Places in Time: Exploring Prehistoric Europe

Places in Time: Exploring Prehistoric Europe

Hardback Places in Time

By (author) Christopher Scarre

List price $49.95

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  • Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
  • Format: Hardback | 240 pages
  • Dimensions: 196mm x 249mm x 23mm | 930g
  • Publication date: 4 March 1999
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 0195103238
  • ISBN 13: 9780195103236
  • Illustrations note: numerous black and white and colour illustrations

Product description

Part travel guide, part survey of Europe's prehistory, Exploring Prehistoric Europe delves into fifteen of the most famous, most important, and most exciting archaeological sites in Europe. The first volume in the Places in Time series, this beautiful book takes us to locales both famous and obscure, from Ireland to Poland to Malta, ranging chronologically from Terra Amata, a site in southern France occupied some 380,000 years ago, to Borremose, a Danish settlement that dates to Roman times. The author, archaeologist Chris Scarre, examines the haunting cave paintings of Lascaux, France; the stone circle and ritual complexes of Avebury, England; and the ever mysterious Stonehenge-as well as lesser known but no less intriguing sites around Europe. For each location, he conducts a careful tour of the existing remains, describes the history of its excavation, and then interprets how the site might have been built, used, or occupied. Readers will explore a variety of cultures and monuments, from megalithic stone circles to Neolithic villages to Bronze Age tombs, and see intimate portraits of the daily life of Europe's prehistoric ancestors. Perhaps equally important, Scarre has selected the sites with accessibility in mind-all can be easily reached by the modern tourist-and he also highlights local museums and visitor centers where further artifacts and information can be found. Beautifully illustrated with maps and full-color photographs, Exploring Prehistoric Europe makes the perfect companion for the historically minded traveler-or the reader who wants to curl up at home and wander at leisure through the distant past.

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Author information

Chris Scarre is Deputy Director of the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, University of Cambridge. He is author of such works as Timelines of the Ancient World and Past Worlds: The Times Atlas of Archaeology, and is also an editor of The Oxford Companion to Archaeology. He has directed excavations at several sites in France and has participated in fieldwork in Britain and the Aegean. He lives in Cambridge, UK.

Editorial reviews

In an ever-absorbing survey, archaeologist Scarre, deputy director of the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research at Cambridge University, offers a fascinating glimpse of the vanished worlds of early humankind. From 40,000 B.C., when biologically modern humans first colonized Europe from Africa, through the classical epoch, Europe was traversed by groups of hunters, gatherers, and farmers whose only legacies are the campsites, forts, and graves they left behind. From hundreds of prehistoric sites, Scarre has selected 15 of the most spectacular, ranging from Terra Amata, a 380,000-year-old camp of early hominid hunters and gatherers near what is now Nice, in France, to Maiden Castle, a fortification near Dorchester in southern England that fell to the Romans in 50 A.D. A few will be familiar to nonspecialists - the evocative cave paintings of Lascaux, France, for instance, and the intriguing stone circles at Stonehenge - but most are less well known, if no less interesting. Scarre tells of Biskupin, a preserved timber town in northern Poland from 730 B.C. that was discovered in 1933 and has been called the "Polish Pompeii" (though much has had to be reconstructed as a result of WWII damage to the site); of Hochdorf, the richly decorated grave of a Celtic chief in Germany from around 550 B.C; of Borremose, a Danish settlement from 300-100 B.C. preserved in peat, that contains perfectly intact bodies of what appear to have been murder or execution victims; and of rock art in Portugal and Italy that vividly recreates Ice Age fauna. Scarre describes each site, summarizes what little is known of the lives and customs of the inhabitants of each (for the later sites, he can sometimes rely on classical sources, such as Tacitus and Strabo), and draws speculative inferences about each culture from the site's artistic representations, layout, or physical characteristics. With careful analysis of the sometimes sparse archaeological evidence, Scarre is able to provide vivid snapshots from the distant past. Well researched and well narrated, Scarre's survey of prehistoric Europe is also informative and haunting. (Kirkus Reviews)