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Settlement, Society and Cognition in Human Evolution


  • 68 b/w illus. 23 maps 23 tables
  • Page extent: 0 pages

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 (ISBN-13: 9781316213551)

This volume provides a landscape narrative of early hominin evolution, linking conventional material and geographic aspects of the early archaeological record with wider and more elusive social, cognitive and symbolic landscapes. It seeks to move beyond a limiting notion of early hominin culture and behaviour as dictated solely by the environment to present the early hominin world as the outcome of a dynamic dialogue between the physical environment and its perception and habitation by active agents. This international group of contributors presents theoretically informed yet empirically based perspectives on hominin and human landscapes.

• Includes 17 contributions by both well-known and up-and-coming scholars of the Palaeolithic and human evolution • Recognises, celebrates and builds on the contributions made by Clive Gamble to the study of the Palaeolithic • Challenges common assumption that early hominin culture and behaviour was dictated solely by the environment, thus restoring the role of agency in the discussion of early hominin evolution


1. What use is the Palaeolithic in promoting new prehistoric narratives? Chris Gosden; 2. Local objects, distant symbols: fission-fusion social systems and the evolution of human cognition Matt Grove and Robin Dunbar; 3. The extension of social relations in time and space during the Palaeolithic and beyond Dwight Read and Sander van der Leeuw; 4. Beyond animality and humanity: landscape, metaphor and identity in the early Upper Palaeolithic of Central Europe Martin Porr; 5. At the heart of the African Acheulean: the physical, social and cognitive landscapes of Kilombe John A. J. Gowlett, James S. Brink, Andy I. R. Herries, Sally Hoare, Isaya Onjala and Stephen M. Rucina; 6. All in a day's work?: early conflicts in expertise, life history and time management Anthony Sinclair; 7. To see a world in a hafted tool: birch-pitch composite technology, cognition and memory in Neanderthals R. M. Wragg Sykes; 8. Ecological niches, technological developments and physical adaptations of early humans in Europe: the handaxe-heidelbergensis hypothesis Nick Ashton; 9. 'Dancing to the rhythms of the biotidal zone': settlement history and culture history in Middle Pleistocene Britain Mark J. White; 10. 'Forest furniture' or 'forest managers'?: on Neanderthal presence in Last Interglacial environments Wil Roebroeks and Corrie C. Bakels; 11. Late Pleistocene hominin adaptations in Greece Paraskevi Elefanti and Gilbert Marshall; 12. In search of group identity: Late Pleistocene foragers in northern China Ofer Bar-Yosef; 13. Handaxe symmetry in the Lower and Middle Palaeolithic: implications for the Acheulean gaze James Cole; 14. Landscapes of the dead: the evolution of human mortuary activity from body to place in Palaeolithic Europe Paul Pettitt; 15. Encoding and decoding the message: the case of mid Upper Palaeolithic female imagery Margherita Mussi; 16. Contextualising the female image: symbols for common ideas and communal identity in Upper Palaeolithic societies Sabine Gaudzinski-Windheuser and Olaf Jöris; 17. Taking a gamble: alternative approaches to the Mesolithic of western Scotland Steven Mithen.


Chris Gosden, Matt Grove, Robin Dunbar, Dwight Read, Sander van der Leeuw, Martin Porr, John A. J. Gowlett, James S. Brink, Andy I. R. Herries, Sally Hoare, Isaya Onjala, Stephen M. Rucina, Anthony Sinclair, R. M. Wragg Sykes, Nick Ashton, Mark J. White, Wil Roebroeks, Corrie C. Bakels, Paraskevi Elefanti, Gilbert Marshall, Ofer Bar-Yosef, James Cole, Paul Pettitt, Margherita Mussi, Sabine Gaudzinski-Windheuser, Olaf Jöris, Steven Mithen

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