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Patterns in Prehistory: Humankind's First Three Million Years

Patterns in Prehistory: Humankind's First Three Million Years

Paperback Casebooks in Criticism

By (author) Robert J. Wenke, By (author) Deborah I. Olszewski

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  • Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
  • Format: Paperback | 640 pages
  • Dimensions: 188mm x 231mm x 25mm | 975g
  • Publication date: 21 September 2006
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 019516928X
  • ISBN 13: 9780195169287
  • Edition: 5, Revised
  • Edition statement: 5th Revised edition
  • Illustrations note: Numerous halftones and line drawings
  • Sales rank: 370,639

Product description

Who are we? How did the world become what it is today? What paths did humanity traverse along the way? Patterns in Prehistory, Fifth Edition, is a comprehensive and engaging survey of humanity's past three million years. It brings together theories and archaeological examples to pose questions about who we are and the means by which humanity evolved into what it is today. Ideal for introductory courses in world prehistory and origins of complex societies, Patterns of Prehistory, Fifth Edition, offers a unified and thematic approach to the four great transformations-or patterns-that characterize humanity's past: the origins and evolution of culture; the origins of modern humans and human behaviors; the origins of agriculture; and the origins of complex societies, civilizations, and pre-industrial states. Integrating theoretical approaches with archaeological data from the Middle East, Mesoamerica, North and South America, Egypt, China, the Indus Valley, and temperate Europe, Patterns of Prehistory, Fifth Edition, reveals how archaeologists decipher the past. It demonstrates how theory and method are combined to derive interpretations and also considers how interpretations evolve as a result of accumulating data, technological advances in recording and analyzing data sets, and newer theoretical perspectives. This new edition of Patterns of Prehistory provides: * Fresh insights with the addition of coauthor Deborah Olszewski, who has carefully reviewed and revamped the material with an eye toward making the text clearly understandable to today's students * Updated discussions throughout, including expanded information on post-processual archaeology, current methodologies, and technological advances * Approximately 250 illustrations and maps, more than half of which are new to this edition * Groundbreaking research on new discoveries of hominin fossils, genetic research, prehistoric migrations, the peopling of the Americas, and theories of the origins of agriculture and the origins of complex societies * Timelines for all relevant chapters as well as an overarching timeline for the entire book to help students place events in context * Extensively updated chapter bibliographies and chapter endnotes

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Review quote

"I've read the entire volume, word for word, in part because I continue to learn new things from every revision of Wenke's work. It continues to be the best introductory book on world prehistory on the market. The text is easily accessible and serious at the same time, and I highly recommend it for courses that are designed as overviews of the emergence of modern humans as a biological and social species."-Terence N. D'Altroy, Columbia University "Patterns in Prehistory does a better job of covering the whole scope of archaeological achievement than any other book on the market."-Paul Zimansky, Boston University

Table of contents

Chapters 1-15 end with a Summary and Conclusions. ; CHAPTER 1. PREHISTORY, HISTORY, AND ARCHAEOLOGY ; What Are Archaeologists Looking For? (The Meaning of the Past) ; Archaeology as the Reconstruction of Extinct Cultures and Their Histories ; Archaeology as a Body of Theories and Methods for Explaining the Past ; A Short History of Attempts to Understand the Past ; CHAPTER 2. FUNDAMENTALS OF ARCHAEOLOGY ; Archaeologists and the Practice of Archaeology ; The Basic Data of the Past ; Analyses of the Past ; Dating the Past ; CHAPTER 3. THE ORIGINS OF CULTURE ; The Problem of Cultural Origins ; The Nature of Culture ; The Ecological Context of Cultural Origins ; Models of Cultural Origins ; CHAPTER 4. THE ORIGINS OF HOMO SAPIENS SAPIENS ; Human Evolution and Radiation: 1.8 million to Circa 300,000 Years Ago ; Homo sapiens: Models of Origins ; The Middle to Upper Paleolithic Period ; Human Colonization of the World: Circa 30,000-10,000 Years Ago ; CHAPTER 5. THE FIRST AMERICANS ; Routes for the Initial Colonization of the Americas ; Evidence for the First Americans ; Early Paleoindian Economies ; CHAPTER 6. THE ORIGINS OF AGRICULTURE ; Agriculture, Domestication, and Sedentary Communities ; Hypotheses About the Origins of Domestication, Agriculture, and Sedentary Communities ; Early Domestication and Agriculture: The Post-Paleolithic Background ; The Origins of Domestication, Agriculture, and Sedentary Communities in Southwest Asia ; Other Old World Domesticates ; Agricultural Origins in the New World ; CHAPTER 7. THE EVOLUTION OF COMPLEX SOCIETIES ; Social Complexity and Human Values ; Traditional Sociocultural Typologies ; Contemporary Approaches to Sociocultural Typology ; The Archaeology of Complex Societies ; Explaining the Evolution of Civilizations: The Search for Causes ; CHAPTER 8. ORIGINS OF COMPLEX SOCIETIES IN SOUTHWEST ASIA ; The Ecological Setting ; Fundamentals of the Southwest Asian Archaeological Record ; The Neolithic Origins of Southwest Asian Civilization ; Initial Cultural Complexity ; Early States: The Uruk and Jemdet Nasr Periods ; The Early Dynastic Period ; Southwest Asia After 2350 B.C. ; CHAPTER 9: THE ORIGINS OF COMPLEX SOCIETIES IN EGYPT ; The Ecological Setting ; Early Egyptian Agriculture ; The Predynastic Period ; The Archaic, Old Kingdom, and First Intermediate Periods ; The Middle Kingdom and Second Intermediate Periods ; The New Kingdom and Third Intermediate Periods ; Ancient Egyptian Art and Thought ; Egyptian Writing and Literature ; Who Were the Ancient Egyptians? ; CHAPTER 10. THE EVOLUTION OF COMPLEX SOCIETIES IN THE INDUS VALLEY ; The Ecological Setting ; The Neolithic Background to South Asian Cultural Complexity ; The Neolithic-Urban Transition ; Early Harappan Culture ; Mature Harappan Civilization ; The Decline of Harappan Civilization ; CHAPTER 11. THE EVOLUTION OF COMPLEX SOCIETIES IN CHINA ; The Ecological Setting ; Early Farmers ; Regional Neolithic Developments in North China ; Early Complex Chinese Societies ; Erh-li-t'ou Culture ; Shang Civilization and Its Contemporaries ; Early Imperial China ; CHAPTER 12. LATER COMPLEX SOCIETIES OF THE OLD WORLD ; Temperate Europe ; A Brief Overview of Other Later Old World Complex Societies ; Colonization of the Western Pacific Islands ; CHAPTER 13. THE EVOLUTION OF COMPLEX SOCIETIES IN MESOAMERICA ; The Ecological Setting ; Early Mesoamerican Farming ; The Archaeological Record of Early Complex Mesoamerican Societies ; The Archaeological Record of Mesoamerican States in the Valleys of Mexico and Oaxaca ; The Maya ; Postclassic Mesoamerica ; The Spanish Conquest ; CHAPTER 14. THE EVOLUTION OF COMPLEX SOCIETIES IN ANDEAN SOUTH AMERICA ; The Ecological Setting ; Early Hunters and Gatherers ; The Agricultural Basis of Andean Civilization ; The First Complex Societies in Andean South America ; The Early Horizon ; The Early Intermediate Period: Early States ; The Middle Horizon: Competing States ; The Late Intermediate Period: Early Empires ; The Late Horizon: The Imperial Transformation ; The European Conquest ; CHAPTER 15. EARLY CULTURAL COMPLEXITY IN NORTH AMERICA ; The Ecological Setting ; The North American East ; The North American Southwest ; CHAPTER 16. PREHISTORY IN PERSPECTIVE ; Our Intellectual Heritage ; Lessons of Prehistory ; The Future of Archaeology