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Bones, Rocks, and Stars: The Science of when Things Happened

Overview

Understanding how we pinpoint the past is crucial to putting the present in perspective and planning for the future. Now, for the first time, journalist and geologist Chris Turney explains to the non-specialist exactly how archaeologists, paleontologists, and geologists "tell the time". Each chapter explores one famous event or object from the past, walking readers step by step through the detective work used to determine when things happened. From the Ice Age to the pyramids, from human evolution to the Shroud ...

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Overview

Understanding how we pinpoint the past is crucial to putting the present in perspective and planning for the future. Now, for the first time, journalist and geologist Chris Turney explains to the non-specialist exactly how archaeologists, paleontologists, and geologists "tell the time". Each chapter explores one famous event or object from the past, walking readers step by step through the detective work used to determine when things happened. From the Ice Age to the pyramids, from human evolution to the Shroud of Turin, Turney reveals how written records, carbon, pollen, constellations, DNA sequencing, and more all play a part in solving the mystery of the true age of objects and events. As we struggle to manage current environmental threats and conservation troubles, we ignore or misunderstand these techniques and their results at our peril.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"If you like detective stories, you'll love this book. It should satisfy the hungriest of infovores."—New Scientist"absorbing...will appeal to a wide audience, particularly those who got a kick out of Blink or Freakonomics." Publishers Weekly"A fabulous, entertainingly written account of the amazing science

behind calendars, dates and dating objects. Essential reading for anyone

interested in prehistory." Professor Tim Flannery, Director of the South Australian Museum

"A rollicking run through the story of telling the time - lively and well-researched, with many fascinating stories." Professor Michael Benton, author of When Life Nearly Died

"This delightful introduction successfully fuses history, prehistory and earth science. It captures the imagination from its first page, and then takes the reader on a fun and fact-filled world tour through the past."— Professor Tim White, University of California at Berkeley

"What I like best about the book: It's a scientist clearly explaining what he does for a living and why it is important, at a level that any literate person can understand. Not an easy accomplishment." —scienceblogs.com/pharyngula

"5/5: a book that tackles [these] issues is welcome indeed—that it succeeds so brilliantly is a wonderful surprise." Peter Andrews of the Natural History Museum, BBC Focus Magazine

"Well researched and covers a lot of ground in a splendidly personal style. Highly recommended" —Quaternary Australasia

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780230551947
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 12/26/2007
  • Edition description: Revised
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 200
  • Sales rank: 750,199
  • Product dimensions: 5.52 (w) x 7.33 (h) x 0.54 (d)

Meet the Author

Chris Turney did the radiocarbon dating on the recent "Hobbit" fossil and is a geologist at the University of Exeter, UK.

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Table of Contents

List of Figures and Tables

List of Permissions and Figure Sources

Acknowledgements

Introduction

The Ever-changing Calendar

A hero in a dark age

The Forged Cloth of Turin

The Pyramids and the Bear's Groin

The Volcano that Shook Europe

The Mandate from Heaven

The Coming of the Ice

The Lost Worlds

And Then there was One

The Hole in the Ground

Towards the Limits of Time

Epilogue: Time's up for Creationism

Further Reading

Index

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