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The First Africans: African Archaeology from the Earliest Toolmakers to Most Recent Foragers / Edition 1 available in Hardcover
- Pub. Date:
- Cambridge University Press
Africa has the longest record - some 2.5 million years - of human occupation of any continent. For nearly all of this time, its inhabitants have made tools from stone and have acquired their food from its rich wild plant and animal resources. Archaeological research in Africa is crucial for understanding the origins of humans and the diversity of hunter-gatherer ways of life. This book provides an up-to-date, comprehensive synthesis of the record left by Africa's earliest hominin inhabitants and hunter-gatherers. It combines the insights of archaeology with those of other disciplines, such as genetics and palaeoenvironmental science. African evidence is critical to important debates, such as the origins of stone toolmaking, the emergence of recognisably modern forms of cognition and behaviour, and the expansion of successive hominins from Africa to other parts of the world. Africa's enormous ecological diversity and exceptionally long history also provide an unparalleled opportunity to examine the impact of environment change on human populations. African foragers have also long been viewed as archetypes of the hunter-gatherer way of life, a view that is debated in this volume. Also examined is their relevance for understanding the development and spread of food production and the social and ideological significance of the rock art that many of them have produced.
Table of Contents
1. Introducing the African record; 2. Frameworks in space and time; 3. First tool users and makers; 4. Early Pleistocene foragers; 5. Mid-Pleistocene foragers; 6. Transitions and origins; 7. The Big Dry: the archaeology of marine isotope 4-2; 8. Hunting, gathering, intensifying: the mid-Holocene record; 9. Foragers in a world of farmers; 10. The future of the first Africans' past.