After the Ice: A Global Human History 20,000-5000 BC

After the Ice: A Global Human History 20,000-5000 BC

by Steven Mithen
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After the Ice: A Global Human History 20,000-5000 BC

20,000 B.C., the peak of the last ice age--the atmosphere is heavy with dust, deserts, and glaciers span vast regions, and people, if they survive at all, exist in small, mobile groups, facing the threat of extinction.

But these people live on the brink of seismic change--10,000 years of climate shifts culminating in abrupt global warming that will usher in a fundamentally changed human world. After the Ice is the story of this momentous period--one in which a seemingly minor alteration in temperature could presage anything from the spread of lush woodland to the coming of apocalyptic floods--and one in which we find the origins of civilization itself.

Drawing on the latest research in archaeology, human genetics, and environmental science, After the Ice takes the reader on a sweeping tour of 15,000 years of human history. Steven Mithen brings this world to life through the eyes of an imaginary modern traveler--John Lubbock, namesake of the great Victorian polymath and author of Prehistoric Times. With Lubbock, readers visit and observe communities and landscapes, experiencing prehistoric life--from aboriginal hunting parties in Tasmania, to the corralling of wild sheep in the central Sahara, to the efforts of the Guila Naquitz people in Oaxaca to combat drought with agricultural innovations.

Part history, part science, part time travel, After the Ice offers an evocative and uniquely compelling portrayal of diverse cultures, lives, and landscapes that laid the foundations of the modern world.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674019997
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 04/30/2006
Pages: 664
Sales rank: 258,665
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.60(h) x 1.50(d)

Table of Contents

The Beginning
1The Birth of History: Global warming, archaeological evidence and human history3
2The World at 20,000 BC: Human evolution, the causes of climate change and radiocarbon dating8
Western Asia
3Fires and Flowers: Hunter-gatherers and the forest steppe, 20,000-12,300 BC20
4Village Life in the Oak Woodland: Early Natufian hunter-gatherer communities, 12,300-10,800 BC29
5On the Banks of the Euphrates: Abu Hureyra and the rise of hunter-gatherer sedentism, 12,300-10,800 BC40
6One Thousand Years of Drought: Economy and society during the Younger Dryas, 10,800-9600 BC46
7The Founding of Jericho: Neolithic architecture, burial and technology of the Jordan valley, 9600-8500 BC56
8Pictograms and Pillars: Neolithic ideology, symbolism and trade, 9600-8500 BC62
9In the Valley of Ravens: Architecture, textiles and animal domestication, 8500-7500 BC72
10The Town of Ghosts: Ritual, religion and economic collapse, 7500-6300 BC80
11Heaven and Hell at Catalhoyuk: Florescence of the Neolithic in Turkey, 9000-7000 BC88
12Three Days on Cyprus: Extinctions, colonisation and cultural stasis, 20,000-6000 BC97
13Pioneers in Northern Lands: The recolonisation of northwest Europe, 20,000-12,700 BC110
14With Reindeer Hunters: Economy, technology and society, 12,700-9600 BC122
15At Star Carr: Adaptations to early Holocene woodlands in northern Europe, 9600-8500 BC134
16Last of the Cave Painters: Economic, social and cultural change in southern Europe, 9600-8500 BC143
17Coastal Catastrophe: Sea-level change and its consequences, 10,500-6400 BC150
18Two Villages in Southeast Europe: Sedentary hunter-gatherers and immigrant farmers, 6500-6200 BC158
19Islands of the Dead: Mesolithic burial and society in northern Europe, 6200-5000 BC168
20At the Frontier: The spread of farming in Central Europe and its impact on Mesolithic society, 6000-4400 BC178
21A Mesolithic Legacy: The Neolithic in southern Europe, 6000-4000 BC; debates in historical linguistics and genetics187
22A Scottish Envoi: Colonisation, Mesolithic lifestyles and the transition to the Neolithic in western Scotland, 20,000-4300 BC196
The Americas
23Searching for the First Americans: The discovery of ice-age settlement, AD 1927-1994210
24American Past in the Present: Dental, linguistic, genetic and skeletal evidence for the peopling of the Americas221
25On the Banks of Chinchihuapi: Excavation and interpretation of Monte Verde, AD 1977-1997, 12,500 BC229
26Explorers in a Restless Landscape: North American fauna, landscape evolution and human colonisation, 20,000-11,500 BC236
27Clovis Hunters on Trial: Extinction of the mega-fauna and Clovis lifestyles, 11,500-10,000 BC246
28Virginity Reconsidered: Hunter-gatherers of Tierra del Fuego and in the Amazon, 11,500-6000 BC258
29Herders and the 'Christ-Child': Animal and plant domestication in the Andes, and coastal foragers, 10,500-5000 BC266
30A Double-Take in the Oaxaca Valley: The domestication of maize, squash and beans in Mexico, 10,500-5000 BC274
31To Koster: Hunter-gatherer lifestyles in North America, 7000-5000 BC286
32Salmon Fishing and the Gift of History: Complex hunter-gatherers of the northwest coast, 6000-5000 BC296
Greater Australia and East Asia
33A Lost World Revealed: Tasmanian hunter-gatherers, 20,000-6000 BC304
34Body Sculpture at Know Swamp: Burial and society in Southeast Australia, 14,000-6000 BC, and mega-faunal extinctions312
35Across the Arid Zone: Hunter-gatherer adaptations to the Central Australian Desert, 30,000 BC-AD 1966319
36Fighting Men and a Serpent's Birth: Art, society and ideology in northern Australia, 13,000-6000 BC327
37Pigs and Gardens in the Highlands: The development of tropical horticulture in highland New Guinea, 20,000-5000 BC337
38Lonesome in Sundaland: Hunter-gatherers in the Southeast Asian tropical rainforests, 20,000-5000 BC348
39Down the Yangtze: The origin of rice farming, 11,500-6500 BC359
40With the Jomon: Complex hunter-gatherers in Japan and the earliest pottery, 14,500-6000 BC370
41Summer in the Arctic: The mammoth steppe and colonisation of the High Arctic, 19,000-6500 BC381
South Asia
42A Passage through India: Indian rock art and villages on the Ganges Plain, 20,000-8500 BC396
43A Long Walk across the Hindu Kush: Early farming in South and Central Asia; the domestication of cotton, 7500-5000 BC407
44Vultures of the Zagros: The roots of Mesopotamian civilisation, 11,000-9000 BC420
45Approaching Civilisation in Mesopotamia: The development of towns and trade, 8500-6000 BC430
46Baked Fish by the Nile: Hunter-gatherers of North Africa and the Nile valley, 20,000-11,000 BC443
47On Lukenya Hill: The development of East African landscapes and faunas after 20,000 BC453
48Frogs' Legs and Ostrich Eggs: Hunter-gatherers of the Kalahari Desert, 12,500 BC462
49A South African Tour: Changing environments, diet and social life, 12,500-7000 BC469
50Thunderbolts in the Tropics: Hunter-gatherers in Central and West Africa; environmental change in East Africa, 7000-5000 BC483
51Sheep and Cattle in the Sahara: The development of pastoralism in North Africa, 9500-5000 BC490
52Farmers in the Nile Valley and Beyond: The arrival of cereal agriculture in North Africa, 5500-4000 BC499
Epilogue: 'The Blessings of Civilisation': Past, present and future impacts of global warming on human history504
Picture Acknowledgements611

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