The Past in Perspective: An Introduction to Human Prehistory / Edition 5

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Overview


Ideal for introduction to archaeology and world prehistory courses, The Past in Perspective: An Introduction to Human Prehistory, Fifth Edition, is an engaging and up-to-date chronological introduction to human prehistory. Kenneth L. Feder introduces students to "the big picture"--the grand sweep of human evolutionary history--presenting the human past within the context of fundamental themes of cultural evolution. Written in a refreshingly accessible voice, this narrative of human prehistory personalizes the past and makes it relevant to today's students.

Using a consistent chapter format--Prelude, Chronicle, Issues and Debates, and Case Study Close-up--Feder helps students master both what we know and what is still being debated about the complex story of the human past. Each chapter also includes an overview; a timeline of events, maps pinpointing locations of sites discussed, site lists with page references, a chapter summary, key terms (defined in the glossary at the back of the book), and suggested reading lists.

New to This Edition

* Updated information about early hominin finds, including Ardipithecus (Chapter 3), Homo floresiensis (Chapter 4), Sima del Elefante Cave in Spain (Chapter 4), the reconstruction of the Neandertal genome (Chapter 5), and the spectacular array of artifacts recovered at Hohle Fels Cave in Germany (Chapter 6)

* New information on methodology, such as strontium isotype analysis for tracing geographic sources (Chapter 2), molecular archaeology (Chapter 5), and forensics (Chapter 1)

* New information and a summary that updates our understanding of the peopling of the Americas and Australia (Chapter 7)

* New chapter (8) "After the Ice: The Food-Producing Revolution"--a combined and streamlined version of Chapters 8 and 9 of the Fourth Edition--with new information about China and the domestication of the horse, as well as the complex at Gobeckli Tepe in Turkey

* New information on the Olmec and the recent excavation at Stonehenge (Chapter 9)

* A reorganization and updating of Chapters 10 and 11, with significant new material on China

* A greatly expanded discussion of the roots of complexity in Mesoamerica, South America, aboriginal North America, and sub-Saharan Africa (Chapters 12-14)

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
This accessible introduction to the human prehistoric past focuses on major themes of the human story, such as toolmaking and the impact of social complexity. Begins with the evolution of early hominids, traces the evolution of the modern human species, and follows paths humans took in the development of complex civilizations. Learning features include chapter overviews and opening anecdotes, boxes on unresolved issues and debates, and case studies of archaeological sites. Includes b&w and some color photos of sites and artifacts. The second edition places more emphasis on post-Pleistocene societies. The author is associated with Central Connecticut State University. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
From the Publisher

"The approach of The Past in Perspective is extremely effective for introductory courses. The author stays neatly on topic, providing concise, well-written overviews of the most crucial information and issues, and giving crisp summations of recent discoveries and current debates. Feder's approach to paleoanthropology and archaeological knowledge is the most effective I have seen for introducing students to the deep history of human origins."--Mark A. Rees, University of Louisiana-Lafayette

"I really like the 'Issues and Debates' feature. It demonstrates that archaeology is not a magical science that has every answer to the questions of antiquity and allows students to see that science proceeds in fits and starts, with a lot of debate about the interpretation of archaeological materials. It also allows for students to bring their own ideas to the issues at hand."--Dean H. Wheeler, Glendale Community College

"I find Feder's writing style one of the most engaging and student-friendly of any current, comparable text on the market. More importantly, so do my students. Every semester I ask students to evaluate the text, and over the years they have voted overwhelmingly in favor of retaining the book, because of their favorable response to his writing style."--Jim G. Shaffer, Case Western Reserve University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195391350
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 11/12/2010
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 5
  • Pages: 576
  • Sales rank: 393,482
  • Product dimensions: 7.50 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Kenneth L. Feder is Professor of Anthropology at Central Connecticut State University. He is the author or coauthor of several books, including Linking to the Past: A Brief Introduction to Archaeology, Second Edition (OUP, 2007); Frauds, Myths, and Mysteries: Science and Pseudoscience in Archaeology (2010); and Human Antiquity: An Introduction to Physical Anthropology and Archaeology (2006).

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Table of Contents

Preface
Chapter 1. Prologue to the Past
An Archaeological Genealogy • An Anthropological Perspective • Our Human Genealogy
Chapter 2. Perceiving the Past: An Intellectual History
An Evolutionary Philosophy • An Ancient World? • A Wreck of a World • Equable and Steady Change • Ancient Humans? • The Slow Agency of Existing Causes • Ancient Humans Revisited • Charles Darwin and the Antiquity of Life • The Origin of Species • Cultures Evolving • Our Modern View
Chapter 3. Probing the Past
Epistemology: How We Know What We Know • Paleoanthropological and Archaeological Sites • Analyzing Archaeological Data • Determining the Age of a Site or Specimen
Chapter 4. African Roots
(and more...)
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