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

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 ...

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

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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: 1/9/2013
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 700,770
  • Product dimensions: 7.90 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 1.40 (d)

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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Table of Contents

Preface
Chapter 1. Frameworks for Europe's Past
Geography and Environment
Geology
Raw Materials
Past Climates
Time and Chronology
A Very Short History of European Archaeology
Chapter 2. The First Europeans
Early Europeans
Atapuerca, Spain, 1,300,000 year ago
Boxgrove, England, UK, 500,000 years ago
Schöningen, Germany, 400,000 years ago
Neanderthals
Krapina, Croatia,130,000 years ago
Salzgitter-Lebenstedt, Germany, 55,000 years ago
El Sidrón, Spain, 43,000 years ago
Grotte du Renne, France, 40,000 years ago
Vindija Cave, Croatia, 34,000 years ago
Ancient DNA
Neanderthal Diet
Some Reflections
Chapter 3. The Creative Explosion
Origin and Spread of Modern Humans
The Upper Paleolithic
Pestera cu Oase, Romania, 40,000 years ago
Grotte Chauvet, France, 32,000 years ago
Grande Grotte, France, 32,000 years ago
Dolní Věstonice, Czech Republic, 27,500 years ago
Grotte de la Vache, France, 14,000 years ago
Gönnersdorf, Germany, 11,500 years ago
Pincevent, France, 12,000 years ago
Doggerland, North Sea, 11,000 BC
The Last Hunters
Franchthi Cave, Greece, 9000 BC
Mount Sandel, Ireland, 7000 BC
Moita do Sebastaio, Portugal, 6000 BC
Polderveg, Netherlands, 5500 BC
Tybrind Vig, Denmark, 5000 BC
Vedbæk, Denmark, 5000 BC
Rock Art: Vingen, Norway, 5000 BC
Some Reflections
Chapter 4. The First Farmers
The Origins and Spread of Agriculture
Shillourokambos, Cyprus, 8200 BC
Nea Nikomedeia, Greece, 6200 BC
Lepenski Vir, Serbia, 6200 BC
Vinca, Serbia, 5500 BC
Rudna Glava, Serbia, 5000 BC
Varna, Bulgaria, 4500 BC
Passo di Corvo, Italy, 6000 BC
Linearbandkeramik
Vaihingen, Germany, 5300 BC
Polished Flint Axes
Spiennes, Belgium, 4400 BC
La Draga, Spain, 5000 BCArbon Bleich, Switzerland, 3384 BC
Ötzi, Italy, 3300 BC
The Megaliths of Western Europe
Skara Brae, Orkney Islands, UK, 3200 BC
Stonehenge, UK, 3100 BC
Newgrange, Ireland, 3100 BC
Los Millares, Spain, 3200 BC
Hal Saflieni, Malta, 3600 BC
Rock Art: Barranco de la Valtort, Spain, 5500 BC
Some Reflections
Chapter 5. Bronze Age Warriors
The Rise of Metals
The Bronze Age in the Aegean
Knossos, Crete, Greece, 3000 BC
Akrotiri, Greece, 1627 BC
Mykene, Greece, 1600 BC
Uluburun, Turkey, 1300 BC
The Bronze Age North of the Alps
Bell Beaker
Amesbury Archer, UK, 2470 BC
The Indo-Europeans
Croce del Papa, Italy, 2150 BC
Poggiomarino, Italy, 1600 BC
Nebra, Germany, 1600 BC
Bronze Age Finds
Sun Chariot, Denmark, 1400 BC
Bronze Lurs, Denmark, Sweden, ca. 1000 BC
Gold Hats, Germany, ca. 1000 BC
Flag Fen, UK, 1350 BC
Salcombe, UK, 1000 BC
Rock Art: Tanum, Sweden, 1500 BC
Some Reflections
Chapter 6. Centers of Power, Weapons of Iron
At the Edge of History
The Celts
The Germans
The Scythians
Making Iron
Biskupin, Poland, 738 BC
The Etruscans
Necropoli della Banditaccia, Italy, 650 BC
Hallstatt, Austria, 800 BC
Hochdorf, Germany, 530 BC
Vix, France 480 BC
Danebury, UK, 550 BC
Grauballe, Denmark, 300 BC
Manching, Germany, 300 BC
Gournay-sur-Aronde, France, 280 BC
Ribemont-sur-Ancre, France, 260 BC
Celtic Religion
Maiden Castle, UK, 43 BC
Some Reflections
An Epilogue. Past and Present - Lessons from Prehistoric Europe
Europe before Rome
Significance
Relevance
Preservation
Appreciation
References
Credits
Index

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