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In this study Clive Gamble presents and questions two of the most famous descriptions of change in prehistory. The first is the 'human revolution', when evidence for art, music, religion and language first appears. The second is the economic and social revolution of the Neolithic period. Gamble identifies the historical agendas behind 'origins research' and presents a bold alternative to these established frameworks, relating the study of change to the material basis of human identity. He examines, through artefact proxies, how changing identities can be understood using embodied material metaphors and in two major case-studies charts the prehistory of innovations, asking, did agriculture really change the social world? This is an important and challenging book that will be essential reading for every student and scholar of prehistory.Read more
- Presents an entirely new framework for understanding change in prehistory
- Keynote work by one of the best known, most innovative and most accessible of contemporary prehistorians
- Theoretically innovative, supported with in-depth case-studies
Reviews & endorsements
"Origins and Revolutions is an effervescent read that skillfully challenges many of the sacred cows of archaeology. It is rich and deep in the philosophical acumen and attention to social theory for which Gamble is known. He also writes with an admirable sense of humour and irony; he knows how to join humanistic flair with empirical rigour at the dig."
-Robert N. Proctor, Stanford University, NatureSee more reviews
"[Gamble] offers archaeologists of all theoretical persuasions a new way to examine the past, one that is sure to intrigue us for some time to come."
-Pamela R. Willoughby, University of Alberta, Canadian Journal of Archaeology
"… dense with provocative ideas, fresh points of view, an intellectual background that ranges far and wide between academic disciplines and schools of thought … this book should be read by professionals and graduate students as an eye-opener to alternative narratives of human evolution … an intriguing book …"
Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute
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- Date Published: April 2007
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9780521677493
- length: 366 pages
- dimensions: 229 x 154 x 18 mm
- weight: 0.483kg
- contains: 30 b/w illus.
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
Part I. Steps to the Present: Prologue: the longest of long revolutions
1. The neolithic revolution
2. The human revolution
3. Metaphors for origins
Part II. The Material Basis of Identity:
4. Bodies, instruments and containers:
5. The accumulation and enchainment of identity
6. Consuming and fragmenting people and things
Part III. Interpreting Change:
7. A prehistory of human thechnology:
3 million to 5000 thousand years ago
8. Did agriculture change the world?
Epilogue: the good upheaval.
Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses
- Current Archaeology
- Western Civilization I - desk copy request - need regular copy, not eReview.
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