People of the Earth : An Introduction to World Prehistory

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  • Edition: 13th
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2009-07-31
  • Publisher: Pearson
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This internationally renowned text provides the only truly global account of human prehistory from the earliest times through the earliest civilizations. Written in an accessible way, People of the Earth shows how today's diverse humanity developed biologically and culturally over millions of years against a background of constant climatic change.

-Emphasizes major controversies such as the origins of modern humans and the first settlement of the Americas - Presents students with relevant theories about first settlement and origination so they can more easily comprehend the development of early civilization.

-Surveys alternative perspectives on the past and outlines some of the important theoretical frameworks that influence our thinking about prehistory - Furnishes students with material that reflects issues surrounding world prehistory in today's world.

-Site Boxes in each chapter that discuss key locations and discoveries - Highlights exceptional and easily accessible examples that span a host of geographic locations and time periods.

Author Biography

Brian Fagan is one of the leading archaeological writers in the world and an internationally recognized authority on world prehistory. He studied archaeology and anthropology at Pembroke College, Cambridge University, and then spent seven years in sub-Saharan Africa working in museums and in monument conservation and excavating early farming sites in Zambia and East Africa. He was one of the pioneers of multidisciplinary African history in the 1960s. From 1967 to 2003, he was professor of anthropology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he specialized in lecturing and writing about archaeology to wide audiences. He is now professor emeritus.


Professor Fagan has written six best-selling textbooks: Ancient Lives: An Introduction to Archaeology and Prehistory; In the Beginning; Archaeology: A Brief Introduction; People of the Earth; World Preh istory; and A Brief History of Archaeology—all published by Prentice Hall—which are used around the world. His general books include The Rape of the Nile, a classic history of Egyptology; The Adventure of Archaeology; Time Detectives; Ancient North America; The Little Ice Age; and The Great Warming. He is general editor of the Oxford Companion to Archaeology. In addition, he has published several scholarly monographs on African archaeology and numerous specialized articles in national and international journals. He is also an expert on multimedia teaching and received the Society for American Archaeology’s first Public Education Award for his indefatigable efforts on behalf of archaeology and education.

Table of Contents

Author's Note
About the Author
Introducing World Prehistory
Archaeology and Prehistory
Site: The Amesbury Archer
The Beginnings of World Prehistory
Who Needs the Past?
Science: Dating the Past
Cyclical and Linear Time
Written Records, Oral Traditions, and Archaeology
Studying Culture and Culture Change
Primary Cultural Processes
Theoretical Approaches: Culture as Adaptation
Climatic Change
Culture as Adaptation
Cultural Evolution and Cultural Ecology
Multilinear Evolution: Prestate and State-Organized Societies
Theoretical Approaches: Evolutionary Ecology and Hunter-Gatherers
Theoretical Approaches: People as Agents of Change
External and Internal Constraints
Gender: Men and Women
Trade and Exchange
Ideologies and Beliefs
7 Million To 40,000 Years Ago
Human Origins
7 Million To 1.9 Million Years Ago
The Great Ice Age
The Origins of the Human Line
Miocene Primates
Molecular Biology and Human Evolution
The Ecological Problems Faced
Adaptive Problems
Fossil Evidence: 7 to 3 MYA
Dating the Past: Potassium-Argon Dating
Toumaï: Sahelanthropus tchadensis
Ardipithecus ramidus
Australopithecus anamensis
Australopithecus afarensis
Laetoli: Footprints of A. afarensis
Fossil Evidence: 3 to 2.5 MYA
Gracile Australopithecines: Australopithecus africanus
Robust Australopithecines: A. aethiopicus
Australopithecus garhi
Early Homo: 2.5 to 2.0 MYA
Homo habilis
A Burst of Rapid Change?
Who Was the First Human?
Early Hominin Evolution: 7 to 1 MYA
Archaeological Evidence for Early Human Behavior
Evidence for "Central Places"?
Site: Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania, East Africa
Hunting and Scavenging
Plant Foraging and "Grandmothering"
The Oldowan Industry
The Mind of the Earliest Humans
The Development of Language
Social Organization
Homo ergaster, Homo erectus, and Homo sapiens
1.9 Million To 40,000 Years Ago
Pleistocene Background
Lower Pleistocene (1.6 Million to c. 780,000 Years Ago)
Middle Pleistocene (c. 780,000 to 128,000 Years Ago)
Homo ergaster in Africa
The Radiation of Homo ergaster
The Archaic World
Homo erectus in Asia
Southeast Asia
Early Asian Technology
The Settlement of Temperate Latitudes
Earliest Human Settlement in Southwest Asia and Europe
Southwest Asia
Archaic Human Technology
Hand Axes and Other Tools
Hand Axes and the Evolution of the Human Mind
Evidence for Behavior: Boxgrove, Schöningen, and Torralba
Site: A 400,000-Year-Old Hunt at Schöningen, Germany
The Neanderthals
Dating the Past: Radiocarbon Dating
A More Complex Technology
Levallois and Disk-Core-Reduction Strategies
Tool Forms and Variability
The Origins of Burial and Religious Belief
The Origins of Modern Humans
Continuity or Replacement?
Homo sapiens in Africa
Molecular Biology and Homo sapiens
Ecology and Homo sapiens
The Spread of Homo sapiens
The Issue of Cognitive Ability
Homo sapiens in East Asia
The Great Diaspora: The Spread Of Modern Humans
45,000 Years Ago To Modern Times
Europe and Eurasia
c 40,000 TO 8000 B.C
The Spread of Modern Humans to 12,000 Years Ago
The Upper Pleistocene (c. 126,000 Years Ago to 8000 B.C.)
Modern Humans in Southwest Asia
The Upper Paleolithic Transition
A Cultural Explosion?
Modern Humans in Europe
European Hunter-Gatherers (45,000 Years Ago to 8000 B.C.)
Settlement Strategies and Lifeways
Social Life and Group Size
Upper Paleolithic Art
Site: Grotte de Chauvet, France
Paintings and Engravings
Explaining Upper Paleolithic Art
Human Settlement in Eurasia (35,000 to 15,000 Years Ago)
Siberia (?33,000 to 13,000 Years Ago)
The Settlement of Far Northeast Asia
Bifaces, Microblades, and the First Americans
The First Americans
14,000 B.C. To Modern Times
The First Settlement of the Americas
Ice Sheets and the Bering Land Bridge
The First Settlement of Alaska
Biological and Linguistic Evidence for the First Americans
The Earliest Sites South of the Ice Sheets
Settlement Routes: Ice-Free Corridors and Seacoasts
Late Wisconsin Settlement in North America?
Central and South America?
A Scenario for First Settlement
The Paleo-Indians: Clovis and Others
Big-Game Extinctions
Later Hunters and Gatherers
Plains Hunters
The Desert West
Eastern North America
Site: Koster, Illinois
Specialized Foraging Societies in Central and South America
Aleuts and Inuit (Eskimo)
Africans and Australians
45,000 Years Ago To Modern Times
African Hunter-Gatherers, Past and Present
Sunda and Sahul: The First Settlement of Island Southeast Asia
Site: Exotic Islanders: Homo floresiensis
New Guinea and Adjacent Islands
Ice Age Wallaby Hunters in Tasmania
Later Australian Cultures
Intensification and Complexity
Before 10,000 B.C. To Modern Times
The Holocene (After 10,000 B.C.)
Coping with Environmental Variation
Mesolithic Hunter-Gatherers in Europe
Site: Star Carr, England
Mesolithic Complexity in Scandinavia
The Maglemose Period (7500 to 5700 B.C.)
The Kongemose Period (5700 to 4600 B.C.)
The Ertebølle Period (4600 to 3200 B.C.)
Hunter-Gatherer Complexity
Conditions for Greater Complexity
Attributes of Greater Complexity
Debates About Social Complexity
Hunter-Gatherer Societies in Southwest Asia
First Farmers 211
c. 10,000 B.C. To Modern Times
A Plenteous Harvest
Theories About the Origins of Food Production
Early Hypotheses
Multivariate Theories
Site: Guilá
Naquitz, Mexico
Differing Dates for Food Production
Studying Early Food Production
Dating the Past: Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) Radiocarbon Dating
Why Did Food Production Take Hold So Late?
Consequences of Food Production
Nutrition and Early Food Production
Herding: Domestication of Animals
Plant Cultivation
Technology and Domestication
Early Food Production
The Origins of Food Production in Southwest Asia
A Scenario for Early Agriculture
The First Farmers: Netiv Hagdud, Abu Hureyra, and Jericho
Netiv Hagdud
Abu Hureyra
Diverse Farming Economies and Trade
The Zagros and Mesopotamia
Zawi Chemi Shanidar
Ganj Dareh
Ali Kosh and the Lowlands
Site: Ritual Buildings in Southeastern Turkey
Early Farmers in Anatolia
Haçilar and Çatalhöyük
Two Stages of Farming Development
The First European Farmers
Mesolithic Prelude
The Transition to Farming in Europe
Farming in Greece and Southern Europe
The Spread of Agriculture into Temperate Europe
The Balkans
Bandkeramik Cultures
Frontiers and Transitions
Social Changes, Lineages, and the Individual
The Introduction of the Plow
Plains Farmers: Tripolye
Mediterranean and Western Europe
The Megaliths
Site: Easton Down and the Avebury Landscape
First Farmers in Egypt and Tropical
Hunter-Gatherers on the Nile
Agricultural Origins Along the Nile
Saharan Pastoralists
Early Food Production in Sub-Saharan Africa
Asia and the Pacific
Rice, Roots and Ocean Voyages
The Origins of Rice Cultivation
Early Farming in China
Southern and Eastern China
Northern China
Jomon and Early Agriculture in Japan
Early Agriculture in Southeast Asia
Site: The Princess of Khok Phanom Di, Thailand
Rice and Root Cultivation in Island Southeast Asia
Agriculture in the Pacific Islands
The Lapita Cultural Complex and the Settlement of Melanesia and Western Polynesia
Long-Distance Voyaging in the Pacific
Science: Indigenous Pacific Navigation
The Settlement of Micronesia and Eastern Polynesia
The Settlement of New Zealand
The Story of Maize: Early Farmers in the Americas
The First Plant Domestication
The Origins of Maize Agriculture
Beans and Squash
Early Food Production in the Andes
The Highlands
The Peruvian Coast
Early Farmers in Southwestern North America
Ancestral Pueblo
Site: The Chaco Phenomenon
Preagricultural and Agricultural Societies
in Eastern North America
Moundbuilder Cultures
Early Woodland (Adena)
Human Settlement in the Caribbean
First Settlement (Preceramic Cultures)
Saladoid Migrations
Taíno Chiefdoms
Old World Civilizations
The Development of Civilization
Six Classic Theories of the Emergence of States
V. Gordon Childe and the "Urban Revolution"
Ecology and Irrigation
Technology and Trade
Cultural Systems and Civilization
Environmental Change
Social Theories
Power in Three Domains
Site: The Lord of Sicán at Huaca Loro, Peru
Chiefly Cycling: Processes and Agents
Old World Civilizations
The Collapse of Civilizations
Early Civilizations in Southwest Asia
Upland Villages
Settlement of the Lowlands
Environmental Change
Archaeological Evidence
Site: The Temple at Eridu, Iraq
Uruk: The Mesopotamian City
Sumerian Civilization
Exchange on the Iranian Plateau
The Widening of Political Authority
The Akkadians
The Assyrians
Egypt, Nubia, and Africa
The Origins of the Egyptian State
Ancient Monopoly?
Naqada, Nekhen, and Maadi
A Scenario for Unification
Intensification of Agriculture and Irrigation
Archaic Egypt and the Creation of the Great Culture (2920 to 2575 B.C.)
The Old Kingdom and the Pyramids (c. 2575 to 2180 B.C.)
Site: The Step Pyramid at Saqqara, Egypt
The Egyptian State
The First Intermediate Period and the Middle Kingdom (2180 to 1640 B.C.)
The Second Intermediate Period (1640 to 1530 B.C.)
The New Kingdom (1530 to 1070 B.C.)
The "Estate of Amun"
Amarna and Akhenaten
Mummies and Mummification
The Restoration of Amun
The Late Period (1070 to 332 B.C.)
Egypt and Africa
Nubia: The Land of Kush
Meroe and Aksum
North Africa
Jenne-jeno and the Rise of African States
Farmers and Traders in Eastern and Southern Africa
Towns and Trade on the East African Coast
Great Zimbabwe
Europe and Africa
Early States in South and Southeast Asia
The Roots of South Asian Civilization
Highlands and Lowlands: The Kulli Complex
A Rapid Transition
Mature Harappan Civilization
Who Were the Harappans?
Harappan Beliefs
South Asia After the Harappans
Southeast Asian States
Dong Son
Trade and Kingdoms
The Rise of the God-Kings
The Angkor State (A.D. 802 to 1430)
Site: Angkor Wat, Cambodia
Early Chinese Civilization
The Origins of Chinese Civilization
Longshan and Liangzhu
Shoulder Blades and Oracles
Xia and Shang
Capitals and Sepulchers
The Shang Royal Burials
The Bronze Smiths
The Warlords
Site: The Burial Mound of Emperor Shihuangdi, China
Hittites, Minoans, and Mycenaeans
Early Towns in Anatolia
Balance of Power: The Hittites
The Sea Peoples and the Rise of Israel
The Phoenicians
The Aegean and Greece
The Minoans
The Mycenaeans 449
Site: The Mycenaean Shrine at Phylakopi, Melos Island, Greece
Greek City-States After Mycenae
The Etruscans and the Romans
The Etruscans
The Romans
Europe Before the Romans
Early Copper Working
Battle Axes and Beakers
Site: Ötzi the Iceman, Similaun Glacier, Italian Alps
The European Bronze Age
ÿ Site: Stonehenge, England
Bronze Age Warriors
The Scythians and Other Steppe Peoples
The First Ironworking
The Hallstatt Culture
La Tène Culture
Native American Civilizations
2000 B.C. TO A.D. 1534
Mesoamerican Civilizations
Village Farming
Native American Civilizations
Preclassic Peoples in Mesoamerica
Early Preclassic
Middle Preclassic: The Olmec
Late Preclassic
The Rise of Complex Society in Oaxaca
Monte Albán
Maya Civilization
Maya Origins
Water Management
Kingship: Sacred Space and Time
Political Organization
Classic and Late Classic Maya Political History
Site: Architecture as a Political Statement: The Hieroglyphic Stairway at Copán, Honduras
The Ninth-Century Collapse
The Toltecs
Aztec Civilization and the Spanish Conquest
Andean Civilizations
The Maritime Foundations of Andean Civilization
Coastal Foundations: The Initial Period
El Paraíso and Huaca Florida
Chavín de Huántar
Paracas: Textiles and Coastal Prehistory
Complex Society in the Southern Highlands: Chiripa and Pukara
The Early Intermediate Period
The Moche State
Site: The Lords of Sipán, Peru
The Middle Horizon: Tiwanaku and Wari
The Late Intermediate Period: Sicán and Chimor
The Late Horizon: The Inca State
The Spanish Conquest (1532 to 1534)
Glossary of Cultures and Sites
Glossary of Technical Terms
Bibliography of World Prehistory
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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Customer Reviews

Amazing book! April 12, 2011
This textbook is a required book for one of my anthropology cl[censored], which is required for my major. Although I am not a believer of evolution this textbook has increased my knowledge of the past. Fagan has written a book that is very thorough, in my opinion, and includes many different views on the many aspects of anthropology. I found this textbook to be incredibly dry- but with information such as this I'm not sure how else to present it. If you are interested in a good and fairly in-depth background to prehistory, I believe this textbook will fill that purpose. If you are looking for a 'fun' book, you won't find it here.
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People of the Earth : An Introduction to World Prehistory: 5 out of 5 stars based on 1 user reviews.

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