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Europe is, in world terms, a relatively minor peninsula attached to the Eurasian land mass. Yet it became one of the most innovative regions on the planet, generating restless adventurers who traversed the globe to trade, to explore, and often to settle. By the fifteenth century Europe was a driving world force, but the origins of its success have until now remained obscured in prehistory. In this magnificent book, distinguished archaeologist Barry Cunliffe views Europe not in terms of states and shifting political land boundaries but as a geographical niche particularly favored in facing many seas. These seas, and Europe's great transpeninsular rivers, ensured a rich diversity of natural resources while also encouraging the dynamic interaction of peoples across networks of communication and exchange. The development of these early Europeans is rooted in complex interplays, shifting balances, and geographic and demographic fluidity. Weaving together titanic concepts while remaining sensitive to specifics, Cunliffe has produced an interdisciplinary tour de force. His is a bold book of exceptional scholarship, erudite and engaging, and itheralds an entirely new understanding of Old Europe.
Barry Cunliffe is one of the most important and distinguished archaeologists in Europe. He is professor of archaeology at the University of Oxford and is the author of over fifteen books. He lives in Oxford, UK.