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Subsistence and Society in Prehistory
New Directions in Economic Archaeology

  • Date Published: October 2019
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107128774


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About the Authors
  • Over the last thirty years, new scientific techniques have revolutionised our understanding of prehistoric economies. They enable a sound comprehension of human diet and subsistence in different environments, which is an essential framework for appreciating the rich tapestry of past human cultural variation. This volume first considers the origins of economic approaches in archaeology and the theoretical debates surrounding issues such as 'environmental determinism'. Using globally diverse examples, Alan K. Outram and Amy Bogaard critically investigate the best way to integrate newer lines of evidence such as ancient genetics, stable isotope analysis, organic residue chemistry and starch and phytolith studies with long-established forms of archaeobotanical and zooarchaeological data. Two case study chapters, on early Neolithic farming in Europe, and the origins of domestic horses and pastoralism in Central Asia, illustrate the benefit of a multi-proxy approach and how economic considerations feed into broader social and cultural questions.

    • Presents a clear vision of how economic approaches tell us about wider cultural issues
    • Provides a comprehensive review of the latest scientific techniques in the field in a way that can be appreciated by non-scientists
    • Includes two case study chapters that address key issues in domestication, early farming and pastoralism
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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2019
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107128774
    • length: 286 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 159 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.6kg
    • contains: 37 b/w illus. 2 maps
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. Is determinism dead?
    3. Incorporating new methods I: the stable isotope revolution
    4. Incorporating new methods II: residue chemistry
    5. Incorporating new methods III: answering palaeoeconomic questions with molecular genetics
    6. Incorporating new methods IV: phytoliths and starch grains in the tropics and beyond
    7. Integrated case study I: early farming in Central Europe
    8. Integrated case study II: horse domestication and the origins of pastoralism in Central Asia
    9. Conclusion.

  • Authors

    Alan K. Outram, University of Exeter
    Alan K. Outram is Professor of Archaeological Science at the University of Exeter. A zooarchaeologist who specialises in the domestication of the horse, he has conducted extensive archaeological fieldwork in Europe, Central Asia, and North America. The former editor of World Archaeology and current editor of Science and Technology of Archaeological Research, he has published several ground breaking publications in Science and Nature.

    Amy Bogaard, University of Oxford
    Amy Bogaard is Professor of Neolithic and Bronze Age at the University of Oxford. She is a botanically inclined archaeologist who specialises in the study of ancient agroecology and its social ramifications by conducting archaeological fieldwork alongside the study of present-day farming systems. She is the current executive editor of World Archaeology.

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