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A textbook on archaeology: its history; the variety of evidence; survey and excavation of sites and features; dating methods; social, environmental and cognitive archaeology; 5 case studies, and the archaeology of people.
Monuments in Central and Western Europe have proved to be older than their supposed Near-Eastern forerunners, and the record must be almost completely rewritten in the light of these new dates. Before Civilization is an attempt to do this with the help of analogies from more recent and well-documented primitive societies.
An increasingly influential school of thought in cognitive science views the mind as embodied, extended, and distributed, rather than brain-bound, "all in the head." This shift in perspective raises important questions about the relationship between cognition and material culture, posing major challenges for philosophy, cognitive science, archaeology, and anthropology. In How Things Shape the Mind, Lambros Malafouris proposes a cross-disciplinary analytical framework for investigating the different ways in which things have become cognitive extensions of the human body. Using a variety of examples and case studies, he considers how those ways might have changed from earliest prehistory to the present. Malafouris's Material Engagement Theory adds materiality -- the world of things, artifacts, and material signs -- into the cognitive equation definitively. His account not only questions conventional intuitions about the boundaries and location of the human mind but also suggests that we rethink classical archaeological assumptions about human cognitive evolution. Arguing that the understanding of human cognition is essentially interlocked with the study of the technical mediations that constitute the central nodes of a materially extended and distributed human mind, Malafouris offers a series of archaeological and anthropological case studies -- from Stone Age tools to the modern potter's wheel -- to test his theory. How do things shape the mind? Considering the implications of the seemingly uniquely human predisposition to reconfigure our bodies and our senses by using tools and material culture, Malafouris adds a fresh perspective on a foundational issue in the study of human cognition.
Prehistory covers human existence before written records, i. e. most of human existence. But it also refers to the discipline through which we scrutinize prehistoric times. PREHISTORY begins by looking at the discovery of a remote human past and the subsequent dramatic growth of the study of prehistory: early archaeology; geology; Darwin's ideas of evolution; cave paintings; fossil discoveries of human ancestors; museums and collections; radiocarbon dating and DNA analysis. Renfrew challenges the conventional assumption of an all-important 'human revolution' 40,000 years ago - when Homo Sapiens first appeared in Europe - and suggests that the key developments were much later. The author's case-studies range widely, from Orkney to the Balkans, from the Indus Valley to Peru, from Ireland to China, and provide fresh insights on landmark monuments such as the Egyptian pyramids, the Valley of the Kings, Stonehenge and the sacrificial burial pyramids at Teotihuacan in Mexico. The book closes with a fascinating chapter on the transition from Prehistory to History, on early writing systems.
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