
Publisher: British Archaeological Reports Ltd
Release Date: 2005
Genre: Sports & Recreation
This volume stems from sessions at the 2004 Theoretical Archaeology Conference at Glasgow University, entitled "Hunter-Gatherers in Early Prehistory" and "Hunting for Meaning: Interpretive Approaches to the Mesolithic." The sessions came about as a response to a continuing lack of appreciation of new developments in theoretical approaches to the archaeology of prehistoric hunter-gatherers both in the Pleistocene and Holocene. Contents: 1) Hunter-Gatherers in Early Prehistory (Fiona Coward & Lucy Grimshaw); 2) Upper Palaeolithic Social Colonisation and Lower Palaeolithic Biological Dispersal? A Consideration of the Nature of Movements into Europe During the Pleistocene (Lucy Grimshaw); 3) Transitions, Change and Prehistory: An Ecosystemic Approach to Change in the Archaeological Record (Fiona Coward); 4) Darwin Vs. Bourdieu - Celebrity Deathmatch or Postrocessual Myth? A Prolegomenon for the Reconciliation of Agentive-Interpretive and Ecological-Evolutionary Archaeology (Felix Riede); 5) We're Not Waiting Any More - Or, Hunting for Meaning in the Mesolithic of North-West Europe (Hannah Cobb & Steven Price); 6) Midden, Meaning, Person, Place: Interpreting the Mesolithic of Western Scotland (Hannah Cobb); 7) Reconstructing the Social Topography of an Irish Mesolithic Lakescape (Aimee Little); 8) Can't See the Trees for the Wood: The Social Life of Trees in the Mesolithic of Southern Scandinavia.
Author: E. J. Peltenburg
Publisher: Council for British Res
Release Date: 2004
The move towards a sedentary way of life had a profound effect on the human way of life: the development of complex societies can be directly attributed to the beginnings of farming in place of a nomadic hunter-gatherer lifestyle. When Gordon Childe coined the term 'Neolithic revolution' he meant it to reflect these vast changes that had occurred in the near east. But recent studies have challenged the notion that Cyprus was not occupied prior to the island's Neolithic period, and indeed it now seems as though Cyrpus has been overlooked unfairly. This book extends the reach of the Neolithic revolution to include Cyprus, presenting new evidence that shows that the island played host to settled farming communities at the same time as the mainland, pushing its habitation back by 2000 years. Included in this volume are papers on colonisation, the devlopment of farming, lithic usage, trade, and symbolism.
Author: David J. Meltzer
Release Date: 2010-11
"Meltzer's compelling account of the data and the debates takes readers behind the scenes of the often contentious arguments that have redirected the scientific pursuit of the first Americans."--Tom D. Dillehay, author of The Settlement of the Americas "In remarkably comprehensive and lucid fashion, Meltzer synthesizes the complex and commonly conflicting evidence for the earliest human presence in the Americas and provides an honestly told lesson about the workings of scientific thought."--David Hurst Thomas, author of Skull Wars "A natural storyteller, David Meltzer gives us a vivid picture of both the colonizing bands of humans who moved into the Americas and the researchers who followed their footsteps from Alaska to Chile. This is an insider's account, told with a keen eye and sense of humor, as if Meltzer were there when discoveries were made and when disputes were aired--as, indeed, he often was."--Ann Gibbons, author of The First Human: The Race to Discover our Earliest Ancestors "The settling of the Americas has been a first-rate scientific puzzle since Columbus stumbled across the peoples of the Caribbean. David Meltzer is its ideal chronicler: a major participant in the research that is unlocking the mystery and a fine writer with a wry humor. Thank goodness there aren't too many scientists like him--science journalists like me would be out of business."--Charles C. Mann, author of 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus