Europe before Rome: A Site-by-Site Tour of the Stone, Bronze, and Iron Ages

Europe before Rome: A Site-by-Site Tour of the Stone, Bronze, and Iron Ages

by T. Douglas Price
     
 

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Werner Herzog's 2011 film Cave of Forgotten Dreams, about the painted caves at Chauvet, France brought a glimpse of Europe's extraordinary prehistory to a popular audience. But paleolithic cave paintings, stunning as they are, form just a part of a story that begins with the arrival of the first humans to Europe 1.3 million years ago, and culminates in the

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Overview

Werner Herzog's 2011 film Cave of Forgotten Dreams, about the painted caves at Chauvet, France brought a glimpse of Europe's extraordinary prehistory to a popular audience. But paleolithic cave paintings, stunning as they are, form just a part of a story that begins with the arrival of the first humans to Europe 1.3 million years ago, and culminates in the achievements of Greece and Rome.

In Europe before Rome, T. Douglas Price takes readers on a guided tour through dozens of the most important prehistoric sites on the continent, from very recent discoveries to some of the most famous and puzzling places in the world, like Chauvet, Stonehenge, and Knossos. This volume focuses on more than 60 sites, organized chronologically according to their archaeological time period and accompanied by 200 illustrations, including numerous color photographs, maps, and drawings. Our understanding of prehistoric European archaeology has been almost completely rewritten in the last 25 years with a series of major findings from virtually every time period, such as Ötzi the Iceman, the discoveries at Atapuerca, and evidence of a much earlier eruption at Mt. Vesuvius. Many of the sites explored in the book offer the earliest European evidence we have of the typical features of human society—tool making, hunting, cooking, burial practices, agriculture, and warfare. Introductory prologues to each chapter provide context for the wider changes in human behavior and society in the time period, while the author's concluding remarks offer expert reflections on the enduring significance of these places.

Tracing the evolution of human society in Europe across more than a million years, Europe before Rome gives readers a vivid portrait of life for prehistoric man and woman.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this richly illustrated, elegantly written guide to European prehistory, archeologist Price, professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin–Madison (Images of the Past), takes us on a remarkable journey from the very earliest prehuman cultures to the Iron Age of warfare, empires, and human strife. He describes evidence that two million years ago, the first migrants from Africa—Homo antecessor—arrived in Europe. Sites at Atapuerca, Spain, indicate that Homo antecessor ate meat “and sometimes... each other,” and that they fashioned hand axes out of stone. After following Homo’s continuing evolution, Price guides readers on a whirlwind tour of European human history, examining the raw materials and technological and cultural artifacts that provide deep insights into that history. For example, archeological digs in Crete, Greece, and Rome beginning around 3000 B.C.E. reveal mobile, wealthy, and martial societies where weapons and warfare were pre-eminent; the Bronze Age was marked by conflict as larger societies sought to acquire land, slaves, and wealth from their neighbors. Focusing on dozens of specific sites at particular times (e.g., Pincevent, France, 12,000 years ago), Price’s lush survey of major archeological sites in Europe provides a rich and engrossing introduction to what he calls an “extraordinary heritage.” 288 illus., 219 b&w.(Dec.)
From the Publisher
"In this richly illustrated, elegantly written guide to European prehistory, archeologist Price...takes us on a remarkable journey from the very earliest prehuman cultures to the Iron Age of warfare, empires, and human strife.... Focusing on dozens of specific sites at particular times, (e.g., Pincevent, France, 12,000 years ago), Price's lush survey of major archeological sites in Europe provides a rich and engrossing introduction to what he calls an 'extraordinary heritage.'"—Publishers Weekly

"Price takes readers on a grand tour of prehistoric Europe.... A great book for the lay reader as well as for specialists."—Brian Renvall, Library Journal

"Archaeologist Price deftly covers a very wide range of significant European archaeological sites, and for each does an extraordinary job of situating them in space, reviewing their discovery, and summarizing the important contributions they make to understanding the past. He does this with abundant illustrations of the countryside, the excavations themselves, artifacts, and reconstructions based on the sites.... [T]he volume will have wide appeal, finding readers in college and university libraries and more generally in public libraries, large and small. Highly recommended."—R. B. Clay, CHOICE

"Engagingly written and lavishly illustrated, this thoughtful, place-by-place survey to the latest discoveries at 65 important archaeological sites across Europe will serve as a wonderful introduction for undergraduates as well as a fascinating guide-book for archaeological tourists, real and armchair."—David Anthony, Hartwick College

"Europe Before Rome is an outstanding overview of European prehistory, a story of human accomplishments known only through archaeology that established the foundations for later civilizations. By illuminating landmark sites and placing them in a wider context, Professor Price has constructed a compelling and very readable narrative of prehistoric life."—Peter Bogucki, Princeton University

"Douglas Price provides a new take on a popular European prehistory by narrating the many new discoveries that reshaped our understanding of it during the last 25 years, intersected with overviews that contextualize the evidence. It is a vitalizing approach, and one that will inspire the student and the general reader alike."—Kristian Kristiansen, Göteborgs Universitet

"Europe before Rome is an excellent and highly readable overview of European prehistory, based on case studies of over 60 of the most important archaeological sites in Europe, from the time of the first inhabitants some million years ago to the end of the Iron Age with the Roman conquest. It is a clear and well-presented introduction to European prehistoric archaeology for students and other interested readers at all levels."—Peter Wells, University of Minnesota

Library Journal
Price (archaeology, emeritus, Univ. of Wisconsin; Images of the Past) takes readers on a grand tour of prehistoric Europe. He does an exemplary job of examining the history of humans in Europe, beginning with the appearance of Homo antecessor and leading up to a time just before Rome conquered the majority of the European landmass. He does this in a chronological manner, using the sites and artifacts in an entirely uncontrived way. The results reveal how technology and innovation—especially from the Stone to the Iron Age—propelled humanity forward. Price points out that while archaeology is unable to unlock all of the ways of our progenitors, it does divulge many key aspects of how they lived. He makes us understand that even our most humble discoveries and accomplishments, taken cumulatively, are dramatic and call to mind Isaac Newton's phrase that we, indeed, stand on the shoulders of giants. VERDICT A great book for the lay reader as well as for specialists. The numerous illustrations, tables, and maps throughout the book are an excellent complement to the text.—Brian Renvall, Mesalands Community Coll., Tucumcari, NM

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780199914708
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Publication date:
01/09/2013
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
432
Sales rank:
558,049
Product dimensions:
7.90(w) x 10.10(h) x 1.40(d)

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Meet the Author

T. Douglas Price is Weinstein Professor of European Archaeology Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His books include Principles of Archaeology, Europe's First Farmers, and the leading introductory textbook in the discipline, Images of the Past.

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