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Prehistoric Stone Tools of Eastern Africa
A Guide

$119.00 (C)

  • Author: John J. Shea, State University of New York, Stony Brook
  • Date Published: May 2020
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108424431

$ 119.00 (C)

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About the Authors
  • Stone tools are the least familiar objects that archaeologists recover from their excavations, and predictably, they struggle to understand them. Eastern Africa alone boasts a 3.4 million-year-long archaeological record but its stone tool evidence still remains disorganized, unsynthesized, and all-but-impenetrable to non-experts, and especially so to students from Eastern African countries. In this book, John J. Shea offers a simple, straightforward, and richly illustrated introduction in how to read stone tools. An experienced stone tool analyst and an expert stoneworker, he synthesizes the Eastern African stone tool evidence for the first time. Shea presents the EAST Typology, a new framework for describing stone tools specifically designed to allow archaeologists to do what they currently cannot: compare stone tool evidence across the full sweep of Eastern African prehistory. He also includes a series of short, fictional, and humorous vignettes set on an Eastern African archaeological excavation, which illustrate the major issues and controversies in research about stone tools.

    • Provides a detailed classification system for stone artifacts applicable to any and all phases of Eastern Africa's 3.5 million-year archaeological record
    • Contains hundreds of detailed illustrations of important artifact-types, as well as diagrams reconstructing how prehistoric stoneworkers made tools
    • Presents a student's-eye view of major issues in archaeological stone tool analysis and interpretation through short humorous fictional vignettes
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    Reviews & endorsements

    ‘… the typology presented here is far-reaching and covers a vast chronological and geographic span. For students, this book presents a very good overview of East African prehistory focused on the stone tool record and the basics of lithic technology, as well as providing a new means by which to approach lithic assemblages. For new and established researchers this book prompts us to question why we study lithics, what information can be gained from them and how can we develop, as a discipline, our methodologies so as to address the big questions of palaeoanthropology and human behaviour.’ Tomos Proffitt, Journal of African Archaeology

    ‘… Shea is unquestionably one of the most experienced lithic knappers and analysts currently working in Africa. This guide is therefore a sound reference book for students looking to acquire the basics of lithic analysis and East African prehistory …’ Katja Douze, African Archaeological Review

    ‘With authority, clarity, and often his characteristic wit, Shea expertly presents the breadth of Eastern African lithic archaeology, providing the first thorough review of the region in more than half a century (Cole, 1954). This work lives up to its name and is likely to become standard reading and reference for students interested in not only Eastern Africa, but stone tool technology more broadly.’ Evan Patrick Wilson, Lithic Technology

    ‘The book is explicitly intended for students. It is nonetheless highly recommended to all lithic analysts working in eastern Africa (or indeed any other part of the continent) as a reference and teaching manual.’ Steven T. Goldstein, Azania: Archaeological Research in Africa

    ‘Impressively, this guide offers … one of the most comprehensive syntheses of Eastern African stone tool evidence to date … This guide, and the associated EAST Typology, is a welcome addition to the reading list of any student or professional interested in African archeology. The style, content and nature of the book is ideally pitched as an introduction for those with little to no prior knowledge of the Eastern African stone tool record, providing helpful guidance, clear illustrations and detailed descriptions. Its extensive coverage of Eastern African stone tool evidence is outstanding but not overwhelming for beginners due to its simple and straightforward language. The EAST Typology is an easy to-use yet comprehensive mode-based system that could be easily adopted by students and professionals alike.’ Lucy Timbrell, Evolutionary Anthropology

    ‘… the book will prove a useful reference for decades to come.’ Christian A. Tryon, American Antiquity

    ‘Shea’s book [offers] profound insights by which we can improve the archaeological enterprise in China and East Asia.’ Yongxian Wang, Asian Archaeology

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    Product details

    • Date Published: May 2020
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108424431
    • length: 317 pages
    • dimensions: 260 x 183 x 17 mm
    • weight: 0.81kg
    • contains: 52 b/w illus. 10 tables
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. Stone tools: essential terms and concepts
    3. How to read stone tools
    4. Eastern Africa
    5. The Eastern African lithic record
    6. Cores and tools
    7. Flakes/detached pieces
    8. Retouched pieces
    9. Percussors and groundstone artifacts
    10. Conclusion.

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    Prehistoric Stone Tools of Eastern Africa

    John J. Shea

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  • Author

    John J. Shea, State University of New York, Stony Brook
    John J. Shea is Professor of Anthropology at Stony Brook University, New York. He is the author of Stone Tools in Human Evolution (Cambridge, 2016) and Stone Tools in the Paleolithic and Neolithic of the Near East: A Guide (Cambridge, 2012).

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