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Look Inside The Birth of the Gods and the Origins of Agriculture

The Birth of the Gods and the Origins of Agriculture


Part of New Studies in Archaeology

  • Date Published: August 2007
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521039086

£ 42.99

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About the Authors
  • Jacques Cauvin has spent many years researching the beginnings of the Neolithic in the Near East, excavating key sites and developing new ideas to explain the hugely significant cultural, social and economic changes which transformed mobile hunter-gatherers into the first village societies and farmers in the world. In this book, first published in 2000, the synthesis of his mature understanding of the process beginning around 14,000 years ago challenges ecological and materialist interpretations, arguing for a quite different kind of understanding influenced by ideas of structuralist archaeologists and members of the French Annales school of historians. Defining the Neolithic Revolution as essentially a restructuring of the human mentality, expressed in terms of new religious ideas and symbols, the survey ends around nine thousand years ago, when the developed religious ideology, the social practice of village life and the economy of mixed farming had become established throughout the Near East and east Mediterranean, and spreading powerfully into Europe.

    • A novel approach influenced by philosophy, history of religion and ancient religions
    • Not a straightforward archaeological account of the Neolithic Revolution, but one that looks for the mainspring of changes in terms of cultural and psychological changes emerging around 12000 BC
    • Distinguished and wide-ranging author who has researched in the field of Neolithic origins for many years, working in Israel, Syria and Turkey
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'This important book gives the best available overview of the evidence in this significant field … and it offers clearly and persuasively an entirely fresh insight into the Neolithic Revolution.' Colin Renfrew, on the original French edition

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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 2007
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521039086
    • length: 288 pages
    • dimensions: 242 x 167 x 16 mm
    • weight: 0.46kg
    • contains: 69 b/w illus. 9 maps
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of plates
    List of figures
    Translator's note
    Chronological table
    Part I. The Origins of Agriculture:
    1. Natural environment and human cultures on the eve of the Neolithic
    2. The first pre-agricultural villages: the Natufian
    3. The Revolution in symbols and the origins of Neolithic religion
    4. The first farmers: the socio-cultural context
    5. The first farmers: strategies of subsistence
    6. Agriculture, population, society: an assessment
    7. The Neolithic Revolution: a transformation of the mind
    Part II. The Beginnings of Neolithic Diffusion:
    8. A geographical and chronological framework for the first stages of diffusion
    9. The birth of a culture in the northern Levant and the neolithisation of Anatolia
    10. Diffusion into the central and southern Levant
    11. The evidence of symbolism in the southern Levant
    12. The dynamics of a dominant culture
    Part III. The Great Exodus:
    13. The problem of diffusion in the Neolithic
    14. The completion of the neolithic process in the 'Levantine nucleus'
    15. The arrival of farmers on the Mediterranean littoral and in Cyprus
    16. The sedentary peoples push east: the eastern Jezirah and the Syrian desert
    17. Pastoral nomadism
    18. Hypotheses for the spread of the Neolithic

  • Author

    Jacques Cauvin, Institut de France, Paris


    Trevor Watkins, University of Edinburgh

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