BEFORE MODERN HUMANS NEW PERSPECTIVES ON THE AFRICAN STONE AGE

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Before Modern Humans

Author : Grant S McCall
ISBN : 9781315433158
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 26.69 MB
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This fascinating volume, assessing Lower and Middle Pleistocene African prehistory, argues that the onset of the Middle Stone Age marks the origins of landscape use patterns resembling those of modern human foragers. Inaugurating a paradigm shift in our understanding of modern human behavior, Grant McCall argues that this transition—related to the origins of “home base” residential site use—occurred in mosaic fashion over the course of hundreds of thousands of years. He concludes by proposing a model of brain evolution driven by increasing subsistence diversity and intensity against the backdrop of larger populations and Pleistocene environmental unpredictability. McCall argues that human brain size did not arise to support the complex patterns of social behavior that pervade our lives today, but instead large human brains were co-opted for these purposes relatively late in prehistory, accounting for the striking archaeological record of the Upper Pleistocene.
Category: Social Science

Stone Tools In Human Evolution

Author : John J. Shea
ISBN : 9781316798904
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 71.48 MB
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In Stone Tools in Human Evolution, John J. Shea argues that over the last three million years hominins' technological strategies shifted from occasional tool use, much like that seen among living non-human primates, to a uniquely human pattern of obligatory tool use. Examining how the lithic archaeological record changed over the course of human evolution, he compares tool use by living humans and non-human primates and predicts how the archaeological stone tool evidence should have changed as distinctively human behaviors evolved. Those behaviors include using cutting tools, logistical mobility (carrying things), language and symbolic artifacts, geographic dispersal and diaspora, and residential sedentism (living in the same place for prolonged periods). Shea then tests those predictions by analyzing the archaeological lithic record from 6,500 years ago to 3.5 million years ago.
Category: Social Science

New Perspectives On Old Stones

Author : Stephen Lycett
ISBN : 144196861X
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 63.46 MB
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As the study of Palaeolithic technologies moves towards a more analytical approach, it is necessary to determine a consistent procedural framework. The contributions to this timely and comprehensive volume do just that. This volume incorporates a broad chronological and geographical range of Palaeolithic material from the Lower to Upper Palaeolithic. The focus of this volume is to provide an analysis of Palaeolithic technologies from a quantitative, empirical perspective. As new techniques, particularly quantitative methods, for analyzing Palaeolithic technologies gain popularity, this work provides case studies showcasing these new techniques. Employing diverse case studies, and utilizing multivariate approaches, morphometrics, model-based approaches, phylogenetics, cultural transmission studies, and experimentation, this volume provides insights from international contributors at the forefront of recent methodological advances.
Category: Social Science

New Perspectives On Prehistoric Art

Author : Günter Berghaus
ISBN : 0275978133
Genre : Architecture
File Size : 86.60 MB
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Presents some current approaches to prehistoric art and offers new insights into the meanings and functions of the era's paintings and sculptures.
Category: Architecture

The Oxford Handbook Of African Archaeology

Author : Peter Mitchell
ISBN : 9780191626159
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 49.10 MB
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Africa has the longest and arguably the most diverse archaeological record of any of the continents. It is where the human lineage first evolved and from where Homo sapiens spread across the rest of the world. Later, it witnessed novel experiments in food-production and unique trajectories to urbanism and the organisation of large communities that were not always structured along strictly hierarchical lines. Millennia of engagement with societies in other parts of the world confirm Africa's active participation in the construction of the modern world, while the richness of its history, ethnography, and linguistics provide unusually powerful opportunities for constructing interdisciplinary narratives of Africa's past. This Handbook provides a comprehensive and up-to-date synthesis of African archaeology, covering the entirety of the continent's past from the beginnings of human evolution to the archaeological legacy of European colonialism. As well as covering almost all periods and regions of the continent, it includes a mixture of key methodological and theoretical issues and debates, and situates the subject's contemporary practice within the discipline's history and the infrastructural challenges now facing its practitioners. Bringing together essays on all these themes from over seventy contributors, many of them living and working in Africa, it offers a highly accessible, contemporary account of the subject for use by scholars and students of not only archaeology, but also history, anthropology, and other disciplines.
Category: Social Science

New Perspectives On The Origins Of Language

Author : Claire Lefebvre
ISBN : 9789027271136
Genre : Language Arts & Disciplines
File Size : 62.58 MB
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The question of how language emerged is one of the most fascinating and difficult problems in science. In recent years, a strong resurgence of interest in the emergence of language from an evolutionary perspective has been helped by the convergence of approaches, methods, and ideas from several disciplines. The selection of contributions in this volume highlight scenarios of language origin and the prerequisites for a faculty of language based on biological, historical, social, cultural, and paleontological forays into the conditions that brought forth and favored language emergence, augmented by insights from sister disciplines. The chapters all reflect new speculation, discoveries and more refined research methods leading to a more focused understanding of the range of possibilities and how we might choose among them. There is much that we do not yet know, but the outlines of the path ahead are ever clearer.
Category: Language Arts & Disciplines

Landscape Of The Mind

Author : John F. Hoffecker
ISBN : 9780231518482
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 26.25 MB
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John F. Hoffecker explores the origin and growth of the mind, drawing on information from the human fossil record, archaeology, and history. Hoffecker argues that, as an indirect result of bipedal locomotion, early humans developed a feedback relationship among their hands, brains, and tools, evolving the capacity to externalize thoughts in the form of shaped stone objects. When anatomically modern humans evolved a parallel capacity to externalize thought as symbolic language, individual brains within social groups were integrated into a neocortical internet, or super-brain, thus giving birth to the mind. Noting that archaeological traces of symbolism coincide with evidence for the ability to generate novel technology, Hoffecker contends that human creativity, as well as higher-order consciousness, is a product of the collective super-brain. Hoffecker equates the subsequent growth of the mind with human history, which began in Africa more than 50,000 years ago. As anatomically modern humans spread across the globe, adapting to a variety of climates and habitats, they redesigned themselves technologically and developed alternative realities via toolmaking, tool use, and artistic expression. Hoffecker connects the rise of civilization to a hierarchical reorganization of the super-brain, triggered by explosive population growth. According to him, subsequent history reflects the varying degrees to which rigid hierarchies of states and empires suppressed the creative powers of the mind, constraining the further accumulation of knowledge. The modern world emerged from the fragments of a collapsed empire after 1200 AD. In the final chapter, Hoffecker speculates on the possibility of artificial intelligence and a mind without biology.
Category: Social Science

Strategies For Quantitative Research

Author : Grant S. McCall
ISBN : 113863252X
Genre :
File Size : 45.3 MB
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It is little secret that most archaeologists are uneasy with statistics. Thankfully, in the modern world, quantitative analysis has been made immensely easier by statistical software packages. Software now does virtually all our statistical calculations, removing a great burden for researchers. At the same time, since most statistical analysis now takes place through the pushing of buttons in software packages, new problems and dangers have emerged. How does one know which statistical test to use? How can one tell if certain data violate the assumptions of a particular statistical analysis? Rather than focusing on the mathematics of calculation, this concise handbook selects appropriate forms of analysis and explains the assumptions that underlie them. It deals with fundamental issues, such as what kinds of data are common in the field of archaeology and what are the goals of various forms of analysis. This accessible textbook lends a refreshing playfulness to an often-humorless subject and will be enjoyed by students and professionals alike.
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Lone Survivors

Author : Chris Stringer
ISBN : 9781429973441
Genre : Science
File Size : 89.23 MB
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A leading researcher on human evolution proposes a new and controversial theory of how our species came to be In this groundbreaking and engaging work of science, world-renowned paleoanthropologist Chris Stringer sets out a new theory of humanity's origin, challenging both the multiregionalists (who hold that modern humans developed from ancient ancestors in different parts of the world) and his own "out of Africa" theory, which maintains that humans emerged rapidly in one small part of Africa and then spread to replace all other humans within and outside the continent. Stringer's new theory, based on archeological and genetic evidence, holds that distinct humans coexisted and competed across the African continent—exchanging genes, tools, and behavioral strategies. Stringer draws on analyses of old and new fossils from around the world, DNA studies of Neanderthals (using the full genome map) and other species, and recent archeological digs to unveil his new theory. He shows how the most sensational recent fossil findings fit with his model, and he questions previous concepts (including his own) of modernity and how it evolved. Lone Survivors will be the definitive account of who and what we were, and will change perceptions about our origins and about what it means to be human.
Category: Science

Transitions Before The Transition

Author : Erella Hovers
ISBN : 0387246614
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 31.91 MB
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Modern human origins and the fate of the Neanderthals are arguably the most compelling and contentious arenas in paleoanthropology. The much-discussed split between advocates of a single, early emergence of anatomically modern humans in sub-Saharan Africa and supporters of various regional continuity positions is only part of the picture. Equally if not more important are questions surrounding the origins of modern behavior, and the relationships between anatomical and behavioral changes that occurred during the past 200,000 years. Although modern humans as a species may be defined in terms of their skeletal anatomy, it is their behavior, and the social and cognitive structures that support that behavior, which most clearly distinguish Homo sapiens from earlier forms of humans. This book assembles researchers working in Eurasia and Africa to discuss the archaeological record of the Middle Paleolithic and the Middle Stone Age. This is a time period when Homo sapiens last shared the world with other species, and during which patterns of behavior characteristic of modern humans developed and coalesced. Contributions to this volume query and challenge some current notions about the tempo and mode of cultural evolution, and about the processes that underlie the emergence of modern behavior. The papers focus on several fundamental questions. Do typical elements of "modern human behavior" appear suddenly, or are there earlier archaeological precursors of them? Are the archaeological records of the Middle Paleolithic and Middle Stone Age unchanging and monotonous, or are there detectable evolutionary trends within these periods? Coming to diverse conclusions, the papers in this volume open up new avenues to thinking about this crucial interval in human evolutionary history.
Category: Social Science