When a melting Swiss glacier recently revealed the body of a hunter millennia old, the world sat up and took notice. Here, in his well-preserved arrows, tools, and leather garments (not to mention his own remains) was a rare glimpse of life in prehistoric Europe, and it captured the public imagination. Elsewhere more obvious remnants of the pre-classical past have long been objects of fascination: the megaliths of northwestern Europe, the palaces of Crete, the mysterious cave paintings of France. Now archeologist Barry Cunliffe and a team of distinguished experts shed light on this astonishing, long-silent world in a comprehensive and lavishly illustrated account.
Ranging from the earliest settlements through the emergence of Minoan civilization to the barbarian world at the end of the Roman Empire, The Oxford Illustrated Prehistory of Europe provides a fascinating look at how successive cultures adapted to the landscape of Europe. In synthesizing the diverse findings of archeology, the authors capture the sweeping movements of peoples, the spread of agriculture, the growth of metal working, and the rise and fall of cultures. They provide intriguing insight on the Minoan and the Mycenean past underlying classical Greek history, and on the disasters that destroyed Minoan civilization. They explore the increasingly sophisticated societies of northern Europe, revealing surprisingly far-reaching trade between different areas. The peoples of Bronze Age Denmark, for instance, sent amber to Germany in return for scarce metal, while new technologies spread widely across the continent. The book continues through the end of the Roman Empire, exploring the barbarian world beyond Rome's northern frontier.
For centuries, we knew little of the European civilizations that preceded classical Greece or arose outside of the Roman Empire, beyond ancient myths and the writings of Roman observers. Now the most recent discoveries of archeology have been synthesized into one exciting volume. Featuring hundreds of stunning photographs (many in full color), this book provides the most complete account available of the prehistory of European civilization.
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Barry Cuncliffe is Professor of European Archaelogy at Oxford University. He is the author of more than forty books and is a member of the Council for British Archeology.
"As well as the beauty of the book itself, the information it contains is priceless. This volume should be necessary reading, if not a major text, for all students of history, archaeology and anthropology at every level." SCENE (Southwestern Ontario), 28/7/94
'Professor Barry Cunliffe takes the reader on a fascinating journey through the development of Western culture, from the very earliest Palaeolithic man to the Barbarian civilisations of Europe in AD 700. This volume is extensively and beautifully illustrated. This is a very large book, and a
review does little justice to the immense scholarship presented, just as it would be churlish to suggest the slightest criticism. It is a definitive study.'
Richard Pearson, Oxford Times
'This is an 'absolutely fabulous' book. It should be in every school library and, at the price, there is no reason why not. The book is beautifully illustrated. Students of all ages will find something of appeal in this excellent book. Secondary pupils from about thirteen could start to read
the text as well and for sixth formers it provides a synoptic overview of the period.'
James Smith, Teaching History 76 (June 1994)
'Uncluttered by the usual rash of in-text reference, this book reads more like an epic. Highly recommended.'
Ancient, No. 39, June 1994
'Barry Cunliffe has brought together a selection of scholars, who in the main have achieved a well synthesised discussion of the latest evidence in the interpretation of European pre-history and proto-history ... this is a contribution that any level of reader will find makes an enjoyable way
to cover almost two million years of European development.'
Times Higher Education Supplement
'the book succeeds in bringing together material from a variety of contexts in space and time into a single volume ... Its message is only too relevant for the present in emphasising the environmental, ethnic and cultural diversity that goes beyond the modern borders of nation states and
provides an antidote to the nationalist archaeology propagated by the nation state.'
Ray Laurence, University of Reading, European Review of History, Vol. 1, No. 2, 1994
'this deserves to become a standard basic text ... this volume is possibly the best introductory text now available on prehistoric Europe, and a first stop before students move on to texts such as Prehistoric Europe, and a good itnroduction for the interested lay reader.'
J.D. Hill, University of Cambridge, Antiquity, Volume 68, Number 260, September 1994
'... offers general chapters of high quality on Minoan Crete and Mycenaean Greece ... there is excellent 'Further Reading,'
Greece and Rome
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