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Before Modern Humans

Author : Grant S McCall
ISBN : 9781315433158
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 75.99 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 : 48.15 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 : 50.19 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

Transitions Before The Transition

Author : Erella Hovers
ISBN : 0387246614
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 78.46 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

New Perspectives On Prehistoric Art

Author : Günter Berghaus
ISBN : 0275978133
Genre : Architecture
File Size : 32.11 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

Rethinking The Human Revolution

Author : Paul Mellars
ISBN : 1902937465
Genre : Science
File Size : 21.96 MB
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Arising from a conference Rethinking the Human Revolution reconsiders all of the central issues in modern human behavioural, cognitive, biological and demographic origins in the light of new information and new theoretical perspectives which have emerged over the past twenty years of intensive research in this field. The 34 papers cover topics ranging from the DNA and skeletal evidence for modern human origins in Africa, through the archaeological evidence for the emergence of distinctively 'modern' patterns of human behaviour and cognition, to the various lines of evidence for the geographical dispersal patterns of biologically and behaviourally modern populations from their African origins throughout Asia, Australasia and Europe, over the past 60,000 years.
Category: Science

The Oxford Handbook Of African Archaeology

Author : Peter Mitchell
ISBN : 9780191626159
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 61.38 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 : 65.23 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

Quaternary Environmental Change In Southern Africa

Author : Jasper Knight
ISBN : 9781107055797
Genre : Science
File Size : 62.37 MB
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Provides a benchmark study of southern African landscape evolution during the Quaternary, for researchers, professionals and policymakers.
Category: Science

West African Archaeology

Author : Philip Allsworth-Jones
ISBN : 1407307088
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 25.43 MB
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The book contains papers read at the conference West African archaeology, New developments, New perspectives, co-sponsored by the Nigerian Field Society and the Department of Archaeology of the University of Sheffield, with the support of the Universitys Humanities Research Institute, was held at the HRI in Sheffield on 27 June 2009. They are a testimony to the fact that - for all the constraints imposed upon it - archaeological research in West Africa continues to be pursued actively and to make a significant contribution to the subject in the continent as a whole. Contents: Introduction (Philip Allsworth-Jones); Ounjougou: a long Middle Stone Age sequence in the Dogon country (Mali) (Sylvain Soriano, Michel Rasse, Chantal Tribolo, Eric Huysecom); Middle Stone Age Sangoan-Lupemban Lithic Assemblages of Africa (Laura Basell) The archaeological context of the Iwo Eleru cranium from Nigeria and preliminary results of new morphometric studies (Philip Allsworth-Jones, Katerina Harvati, Chris Stringer); A developmental history for early West African agriculture (Katie Manning); Recent developments in iron-working research in West Africa (Len Pole); Beyond Art, Archaeological studies on the Nok Culture, Central Nigeria (Nicole Rupp); Destructive times, constructive measures: Danish funding and collaboration to develop archaeology in Benin (Klavs Randsborg); Between the Forest and the Sudan: The Dynamics of Trade in Northern Ghana (Joanna Casey); Was Benin a forest kingdom? Attempting to reconstruct landscapes in Southern Nigeria (Pauline von Hellermann); The archaeology and palynology of Ajaba, a late iron-age settlement in north-east Yoruba land, Nigeria: some preliminary results (A.E. Orijemie, A. Ogunfolakan, J.O. Aleru, M.A. Sowunmi); The Stone Arm Rings and Related Polished Stone Industries of Hombori (Mali) (K.C. MacDonald); Contextualising the DGB sites of northern Cameroon(Gerhard Muller-Kosack); Ethnoarchaeology at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture Ibadan: excavation of the mound at Adesina Oja in the Archaeological Reserve (Philip Allsworth-Jones); The Dundu Museum (Angola): project for its reopening and renovation (2007) (Manuel Laranjeira Rodrigues de Areia); The linguistic geography of Nigeria and its implications for prehistory (Roger Blench).
Category: Social Science