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Overview

This comprehensive book tells a narrative story of human prehistory to a reader with little or no archaeological experience or background. Designed to show how today's diverse humanity developed biologically and culturally over millions of years and against a background of constant climatic change, it treats all areas of the world evenly, and covers all periods of prehistory from human origins to the appearance of literate civilizations. Recent discoveries, new archaeological methodologies, and the latest theories of human biological and cultural evolution add to the excitement of this adventure in archaeology. The tale begins with human origins and ends with the Spanish Conquest of Mexico and Peru in the fifteenth century A.D. It spans the origins of food production and the development of civilization—not only in classic areas of archaeological research like Europe, southwestern Asia, and Mesoamerica—but in such lesser known regions as southeast Asia, Africa, and the Pacific. For individuals who recognize the importance of knowing the past to understand the future—and our world today.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Engaging, easy to read, and the supplements help the education process. . . it is a perfect tool for teachers to send students off to read before lectures. "

- Stephen Brighton, University of Maryland

“I've always appreciated the coverage of South and Southeast Asia. Also the different theoretical perspectives and debates.”

- Jaida Samudra, University of Wisconsin - Green Bay

“I don't think there is a better way to arrange the book. The text and material are teachable and easily translatable to lectures and presentations.”

- Steve Corbett, Johnson County Community College

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780132274081
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall
  • Publication date: 3/2/2006
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 12
  • Pages: 624
  • Product dimensions: 8.42 (w) x 10.74 (h) x 0.83 (d)

Meet the Author

Brian Fagan is one of the world’s leading archaeological writers and an internationally recognized authority on human prehistory. He studied archaeology and anthropology at Pembroke College, Cambridge University, and then spent seven years in sub-Saharan Africa working in museums and in monuments conservation and excavating early farming sites in Zambia and East Africa. He was one of the pioneers of multidisciplinary African history in the 1960s. From 1967 to 2003, he was professor of anthropology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he specialized in lecturing and writing about archaeology to wide audiences. He is now Emeritus Professor of Anthropology.

Brian Fagan has written several best-selling textbooks and has published several scholarly monographs on African archaeology and numerous specialized articles in national and international journals. An expert on multimedia teaching, he has received the Society for American Archaeology’s first Public Education Award for his tireless efforts on behalf of archaeology and education

Brian Fagan’s other interests include bicycling, sailing, kayaking, and good food. He is married and lives in Santa Barbara with his wife and daughter, three cats (who supervise his writing), and last but not least, a minimum of seven rabbits.

Nadia Durrani is an archaeologist and writer. For much of the past decade she was the editor of Britain’s best-selling archaeology magazine, Current World Archaeology, becoming an independent editor after the arrival of her son in 2010. She has authored and edited many hundreds of articles on archaeology from every corner of the globe, contributed to dozens of books, and written two.

Throughout her career she has travelled widely --from Peru to Pakistan--to report on the latest archaeological discoveries; worked as a specialist lecturer on archaeological tours to countries including Yemen and Jordan; and contributed to a range of television documentaries.

Her specialist area is Arabian archaeology and, following a degree in archaeology and anthropology from Cambridge University, she took a PhD in South West Arabian archaeology from University College, London (2001). Other research interests include the archaeology of the First World War and she is a founding member of the Great War Archaeology Group. A fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, she lives in London with her husband, Matthew, and son Jacob ‘Caractacus’ Hillier.

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Read an Excerpt

PREFACE:

PREFACE

Golden pharaohs, lost cities, grinning human skeletons—archaeology is the stuff of romance and legend. Many people still think of archaeologists as adventurers and treasure hunters, like Indiana Jones of Hollywood movie fame seeking the elusive Holy Grail. This enduring image goes back to the late nineteenth century, when archaeologists like Heinrich Schliemann of Troy fame could still find lost civilizations and excavate three royal palaces in a week. Today, few, if any, archaeologists behave like Indiana Jones. They are scientists, not adventurers, as comfortable in an air-conditioned laboratory as they are on a remote excavation. The development of scientific archaeology from its Victorian beginnings ranks among the greatest triumphs of twentieth-century science. Archaeology has changed our perceptions of ourselves in profound ways, giving us a better understanding of our biological and cultural diversity. Welcome to the fascinating world of archaeology!

The tenth edition of People of the Earth comes at a time when new discoveries and archaeological methodologies are deeply affecting our understanding of the human past. This edition continues a more-than-25-year tradition of clear, jargon-free writing for the beginning student, the incorporation of the latest scholarship, and an accessible (five-part) organization of the story of world prehistory. This time, I have added both valuable new content and effective new pedagogy to what has always been a straightforward narrative. But the basic objective remains the same: to provide an interesting journey through the 5-million-year-old landscape of the human past. At thesame time, the book attempts to achieve geographical balance, giving equal time to both well-trodden and less-well-known parts of the world. Any world prehistory that does otherwise is presenting a skewed picture of the human past. People of the Earth is an adventure in archaeology. I hope you enjoy your sojourn in its pages.

Writing a straightforward narrative of human prehistory is a mammoth task, especially at a time when a torrent of new literature about archaeological discoveries around the world is revolutionizing our knowledge of the remote past. We are well beyond the point where a single author can possibly hope to keep up with every new find and intellectual development in world archaeology, but I have done my best, while trying to keep the narrative as simple and uncluttered as possible. The past five years alone have witnessed remarkable discoveries, among them new early fossil hominids from East Africa, major changes in the dating of the first settlement of the Americas and early farming, and a revolution in our knowledge of short-term climatic change in the past.

CHANGES IN THE TENTH EDITION

Our knowledge of world prehistory increases constantly, mostly in fits and starts, but, occasionally in a dramatic way, when new fossil discoveries in Ethiopia rewrite a chapter of early human evolution, or the decipherment of Maya script adds a new dimension to our understanding of an early civilization. For the most part, however, the changes are relatively small and undramatic. The tenth edition reflects a combination of a few major discoveries, like the primordial hominid Australopithecus garhi in East Africa, with numerous less spectacular, but nevertheless important, advances like new data on the origins of rice agriculture in Asia.

Following reviewer suggestions, I have retained the same basic organization of the book for this edition. Chapter 1 introduces world prehistory and discusses new perceptions of the subject derived from new perspectives on the past. We survey alternative perspectives on the past and outline some of the important theoretical frameworks that influence our thinking about prehistory. People of the Earth has always been designed as a straightforward narrative, which is why the book is not written with a specific theoretical perspective. Judging from reviewer and user comments, this is a wise decision, as this allows instructors to add their own biases and viewpoints to the basic narrative material. I have, of course, paid careful attention to such major controversies as the origins of modern humans and the first settlement of the Americas, where an even-handed perspective is essential. The tenth edition now includes Site Boxes in each chapter, which discuss key locations and discoveries where more detailed information is valuable. Examples include the spectacular Grotte de Chauvet cave paintings in France, and the Lords of Sipan from coastal Peru—one of the most important archaeological discoveries of the twentieth century. A series of boxes in the earlier chapters of the book describe key dating methods at appropriate places in the text.

The narrative of world prehistory itself is divided into five parts. Part I (Chapters 2 and 3) discusses human beginnings, what is sometimes called "archaic prehistory," the human past from the earliest times tip to the appearance of Homo sapiens sapiens: ourselves. Here we cover the important new fossil discoveries of recent years and such fascinating sites as Boxgrove in southern England. We also continue to take account of new theoretical advances in cognitive, or "postprocessual," archaeology, especially of the emerging synthesis of evolutionary psychology and archaeology. Part II (Chapters 4 to 7) discusses what I call the "Great Diaspora," the spread of anatomically modern humans through the world during, and immediately after, the late Ice Age. For this edition, I have moved the chapter on the First Americans forward in the book, so that the reader goes from Europe and Eurasia straight into the Americas, a more logical order preferred by some users. This important chapter includes coverage of the new AMS radiocarbon chronology for first settlement made possible by extended calibration curves. From the Americas, we move on to Africa and Australia, with Chapter 7, "Intensification and Complexity," now immediately preceding the chapters on the first farmers.

Part III, "First Farmers," describes the origins of food production, with Chapter 8 devoted to the theoretical background and the following five chapters discussing the earliest farming in different areas of the world. New advances in this edition include the increasing impact of refined AMS chronologies and a fresh generation of research into the origins of rice cultivation. Important new perceptions of the Mississippian and other more complex farming societies in eastern North America also receive more extended treatment.

Parts IV and V cover the early civilizations of the Old World and the Americas, with Chapter 14 describing the major theories of the origins and collapse of states. The ferment of theorizing has diminished somewhat in recent years, as fieldworkers wrestle to document their theories with new data from the field. At the same time, a new emphasis on ideology and the archaeology of the intangible is throwing fresh light on preindustrial civilization. There is expanded coverage of the origins of Egyptian civilization, and also of southern and Southeast Asian states. Maya archaeology has been revolutionized in recent years by the decipherment of ancient glyphs and by our new understandings of the turbulent political history of Maya states. We take account of some of these advances here, but, alas, do not have space for extended coverage.

Much of this edition consists of small changes, which come from reading hundreds of books and scientific papers and from discussions with colleagues in all parts of the world. Revision and updating occurs throughout. Individually, the modifications are inconspicuous, but taken together, they represent a considerable change from the ninth edition. The number of illustrations has increased, although one suffers from the inevitable frustration of writing about a visual subject and being restricted by space and budget as to the number of pictures one can include. As in earlier editions, I suggest a brief list of further readings after each chapter and cross-reference the text to an updated Bibliography of World Prehistory for those who wish to delve more closely into topics treated briefly in the book.

As always, the book is designed for easy accessibility and effective learning. People of the Earth is free of distracting features that draw the reader away from the main narrative. High-interest chapter-opening vignettes, which describe a moment of discovery or reconstruct life in the past, grab the student's interest from the outset. Revised chronological tables at the beginning of each chapter, as well as chapter summaries and updated "Guides to Further Reading" at the end of each chapter, also add to the effectiveness of the book as a learning tool.

Other pedagogical features include the following:

  • Special time-line columns at the o1rening of each part of the book. By means of varied shading, each time line tells at a glance which period of time the part covers, as well as which periods have already been covered and are yet to be covered in the text.
  • Expanded picture captions that fill out the visual information.

A NOTE ON THE WORLD WIDE WEB

The World Wide Web is becoming an important medium of communication for archaeologists, like everyone else. This is a confusing universe for those unfamiliar with the Web, especially since so much is changing all the time. However, the major Web sites are here to stay and offer links to other important locations. Everything operates with Uniform Resource Locators (URLs), some of which we list here.

The Virtual Library for archaeology worldwide is ArchNet: ...

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Detailed Contents
Preface
A Note on Dates and Measurements
About the Author
Ch. 1 Introducing World Prehistory 1
Ch. 2 Human Origins: The Emergence of Early Human Ancestors 27
Ch. 3 Homo erectus and Homo sapiens sapiens (1.9 Million to 40,000 Years Ago) 71
Ch. 4 Europeans and Northern Asians (c. 40,000 to 8000 B.C.) 121
Ch. 5 Intensification and Complexity (Before 10,000 B.C. to Modern Times) 154
Ch. 6 The First Americans (?12,000 B.C. to Modern Times) 177
Ch. 7 Africans and Australians (45,000 Years Ago to Modern Times) 207
Ch. 8 A Plenteous Harvest: The Origins 229
Ch. 9 The Origins of Food Production in Southwest Asia 252
Ch. 10 Early European Farmers 270
Ch. 11 Early Farmers of Africa and the Nile 289
Ch. 12 Asia: Rice, Roots, and Ocean Voyagers 299
Ch. 13 The Story of Maize: Early Farming Societies in the Americas 322
Ch. 14 The Development of Civilization 355
Ch. 15 Early Southwest Asian Civilizations 375
Ch. 16 Ancient Egypt, Nubia, and Sub-Saharan Africa 396
Ch. 17 Early States in South and Southeast Asia 435
Ch. 18 Shang Civilization in East Asia 460
Ch. 19 Anatolia, Greece, and Italy 473
Ch. 20 Temperate Europe Before the Romans 495
Ch. 21 Mesoamerican Civilizations 515
Ch. 22 Andean States 557
Bibliography of World Prehistory 589
Credits 609
Index 611
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Preface

PREFACE:

PREFACE

Golden pharaohs, lost cities, grinning human skeletons—archaeology is the stuff of romance and legend. Many people still think of archaeologists as adventurers and treasure hunters, like Indiana Jones of Hollywood movie fame seeking the elusive Holy Grail. This enduring image goes back to the late nineteenth century, when archaeologists like Heinrich Schliemann of Troy fame could still find lost civilizations and excavate three royal palaces in a week. Today, few, if any, archaeologists behave like Indiana Jones. They are scientists, not adventurers, as comfortable in an air-conditioned laboratory as they are on a remote excavation. The development of scientific archaeology from its Victorian beginnings ranks among the greatest triumphs of twentieth-century science. Archaeology has changed our perceptions of ourselves in profound ways, giving us a better understanding of our biological and cultural diversity. Welcome to the fascinating world of archaeology!

The tenth edition of People of the Earth comes at a time when new discoveries and archaeological methodologies are deeply affecting our understanding of the human past. This edition continues a more-than-25-year tradition of clear, jargon-free writing for the beginning student, the incorporation of the latest scholarship, and an accessible (five-part) organization of the story of world prehistory. This time, I have added both valuable new content and effective new pedagogy to what has always been a straightforward narrative. But the basic objective remains the same: to provide an interesting journey through the 5-million-year-old landscape of the human past. Atthesame time, the book attempts to achieve geographical balance, giving equal time to both well-trodden and less-well-known parts of the world. Any world prehistory that does otherwise is presenting a skewed picture of the human past. People of the Earth is an adventure in archaeology. I hope you enjoy your sojourn in its pages.

Writing a straightforward narrative of human prehistory is a mammoth task, especially at a time when a torrent of new literature about archaeological discoveries around the world is revolutionizing our knowledge of the remote past. We are well beyond the point where a single author can possibly hope to keep up with every new find and intellectual development in world archaeology, but I have done my best, while trying to keep the narrative as simple and uncluttered as possible. The past five years alone have witnessed remarkable discoveries, among them new early fossil hominids from East Africa, major changes in the dating of the first settlement of the Americas and early farming, and a revolution in our knowledge of short-term climatic change in the past.

CHANGES IN THE TENTH EDITION

Our knowledge of world prehistory increases constantly, mostly in fits and starts, but, occasionally in a dramatic way, when new fossil discoveries in Ethiopia rewrite a chapter of early human evolution, or the decipherment of Maya script adds a new dimension to our understanding of an early civilization. For the most part, however, the changes are relatively small and undramatic. The tenth edition reflects a combination of a few major discoveries, like the primordial hominid Australopithecus garhi in East Africa, with numerous less spectacular, but nevertheless important, advances like new data on the origins of rice agriculture in Asia.

Following reviewer suggestions, I have retained the same basic organization of the book for this edition. Chapter 1 introduces world prehistory and discusses new perceptions of the subject derived from new perspectives on the past. We survey alternative perspectives on the past and outline some of the important theoretical frameworks that influence our thinking about prehistory. People of the Earth has always been designed as a straightforward narrative, which is why the book is not written with a specific theoretical perspective. Judging from reviewer and user comments, this is a wise decision, as this allows instructors to add their own biases and viewpoints to the basic narrative material. I have, of course, paid careful attention to such major controversies as the origins of modern humans and the first settlement of the Americas, where an even-handed perspective is essential. The tenth edition now includes Site Boxes in each chapter, which discuss key locations and discoveries where more detailed information is valuable. Examples include the spectacular Grotte de Chauvet cave paintings in France, and the Lords of Sipan from coastal Peru—one of the most important archaeological discoveries of the twentieth century. A series of boxes in the earlier chapters of the book describe key dating methods at appropriate places in the text.

The narrative of world prehistory itself is divided into five parts. Part I (Chapters 2 and 3) discusses human beginnings, what is sometimes called "archaic prehistory," the human past from the earliest times tip to the appearance of Homo sapiens sapiens: ourselves. Here we cover the important new fossil discoveries of recent years and such fascinating sites as Boxgrove in southern England. We also continue to take account of new theoretical advances in cognitive, or "postprocessual," archaeology, especially of the emerging synthesis of evolutionary psychology and archaeology. Part II (Chapters 4 to 7) discusses what I call the "Great Diaspora," the spread of anatomically modern humans through the world during, and immediately after, the late Ice Age. For this edition, I have moved the chapter on the First Americans forward in the book, so that the reader goes from Europe and Eurasia straight into the Americas, a more logical order preferred by some users. This important chapter includes coverage of the new AMS radiocarbon chronology for first settlement made possible by extended calibration curves. From the Americas, we move on to Africa and Australia, with Chapter 7, "Intensification and Complexity," now immediately preceding the chapters on the first farmers.

Part III, "First Farmers," describes the origins of food production, with Chapter 8 devoted to the theoretical background and the following five chapters discussing the earliest farming in different areas of the world. New advances in this edition include the increasing impact of refined AMS chronologies and a fresh generation of research into the origins of rice cultivation. Important new perceptions of the Mississippian and other more complex farming societies in eastern North America also receive more extended treatment.

Parts IV and V cover the early civilizations of the Old World and the Americas, with Chapter 14 describing the major theories of the origins and collapse of states. The ferment of theorizing has diminished somewhat in recent years, as fieldworkers wrestle to document their theories with new data from the field. At the same time, a new emphasis on ideology and the archaeology of the intangible is throwing fresh light on preindustrial civilization. There is expanded coverage of the origins of Egyptian civilization, and also of southern and Southeast Asian states. Maya archaeology has been revolutionized in recent years by the decipherment of ancient glyphs and by our new understandings of the turbulent political history of Maya states. We take account of some of these advances here, but, alas, do not have space for extended coverage.

Much of this edition consists of small changes, which come from reading hundreds of books and scientific papers and from discussions with colleagues in all parts of the world. Revision and updating occurs throughout. Individually, the modifications are inconspicuous, but taken together, they represent a considerable change from the ninth edition. The number of illustrations has increased, although one suffers from the inevitable frustration of writing about a visual subject and being restricted by space and budget as to the number of pictures one can include. As in earlier editions, I suggest a brief list of further readings after each chapter and cross-reference the text to an updated Bibliography of World Prehistory for those who wish to delve more closely into topics treated briefly in the book.

As always, the book is designed for easy accessibility and effective learning. People of the Earth is free of distracting features that draw the reader away from the main narrative. High-interest chapter-opening vignettes, which describe a moment of discovery or reconstruct life in the past, grab the student's interest from the outset. Revised chronological tables at the beginning of each chapter, as well as chapter summaries and updated "Guides to Further Reading" at the end of each chapter, also add to the effectiveness of the book as a learning tool.

Other pedagogical features include the following:

  • Special time-line columns at the o1rening of each part of the book. By means of varied shading, each time line tells at a glance which period of time the part covers, as well as which periods have already been covered and are yet to be covered in the text.
  • Expanded picture captions that fill out the visual information.

A NOTE ON THE WORLD WIDE WEB

The World Wide Web is becoming an important medium of communication for archaeologists, like everyone else. This is a confusing universe for those unfamiliar with the Web, especially since so much is changing all the time. However, the major Web sites are here to stay and offer links to other important locations. Everything operates with Uniform Resource Locators (URLs), some of which we list here.

The Virtual Library for archaeology worldwide is ArchNet: ...

Read More Show Less

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