This narrative traces the beginnings of humankind, surveying the prehistory of the world from the earliest times to the advent of literate civilization. The study examines the major theories of origin and the development of both the Old World and the New. In this edition, there is an expanded emphasis on the cultural complexity of early humans and their societies and on contemporary theories of biological and cultural evolution.
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This text offers a survey of human evolution from earliest times up to the advent of literate civilizations, providing a view of human prehistory. It also discusses advances in fossil discoveries, the origins of modern humans and theories relating to food production.From the Inside Flap:
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 the same 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.This is both geographically and subject-matter based, covering everything from the archaeology of Australia to method and theory and site tours. There are also listings of academic departments, museums, and other archaeological organizations, even of journals. ArchNet is an extraordinary resource, which does not claim to be comprehensive, but it covers a huge range of topics. The European equivalent is ARGE, the Archaeological Resource Guide for Europe: bham.ac.uk/ARGE. This also lists areas and subjects and is multilingual. Both ArchNet and ARGE have links to virtually any kind of archaeology you are looking for.
Here's a selection of other useful Web sites, but please realize that Web pages and addresses change all the time, so this information may already be out of date. Many departments of anthropology and archaeology and dozens of excavations and sites have Web sites, which you can access through ArchNet. For example, for information on archaeology in southwestern Asia and the eastern Mediterranean, go to argonet.co.uk/education/diggings. ANCILLARY MATERIALS
The ancillary materials that accompany this textbook have been carefully created to enhance the topics being discussed.
Instructor's Manual with Tests. For each chapter in the text, this manual provides a detailed outline, list of objectives, discussion questions, classroom activities, and additional resources. The test bank includes multiple choice, true-false, and essay questions for each chapter.
Prentice Hall Custom Test. This computerized test item file is a test generator designed to allow the creation of personalized exams. It is available in Windows and Macintosh formats.
CD-ROM. For the first time, an interactive study guide on CD-ROM will be available in the back of this text. This new multimedia program allows students to test their mastery of the subject matter as well as visit actual archaeological sites via the Internet.
Companion Website. In tandem with the text, students and professors can now take full advantage of the World Wide Web to enrich their study of archaeology. The Fagan Website correlates the text with related material available on the Internet. Features of the Website include chapter objectives and study questions, as well as links to interesting material and information from other sites on the Web that can reinforce and enhance the content of each chapter.This guide introduces students to the origin and innovations behind the Internet and provides clear strategies for navigating the complexity of the Internet and World Wide Web. Exercises within and at the end of the chapters allow students to practice searching for the myriad of resources available to the student of anthropology. This supplementary book is free to students when shrinkwrapped as a package with People of the Earth: An Introduction to World Prehistory, 10/E. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
This ninth edition has benefited greatly from the willing comments of many colleagues, especially Peter Harrison, Charles Higham, Stephen Lekson, George Michaels, Chris Scarre, and Charles Stanish.
I would like to thank the following archaeologists for their help with this revision: Richard E.W Adams, University of Texas at San Antonio; Susan Bender, Skidmore College; Patricia Hansell, Temple University; Randall H. McGuire, Binghamton University; Rachel Mason, University of Alaska at Anchorage; Richard Paine, University of Utah; and Mary Pohl, Florida State University. I appreciate their frank comments.
Lastly, my thanks to my editor, Nancy Roberts, and to the editorial and production staff at Prentice Hall. Without them, this revision would never have been completed, and I would have even more gray hairs. As always, I would be most grateful for criticisms, comments, or details of new work, sent to me c/o Department of Anthropology, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA 93108 (E-mail: brian@brianfagan).
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