Patterns in Prehistory: Humankind's First Three Million Years / Edition 5

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Who are we? How did the world become what it is today? What paths did humanity traverse along the way?

Patterns in Prehistory, Fifth Edition, is a comprehensive and engaging survey of humanity's past three million years. It brings together theories and archaeological examples to pose questions about who we are and the means by which humanity evolved into what it is today.
Ideal for introductory courses in world prehistory and origins of complex societies, Patterns in Prehistory, Fifth Edition, offers a unified and thematic approach to the four great transformations—or patterns—that characterize humanity's past: the origins and evolution of culture; the origins of modern humans and human behaviors; the origins of agriculture; and the origins of complex societies, civilizations, and pre-industrial states. Integrating theoretical approaches with archaeological data from the Middle East, Mesoamerica, North and South America, Egypt, China, the Indus Valley, and temperate Europe, Patterns in Prehistory, Fifth Edition, reveals how archaeologists decipher the past. It demonstrates how theory and method are combined to derive interpretations and also considers how interpretations evolve as a result of accumulating data, technological advances in recording and analyzing data sets, and newer theoretical perspectives.

This new edition of Patterns in Prehistory provides:

* Fresh insights with the addition of coauthor Deborah Olszewski, who has carefully reviewed and revamped the material with an eye toward making the text clearly understandable to today's students
* Updated discussions throughout, including expanded information on post-processual archaeology, current methodologies, and technological advances
* Approximately 250 illustrations and maps, more than half of which are new to this edition
* Groundbreaking research on new discoveries of hominin fossils, genetic research, prehistoric migrations, the peopling of the Americas, and theories of the origins of agriculture and the origins of complex societies
* Timelines for all relevant chapters as well as an overarching timeline for the entire book to help students place events in context
* Extensively updated chapter bibliographies and chapter endnotes

The second edition of this comprehensive review of world prehistory is more compact and even easier to use.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"I've read the entire volume, word for word, in part because I continue to learn new things from every revision of Wenke's work. It continues to be the best introductory book on world prehistory on the market. The text is easily accessible and serious at the same time, and I highly recommend it for courses that are designed as overviews of the emergence of modern humans as a biological and social species."—Terence N. D'Altroy, Columbia University

"Patterns in Prehistory does a better job of covering the whole scope of archaeological achievement than any other book on the market."—Paul Zimansky, Boston University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195169287
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 8/2/2006
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 5
  • Pages: 640
  • Sales rank: 276,732
  • Product dimensions: 9.20 (w) x 7.40 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

University of Washington
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Table of Contents

Chapters 1-15 end with a Summary and Conclusions.
Chapter 1. Prehistory, History, and Archaeology
What Are Archaeologists Looking For? (The Meaning of the Past)
Archaeology as the Reconstruction of Extinct Cultures and Their Histories
Archaeology as a Body of Theories and Methods for Explaining the Past
A Short History of Attempts to Understand the Past
Chapter 2. Fundamentals of Archaeology
Archaeologists and the Practice of Archaeology
The Basic Data of the Past
Analyses of the Past
Dating the Past
Chapter 3. The Origins of Culture
The Problem of Cultural Origins
The Nature of Culture
The Ecological Context of Cultural Origins
Models of Cultural Origins
Chapter 4. The Origins of Homo sapiens sapiens
Human Evolution and Radiation: 1.8 million to Circa 300,000 Years Ago
Homo sapiens: Models of Origins
The Middle to Upper Paleolithic Period
Human Colonization of the World: Circa 30,000-10,000 Years Ago
Chapter 5. The First Americans
Routes for the Initial Colonization of the Americas
Evidence for the First Americans
Early Paleoindian Economies
Chapter 6. The Origins of Agriculture
Agriculture, Domestication, and Sedentary Communities
Hypotheses About the Origins of Domestication, Agriculture, and Sedentary Communities
Early Domestication and Agriculture: The Post-Paleolithic Background
The Origins of Domestication, Agriculture, and Sedentary Communities in Southwest Asia
Other Old World Domesticates
Agricultural Origins in the New World
Chapter 7. The Evolution of Complex Societies
Social Complexity and Human Values
Traditional Sociocultural Typologies
Contemporary Approaches to Sociocultural Typology
The Archaeology of Complex Societies
Explaining the Evolution of Civilizations: The Search for Causes
Chapter 8. Origins of Complex Societies in Southwest Asia
The Ecological Setting
Fundamentals of the Southwest Asian Archaeological Record
The Neolithic Origins of Southwest Asian Civilization
Initial Cultural Complexity
Early States: The Uruk and Jemdet Nasr Periods
The Early Dynastic Period
Southwest Asia After 2350 B.C.
Chapter 9. The Origins of Complex Societies in Egypt
The Ecological Setting
Early Egyptian Agriculture
The Predynastic Period
The Archaic, Old Kingdom, and First Intermediate Periods
The Middle Kingdom and Second Intermediate Periods
The New Kingdom and Third Intermediate Periods
Ancient Egyptian Art and Thought
Egyptian Writing and Literature
Who Were the Ancient Egyptians?
Chapter 10. The Evolution of Complex Societies in the Indus Valley
The Ecological Setting
The Neolithic Background to South Asian Cultural Complexity
The Neolithic-Urban Transition
Early Harappan Culture
Mature Harappan Civilization
The Decline of Harappan Civilization
Chapter 11. The Evolution of Complex Societies in China
The Ecological Setting
Early Farmers
Regional Neolithic Developments in North China
Early Complex Chinese Societies
Erh-li-t'ou Culture
Shang Civilization and Its Contemporaries
Early Imperial China
Chapter 12. Later Complex Societies of the Old World
Temperate Europe
A Brief Overview of Other Later Old World Complex Societies
Colonization of the Western Pacific Islands
Chapter 13. The Evolution of Complex Societies in Mesoamerica
The Ecological Setting
Early Mesoamerican Farming
The Archaeological Record of Early Complex Mesoamerican Societies
The Archaeological Record of Mesoamerican States in the Valleys of Mexico and Oaxaca
The Maya
Postclassic Mesoamerica
The Spanish Conquest
Chapter 14. The Evolution of Complex Societies in Andean South America
The Ecological Setting
Early Hunters and Gatherers
The Agricultural Basis of Andean Civilization
The First Complex Societies in Andean South America
The Early Horizon
The Early Intermediate Period: Early States
The Middle Horizon: Competing States
The Late Intermediate Period: Early Empires
The Late Horizon: The Imperial Transformation
The European Conquest
Chapter 15. Early Cultural Complexity in North America
The Ecological Setting
The North American East
The North American Southwest
Chapter 16. Prehistory in Perspective
Our Intellectual Heritage
Lessons of Prehistory
The Future of Archaeology
Art Credits

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