The scope of this book is immense, as is its contribution to the study of archaeology. Within nineteen broad geographical sections, numerous specialists survey the span of human prehistory, examining key social developments, new and emerging technologies, and tracing the movement of human populations across the globe and the development of human experience. The study also comprises a re-evaluation of archaeological traditions and conceptions; each discussion, whether it is of the chiefdoms of Polynesia, the mounds of North America, Mesopotamian Uruk, Mycenaean Greece, Saharan hunters, Hittite Anatolia or Neanderthal Europe, includes a review of key controversies that have interested experts in that area for decades. Within each section there are also analyses of key sites. Supported by numerous colour photographs, helpful illustrations, chronologies, diagrams and maps, as well as panels of text that expand on certain topics, this is an invaluable reference for any student of archaeology and prehistory. The second edition has been fully revised and updated throughout, to take into account new theories and discoveries from around the world, including new sites such as the Maya temple San Bartolo, the earliest cult centre of Gobekli Tepe, Turkey, the royal tombs of Qatna in Syria, and the Chinese city of Jinsha, as well as new evidence for the earliest human ancestors and the dates of domestication of plants and animals. 'A magnificent achievement - Chris Scarre has brought together a brilliant international team to provide the most up-to-date overview of world history. The Human past is absolutely essential reading for all students of archaeology.' - Barry Cunliffe.
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Chris Scarre is Professor of Archaeology at Durham University. He is a specialist in European prehistory with a related interest in the ancient Near East and the Classical world of Greece and Rome. He was editor and principal author of Past Worlds: The Times Atlas of Archaeology (1995); more recently he co-authored Ancient Civilizations (with Brian Fagan, 3rd ed., 2007). He has directed and co-directed excavations at prehistoric sites in France, Portugal, and the Channel Islands, most recently exploring the prehistoric monuments of Herm (Guernsey). His current research interests include the study of archaeoacoustics and the color, origin, and symbolic significance of materials in the Neolithic monuments of Western Europe.
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