A Global Human History 20,000 - 5,000 BC
by Steven Mithen
• Hardcover: 256 pages
• Publisher: Harvard University Press
• Language: English
• ISBN-10: 0810943638
• ASIN: B0002IA1O0
Bradshaw Foundation - Editor's Review
Steven Mithen brings this world to life through the eyes of an imaginery modern traveller - John Lubbock, namesake of the great Victorian polymath and author of 'Prehistoric Times'. With Lubbock, readers visit and observe communities and landscapes, experiencing prehistoric life - from aboriginal hunting parties in Tasmania, to the corralling of wild sheep in the central Sahara, to the efforts of the Guila Naquitz people in Oaxaca to combat drought with agricultural innovations.
The 'Lubbock' device is clever. With a guide, you can hear the voices, smell the fires. You experience rather than simply read. It reminded me strongly of being led by a very worthy guide - Dr Jean Clottes - through Chauvet Cave in 2005.
The other clever, and poignant, aspect of this book is that Mithen explores how studying the abrupt transition between the ice age and a period of global warming could provide clues to the effects of climate changes going on today.
Nina Jablonski states that 'by the end of this rich and multilayered book, I was dazzled and hungry for more. Mithen has succeeded where other archaeologists have failed: he transports the reader back into the past, showing evocatively how humans adapted to 15,000 years worth of environmental change.' And as Lawrence Guy Straus points out, the book 'evokes the real excitement of doing Stone Age archaeology - from the digging to the debating the meaning of the finds.'
The Bradshaw Foundation Book Review
|Professor Steven Mithen is Pro-Vice-Chancellor (International and External Engagement) at the University of Reading. Having originally studied Fine Art at the Slade School, he took a BA in Prehistory & Archaeology at Sheffield University, an MSc in Biological Computation from York University and a PhD in Archaeology at Cambridge University, where he taught prior to moving to a Lectureship at the University of Reading in 1992. Prior to his appointment as Pro-Vice Chancellor, Steven served as Head of the School of Human & Environmental Sciences (2003-2008) and Dean of the Faculty of Science (2008-2010). Steven's research interests concern early prehistoric communities and the evolution of human intelligence, language and music, with long-term field projects in Western Scotland (Mesolithic) and Southern Jordan (early Neolithic). His recent books include After the Ice (2003), The Singing Neanderthals(2005), The Early Prehistory of Wadi Faynan (2007), To The Islands… (2010), and Water, Life & Civilisation (forthcoming 2011). He was elected as a Fellow of the British Academy in 2003.