Prehistory: A Very Short Introduction
This VSI to prehistory will introduce the reader to four and a half million years of human existence. Many of the familiar aspects of modern life are no more than a century or two old, yet our deep social structures and skills were in large measure developed by small bands of our prehistoric ancestors many millennia ago. Chris Gosden invites us to think seriously about who we are by considering who we have been. The idea of prehistory owes its origins to Darwin - suddenly any description of human life on Earth had to take account of a much longer timespan than ever before. What new views of ourselves has this new timespan opened up? Chris Gosden's fascinating new book asks: What relationships did our distant ancestors have with the natural world, with each other, and with the objects and values they created? And as humanity hurtles into a future of virtual interraction and genetic manipulation, what can the darkest recesses of our past teach us about our future? ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
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List of illustrations
Prehistory and archaeology a note
A very very short introduction to chronology
Chapter 1What and when is prehistory?
Chapter 2The problems of prehistory
Chapter 3Human skills and experiences
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ability Abu Hureyra action aesthetic Africa ancestors archaeology areas artefacts Asia Australia basis belief body bones Boxgrove Boxgrove hominids Britain Brixham Bronze Age burial cave central century chimps colonization Commensualism complex continent Cook cosmological created crops crucial derive developed domesticated elements emotions Eurasia Europe Europeans evidence excavation exist farming feel figurines flint forms fully modern humans gender genetic handaxe Hawai’i Hawaiian hominids Homo Homo erectus hunter-gatherers identity Indo-European languages intelligence islands landscape language Lapita magic Makahiki Matenkupkum material culture material things material world Monte Verde moved myth nature Neanderthals Neolithic objects obsidian Ongka origins Pacific Papua New Guinea past people’s lives period physical plants and animals populations pots pottery prehistory relationships ritual Sahul sapiens script sense shape skills social relations South America species stone tools story symbolism thought understanding Upper Palaeolithic Venus figurines Western words writing