Desert Peoples: Archaeological Perspectives / Edition 1

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Desert Peoples: Archaeological Perspectives provides an issues-oriented overview of hunter-gatherer societies in desert landscapes that combines archaeological and anthropological perspectives and includes a wide range of regional and thematic case studies.

  • Brings together, for the first time, studies from deserts as diverse as the sand dunes of Australia, the U.S. Great Basin, the coastal and high altitude deserts of South America, and the core deserts of Africa
  • Examines the key concepts vital to understanding human adaptation to marginal landscapes and the behavioral and belief systems that underpin them
  • Explores the relationship among desert hunter-gatherers, herders, and pastoralists
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“This is an up-to-date and theoretically broad-ranging comparative treatment of desert hunter-gatherer archaeology and ethnology that introduces a new, fresh generation of scholars and issues. Bravo!” Richard Gould, Brown University

“Desert Peoples shows how important the world’s arid habitats have always been during the course of human evolution. The geographical scope of the contributions is breathtaking, their comparative approach to dynamics and interactions compelling. I congratulate the editors for making the desert bloom for human prehistory.” Clive Gamble, Royal Holloway, University of London

“A superb synthesis…. The authors use the opportunity to set out several probing questions that will underpin future research on how societies adapt to challenging environments.” John Dodson, Brunel University and University of Western Australia

"Competent, well-written summaries of local culture history...several of the essays merit serious attention from readers of this journal." Archaeology in Oceania

"In this era of regional and topical specialisation, which often leads to perochialism, the editors of this book can take great satisfaction in having provided a venue for looking at the big picture."
Australian Archaeology

"Desert Peoples: Archaeological Perspectives is an essential source for those interested in hunting-gathering lifeways." Laurie Milne, Canadian Journal of Archaeology

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781405100915
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 1/24/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.75 (w) x 9.70 (h) x 0.66 (d)

Meet the Author

Peter Veth is Director of Research at the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, Canberra. He is the author of over 100 articles and books on the archaeology of arid zone hunter-gatherers.

Mike Smith is Director of Research and Development at the National Museum of Australia. He pioneered research into late Pleistocene settlement in the Australian desert and has worked extensively across the arid zone attempting to piece together its human and environmental history.

Peter Hiscock is a Reader in the School of Archaeology and Anthropology at the Australian National University.

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Table of Contents

1 Global deserts in perspective 1
2 Theoretical shifts in the anthropology of desert hunter-gatherers 17
3 Pleistocene settlement of deserts from an Australian perspective 34
4 Arid paradises or dangerous landscapes : a review of explanations for paleolithic assemblage change in arid Australia and Africa 58
5 Evolutionary and ecological understandings of the economics of desert societies : comparing the Great Basin USA and the Australian deserts 81
6 Cycles of aridity and human mobility : risk minimization among Late Pleistocene foragers of the western desert, Australia 100
7 Archaic faces to headdresses : the changing role of rock art across the arid zone 116
8 The archaeology of the Patagonian deserts : hunter-gatherers in a cold desert 142
9 Perspectives on later Stone Age hunter-gatherer archaeology in arid Southern Africa 161
10 Long-term transitions in hunter-gatherers of coastal Northwestern Australia 177
11 Hunter-gatherers and herders of the Kalahari during the Late Holocene 206
12 Desert archaeology, linguistics stratigraphy, and the spread of the western desert language 222
13 People of the coastal Atacama Desert : living between sand dunes and waves of the Pacific Ocean 243
14 Desert solitude : the evolution of ideologies among pastoralists and hunter-gatherers in arid North Africa 261
15 Hunter-gatherer interactions with sheep and cattle pastoralists from the Australian arid zone 276
16 Conclusion : major themes and future research directions 293
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