People of the Earth


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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 - Introducing World Prehistory  

Archaeology and Prehistory  

Site: The Avebury Archer

The Beginnings of World Prehistory  

Who Needs the Past?  

Cyclical and Linear Time  

Science: Dating the Past  

Written Records, Oral Traditions, and Archaeology  

Studying Culture and Culture Change  

Primary Cultural Processes  

Theoretical Approaches: Culture as Adaptation  

Climatic Change  

Culture as Adaptation  

Cultural Evolution and Cultural Ecology  

Multilinear Evolution: Prestate and State-Organized Societies  

Theoretical Approaches: Evolutionary Ecology and Hunter-Gatherers  

Evolutionary Ecology and Optimal Foraging Strategy  

Theoretical Approaches: People as Agents of Change  

External and Internal Constraints  


Gender: Men and Women  

Trade and Exchange  

Ideologies and Beliefs  




Part I             Beginnings 7 Million to 40,000 Years Ago


Chapter 2 -Human Origins: 7 Million to 1.9 Million Years Ago

The Great Ice Age  

The Origins of the Human Line  


Miocene Primates  

Molecular Biology and Human Evolution  

The Ecological Problems Faced by Early Hominins  

Adaptive Problems  

Dating the Past: Potassium-Argon Dating  

Fossil Evidence: 7 to 3 MYA  

Toumaï: Sahelanthropus tchadensis  

Ardipithecus ramidus  

Australopithecus anamensis  

Australopithecus afarensis  

Laetoli: Footprints of A. afarensis  

Fossil Evidence: 3 to 2.5 MYA  

Gracile Australopithecines: Australopithecus africanus  

Robust Australopithecines: A. aethiopicus, A. boisei, and A. robustus  

Australopithecus garhi  

Early Homo: 2.5 to 2.0 MYA  

Homo habilis  

A Burst of Rapid Change?  

Who Was the First Human?  

Archaeological Evidence for Early Human Behavior  

Evidence for “Central Places”?  

Site: Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania, East Africa  

Hunting and Scavenging  

Plant Foraging and “Grandmothering”


The Oldowan Industry  

The Mind of the Earliest Humans  

The Development of Language  

Social Organization  



Chapter 3 - Homo ergaster, Homo erectus, and Homo sapiens: 1.9 Million to 40,000 Years Ago

Pleistocene Background  

Lower Pleistocene (1.6 Million to c. 780,000 Years Ago)  

Middle Pleistocene (c. 780,000 to 128,000 Years Ago)  

Homo ergaster in Africa 

The Radiation of Homo ergaster  


Homo erectus in Asia  

Southeast Asia  


Early Asian Technology  

The Settlement of Temperate Latitudes  

Earliest Human Settlement in Southwest Asia and Europe  

Southwest Asia  


Archaic Human Technology  

Hand Axes and Other Tools  

Hand Axes and the Evolution of the Human Mind  

Evidence for Behavior: Boxgrove, Schoningen, and Torralba  

Site: A 400,000-Year-Old Hunt at Schoningen, Germany


Archaic Homo sapiens in Europe: The Neanderthals  

Dating the Past: Radiocarbon Dating  

A More Complex Technology  

Levallois and Disk-Core-Reduction Strategies  

Tool Forms and Variability  

The Mousterian Debate  

The Origins of Burial and Religious Belief  

The Origins of Modern Humans  

Continuity or Replacement?  

Homo sapiens in Africa  

Molecular Biology and Homo sapiens  

Ecology and Homo sapiens  

The Spread of Homo sapiens  

The Issue of Cognitive Ability  

Homo sapiens in East Asia  



Part II      The Great Diaspora: The Spread of Modern Humans  45,000 Years Ago to Modern Times


Chapter 4 -  Europe and Eurasia: c. 40,000 to 8000 B.C.

The Upper Pleistocene (c. 126,000 Years Ago to 8000 B.C.)  

Modern Humans in Southwest Asia  

The Upper Paleolithic Transition  

A Cultural Explosion?  

Modern Humans in Europe  

European Hunter-Gatherers (45,000 Years Ago to 8000 B.C.)  

Settlement Strategies and Lifeways  

Social Life and Group Size  

Upper Paleolithic Art  

Site: Grotte de Chauvet, France  

Paintings and Engravings  

Explaining Upper Paleolithic Art  

Human Settlement in Eurasia (35,000 to 15,000 Years Ago)  

Siberia (?33,000 to 13,000 Years Ago)  

The Settlement of Far Northeast Asia  

Bifaces, Microblades, and the First Americans  



Chapter 5 -  The First Americans: ?14,000 B.C. to Modern Times

The First Settlement of the Americas  

Ice Sheets and the Bering Land Bridge  

The First Settlement of Alaska  

Biological and Linguistic Evidence for the First Americans  

The Earliest Sites South of the Ice Sheets  

Settlement Routes: Ice-Free Corridors and Seacoasts  

Late Wisconsin Settlement in North America?  

Central and South America?  

A Scenario for First Settlement  

The Paleo-Indians: Clovis and Others  

Big-Game Extinctions  

Later Hunters and Gatherers  

Plains Hunters  

The Desert West  

Eastern North America  

Site: Koster, Illinois  

Specialized Foraging Societies in Central and South America  

Aleuts and Inuit (Eskimo)  



Chapter 6 - Africans and Australians: 45,000 Years Ago to Modern Times

African Hunter-Gatherers, Past and Present  

Sunda and Sahul: The First Settlement of Island Southeast Asia  

            Site: Exotic Islanders: Homo floresiensis


Ice Age Wallaby Hunters in Tasmania  

Later Australian Cultures  



Chapter 7 - Intensification and Complexity: Before 10,000 B.C. to Modern Times

The Holocene (After 10,000 B.C.)  

Coping with Environmental Variation  

Mesolithic Hunter-Gatherers in Europe  

Site: Star Carr, England  

Mesolithic Complexity in Scandinavia  

The Maglemose Period (7500 to 5700 B.C.)  

The Kongemose Period (5700 to 4600 B.C.)  

The Ertebølle Period (4600 to 3200 B.C.)  

Hunter-Gatherer Complexity  

Conditions for Greater Complexity  

Attributes of Greater Complexity  

Debates About Social Complexity  

Hunter-Gatherer Societies in Southwest Asia  



Part III    First Farmers  c. 10,000 B.C. TO MODERN TIMES


Chapter 8 - A Plenteous Harvest: The Origins  

Theories About the Origins of Food Production  

Early Hypotheses  

Multivariate Theories  

Site: Guilá Naquitz, Mexico  

Differing Dates for Food Production  

Studying Early Food Production  

            Dating the Past: Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) Radiocarbon Dating

Why Did Food Production Take Hold So Late?  

Consequences of Food Production  

Nutrition and Early Food Production  

Herding: Domestication of Animals  

Plant Cultivation  

Technology and Domestication  



Chapter 9 -  The Origins of Food Production in Southwest Asia

A Scenario for Early Agriculture  

The First Farmers: Netiv Hagdud, Abu Hureyra, and Jericho  

Netiv Hagdud  

Abu Hureyra  


Diverse Farming Economies and Trade  

The Zagros and Mesopotamia  

Zawi Chemi Shanidar  

Ganj Dareh  


Ali Kosh and the Lowlands  

Early Farmers in Anatolia  

Site: Ritual Buildings in Southeastern Turkey

Haçilar and Çatalhöyük  

Two Stages of Farming Development  



Chapter 10 - The First European Farmers 

Mesolithic Prelude  

The Transition to Farming in Europe  

Farming in Greece and Southern Europe  

The Spread of Agriculture into Temperate Europe  

The Balkans  

Bandkeramik Cultures  

Frontiers and Transitions  

Social Changes, Lineages, and the Individual  

The Introduction of the Plow  

Plains Farmers: Tripolye  

Mediterranean and Western Europe 

The Megaliths  

Site: Easton Down and the Avebury Landscape  



Chapter 11 - First Farmers in Egypt and Tropical Africa  

Hunter-Gatherers on the Nile  

Agricultural Origins Along the Nile  

Saharan Pastoralists  

Early Food Production in Sub-Saharan Africa  



Chapter 12 - Asia and the Pacific: Rice, Roots, and Ocean Voyages

The Origins of Rice Cultivation  

Early Farming in China  

Southern and Eastern China  

Northern China  

Jomon and Early Agriculture in Japan  

Early Agriculture in Southeast Asia  

Site: The Princess of Khok Phanom Di, Thailand  288

Rice and Root Cultivation in Island Southeast Asia 

Agriculture in the Pacific Islands  

The Lapita Cultural Complex and the Settlement of Melanesia and Western Polynesia  

Long-Distance Voyaging in the Pacific  

Science: Indigenous Pacific Navigation  

The Settlement of Micronesia and Eastern Polynesia  

The Settlement of New Zealand  



Chapter 13 -  The Story of Maize: Early Farmers in the Americas  

The First Plant Domestication  

The Origins of Maize Agriculture  

Beans and Squash  

Early Food Production in the Andes  

The Highlands  

The Peruvian Coast  

Early Farmers in Southwestern North America  



Ancestral Pueblo  

Site: The Chaco Phenomenon  

Preagricultural and Agricultural Societies in Eastern North America  

Moundbuilder Cultures 




Human Settlement in the Caribbean

            First Selltement (Preceramic Cultures)

            Saladoid Migrations

            Taino Chiefdoms



Part IV     Old World Civilizations c. 3000 B.C. TO MODERN TIMES


Chapter 14 - The Development of Civilization



Six Classic Theories of the Emergence of States  

1. V. Gordon Childe and the “Urban Revolution”  

2. Ecology and Irrigation  

3. Technology and Trade  

4. Warfare  

5. Cultural Systems and Civilization  

6. Environmental Change  

Social Theories  

Power in Three Domains  

Site: The Lord of Sicán at Huaca Loro, Peru 

Chiefly Cycling: Processes and Agents  

The Collapse of Civilizations  



Chapter 15 - Early Civilizations in Southwest Asia  


Upland Villages  

Settlement of the Lowlands  

Environmental Change  

Archaeological Evidence  

Site: The Temple at Eridu, Iraq  


Uruk: The Mesopotamian City  

Sumerian Civilization  

Exchange on the Iranian Plateau  

The Widening of Political Authority  

The Akkadians  


The Assyrians  



Chapter 16 -  Egypt, Nubia, and Africa  

The Origins of the Egyptian State  

Ancient Monopoly?  

Naqada, Nekhen, and Maadi  


A Scenario for Unification  

Intensification of Agriculture and Irrigation  

Archaic Egypt and the Creation of the Great Culture (2920 to 2575 B.C.)  

The Old Kingdom and the Pyramids (c. 2575 to 2180 B.C.)  

Site: The Step Pyramid at Saqqara, Egypt  

The Egyptian State  

The First Intermediate Period and the Middle Kingdom (2180 to 1640 B.C.)  

The Second Intermediate Period (1640 to 1530 B.C.)  

The New Kingdom (1530 to 1070 B.C.)  

The “Estate of Amun”  

Mummies and Mummification  

Amarna and Akhenaten  

The Restoration of Amun  

The Late Period (1070 to 332 B.C.)  

Egypt and Africa  

Nubia: The Land of Kush  

Meroe and Aksum  

North Africa  

Jenne-jeno and the Rise of African States  




Farmers and Traders in Eastern and Southern Africa  

Towns and Trade on the East African Coast  

Great Zimbabwe  

Europe and Africa  



Chapter 17 - Early States in South and Southeast Asia  

The Roots of South Asian Civilization  

Highlands and Lowlands: The Kulli Complex  

A Rapid Transition  

Mature Harappan Civilization  

Who Were the Harappans?  

Harappan Beliefs  

South Asia After the Harappans  

Southeast Asian States  

Dong Son  

Trade and Kingdoms  

The Rise of the God-Kings  

The Angkor State (A.D. 802 to 1430)  

Site: Angkor Wat, Cambodia  


Chapter 18 -  Early Chinese Civilization  

The Origins of Chinese Civilization  

Longshan and Liangzhu  

Shoulder Blades and Oracles  

Xia and Shang  

Capitals and Sepulchers 

The Shang Royal Burials  

The Bronze Smiths  

The Warlords  

Site: The Burial Mound of Emperor Shihuangdi, China  



Chapter 19 -  Hittites, Minoans, and Mycenaeans  

Early Towns in Anatolia  

Balance of Power: The Hittites  

The Sea Peoples and the Rise of Israel  

The Phoenicians  

The Aegean and Greece  

The Minoans  

The Mycenaeans  

Site: The Mycenaean Shrine at Phylakopi, Melos Island, Greece  

Greek City-States After Mycenae  

The Etruscans and the Romans  

The Etruscans  

The Romans  



Chapter 20 - Europe Before the Romans  

Early Copper Working  

Battle Axes and Beakers  

Site: Ötzi the Iceman, Similaun Glacier, Italian Alps  

The European Bronze Age  

Bronze Age Warriors  

The Scythians and Other Steppe Peoples  

The First Ironworking  

The Hallstatt Culture  

La Tène Culture  



Part V      Native American Civilizations: 2000 B.C. to A.D. 1534


Chapter 21 -  Mesoamerican Civilizations 

Village Farming  

Preclassic Peoples in Mesoamerica  

Early Preclassic  

Middle Preclassic: The Olmec  

Late Preclassic  

The Rise of Complex Society in Oaxaca  

Monte Albán  


Maya Civilization  

Maya Origins  

Water Management

Kingship: Sacred Space and Time  

Political Organization  

Classic and Late Classic Maya Political History  500

Site: Architecture as a Political Statement: The Hieroglyphic Stairway at Copán, Honduras  

The Ninth-Century Collapse  

The Toltecs 

Aztec Civilization and the Spanish Conquest  



Chapter 22 - South American Chiefdoms and States

The Maritime Foundations of Andean Civilization  

Coastal Foundations: The Initial Period  


El Paraíso and Huaca Florida

Chavín de Huántar  

Paracas: Textiles and Coastal Prehistory  

Complex Society in the Southern Highlands: Chiripa and Pukara  

The Early Intermediate Period  

The Moche State 

Site: The Lords of Sipán, Peru  

The Middle Horizon: Tiwanaku and Wari  



The Late Intermediate Period: Sicán and Chimor  

The Late Horizon: The Inca State  


The Spanish Conquest (1532 to 1534)  



Glossary of Cultures and Sites  

Glossary of Technical Terms

Bibliography of World Prehistory  







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