The Cambridge History of Africa

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J. Desmond Clark
Cambridge University Press, Feb 25, 1982 - History - 1173 pages
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Volume I of The Cambridge History of Africa provides the first relatively complete and authoritative survey of African prehistory from the time of the first hominids in the Plio-Pleistone up to the spread of iron technology after c.500 B.C. The volume therefore sets the stage for the history of the continent contained in the subsequent volumes. The material remains of past human life recovered by excavation are described and interpreted in the light of palaeo-ecological evidence, primate studies and ethnographic observation, to provide a record of the evolving skills and adaptive behaviour of the prehistoric populations. The unique discoveries in East and South Africa of early hominid fossils, stone tools and other surviving evidence are discussed with full documentation, leading on to the coming of Modern Man (with new evidence showing the much greater antiquity of the 'Middle Stone Age' in the continent than had previously been thought) and the beginning of regional patterning. The volume provides a survey of the now considerable material showing the different ways of life in the forests, savannas and arid zones during the 'Later Stone Age', from its beginnings some 20,000 years ago. The divergence in cultural patternings between northern Africa and those parts of the continent south of the Sahara now becomes more apparent. Following an account of the evidence for the origins and spread of domesticates and the beginnings of village farming, the volume concludes with three chapters that trace the development of urban centres and of the political state in the Nile Valley and the changing administrative, socio-economic and religious aspects of Egyptian civilization from the Pre-Dynastic up to the Late Period.

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