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The Past in Perspective: An Introduction to Human Prehistory

The Past in Perspective: An Introduction to Human Prehistory
Author: Kenneth L. Feder
ISBN 13: 9780195391350
ISBN 10: 195391357
Edition: 5
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication Date: 2010-11-12
Format: Paperback
Pages: 576
List Price: $89.95

Ideal for introduction to archaeology and world prehistory courses, The Past in Perspective: An Introduction to Human Prehistory, Fifth Edition, is an engaging and up-to-date chronological introduction to human prehistory. Kenneth L. Feder introduces students to "the big picture"--the grand sweep of human evolutionary history--presenting the human past within the context of fundamental themes of cultural evolution. Written in a refreshingly accessible voice, this narrative of human prehistory personalizes the past and makes it relevant to today's students.

Using a consistent chapter format--Prelude, Chronicle, Issues and Debates, and Case Study Close-up--Feder helps students master both what we know and what is still being debated about the complex story of the human past. Each chapter also includes an overview; a timeline of events, maps pinpointing locations of sites discussed, site lists with page references, a chapter summary, key terms (defined in the glossary at the back of the book), and suggested reading lists.

New to This Edition

* Updated information about early hominin finds, including Ardipithecus (Chapter 3), Homo floresiensis (Chapter 4), Sima del Elefante Cave in Spain (Chapter 4), the reconstruction of the Neandertal genome (Chapter 5), and the spectacular array of artifacts recovered at Hohle Fels Cave in Germany (Chapter 6)

* New information on methodology, such as strontium isotype analysis for tracing geographic sources (Chapter 2), molecular archaeology (Chapter 5), and forensics (Chapter 1)

* New information and a summary that updates our understanding of the peopling of the Americas and Australia (Chapter 7)

* New chapter (8) "After the Ice: The Food-Producing Revolution"--a combined and streamlined version of Chapters 8 and 9 of the Fourth Edition--with new information about China and the domestication of the horse, as well as the complex at Gobeckli Tepe in Turkey

* New information on the Olmec and the recent excavation at Stonehenge (Chapter 9)

* A reorganization and updating of Chapters 10 and 11, with significant new material on China

* A greatly expanded discussion of the roots of complexity in Mesoamerica, South America, aboriginal North America, and sub-Saharan Africa (Chapters 12-14)


This accessible introduction to the human prehistoric past focuses on major themes of the human story, such as toolmaking and the impact of social complexity. Begins with the evolution of early hominids, traces the evolution of the modern human species, and follows paths humans took in the development of complex civilizations. Learning features include chapter overviews and opening anecdotes, boxes on unresolved issues and debates, and case studies of archaeological sites. Includes b&w and some color photos of sites and artifacts. The second edition places more emphasis on post-Pleistocene societies. The author is associated with Central Connecticut State University. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)