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In this book, cognitive archaeologist Karenleigh A. Overmann addresses a topic that previous scholarship on numbers has considered only in passing, if at all: the material devices used to represent and manipulate numerical concepts. Fingers, tallies, tokens, and written notations, invented in both ancestral and contemporary societies, explain what numbers are, why they are the way they are, and how we get them. Overmann is the first to explore how material devices contribute to numerical thinking, initially by helping us to visualize and manipulate the perceptual experience of quantity that we share with other species. She explores how and why numbers are conceptualized and then elaborated, as well as the central role that material objects play in both processes. Overmann's volume thus offers a new perspective on numerical cognition that is based on an alternative set of assumptions about numbers, their material component, and the nature of the human mind and thinking.
This book examines the impact of ancient DNA research and scientific evidence on our understanding of the emergence of Indo-European languages in prehistory. Offering cutting-edge contributions from an international team of scholars, it considers the driving forces behind the Indo-European migrations during the 3rd and 2nd millenia BC. The volume explores the rise of the world's first pastoral nomads the Yamnaya Culture in the Russian Pontic steppe including their social organization, expansions, and the transition from nomadism to semi-sedentism when entering Europe. It also traces the chariot conquest in the late Bronze Age and its impact on the expansion of the Indo-Iranian languages into Central Asia. In the final section, the volumes consider the development of hierarchical societies and the origins of slavery. A landmark synthesis of recent, exciting discoveries, the book also includes an extensive theoretical discussion regarding the integration of linguistics, genetics, and archaeology, and the importance of interdisciplinary research in the study of ancient migration.
This volume offers new insights into the radical shift in attitudes towards death and the dead body that occurred in temperate Bronze Age Europe. Exploring the introduction and eventual dominance of cremation, Marie-Louise Stig Sørenson and Katharina Rebay-Salisbury apply a case-study approach to investigate how this transformation unfolded within local communities located throughout central to northern Europe. They demonstrate the deep link between the living and the dead body, and propose that the introduction of cremation was a significant ontological challenge to traditional ideas about death. In tracing the responses to this challenge, the authors focus on three fields of action: the treatment of the dead body, the construction of a burial place, and ongoing relationships with the dead body after burial. Interrogating cultural change at its most fundamental level, the authors elucidate the fundamental tension between openness towards the 'new' and the conservative pull of the familiar and traditional.
This book explores the formation, development, and characteristics of modern China's finance, focusing especially on Guangdong province as a case study to illustrate both the macro-level trends and the micro-level reality. The chronological range of this book is mainly from the late Qing period to the early Republican Era ending in 1937, when the full-scale Second Sino-Japanese War broke out. After the concept of modern finance was introduced to China for the first time in the late Qing period, the efforts to build modern finance continued in the Republican Era both nationally and locally. But this process was interrupted by the outbreak of the war against Japan in 1937 and, having been derailed, did not subsequently recover due to the subsequent civil war between the Kuomintang and the Chinese Communist Party. This interrupted process of financial modernization was resumed with Reform and Opening-up, launched in 1978. Therefore, in order to illustrate the structural transformation and persistent characteristics of China's fiscal system, this book also includes discussions of the early Qing period and current Chinese finance.
Trade before Civilization explores the role that long-distance exchange played in the establishment and/or maintenance of social complexity, and its role in the transformation of societies from egalitarian to non-egalitarian. Bringing together research by an international and methodologically diverse team of scholars, it analyses the relationship between long-distance trade and the rise of inequality. The volume illustrates how elites used exotic prestige goods to enhance and maintain their elevated social positions in society. Global in scope, it offers case studies of early societies and sites in Europe, Asia, Oceania, North America, and Mesoamerica. Deploying a range of inter-disciplinary and cutting-edge theoretical approaches from a cross-cultural framework, the volume offers new insights and enhances our understanding of socio-political evolution. It will appeal to archaeologists, cultural anthropologists, conflict theorists, and ethnohistorians, as well as economists seeking to understand the nexus between imported luxury items and cultural evolution.
This book provides a concise overview of human prehistory. It shows how an understanding of the distant past offers new perspectives on present-day challenges facing our species - and how we can build a sustainable future for all life on planet Earth. Deborah Barsky tells a fascinating story of the long-term evolution of human culture and provides up-to-date examples from the archaeological record to illustrate the different phases of human history. Barsky also presents a refreshing and original analysis about issues plaguing modern globalized society, such as racism, institutionalized religion, the digital revolution, human migrations, terrorism, and war. Written in an accessible and engaging style, Human Prehistory is aimed at an introductory-level audience. Students will acquire a comprehensive understanding of the interdisciplinary, scientific study of human prehistory, as well as the theoretical interpretations of human evolutionary processes that are used in contemporary archaeological practice. Definitions, tables, and illustrations accompany the text.
This is the first book to present a comprehensive, up to date overview of archaeological and environmental data from the eastern Mediterranean world around 6000 BC. It brings together the research of an international team of scholars who have excavated at key Neolithic and Chalcolithic sites in Syria, Anatolia, Greece, and the Balkans. Collectively, their essays conceptualize and enable a deeper understanding of times of transition and changes in the archaeological record. Overcoming the terminological and chronological differences between the Near East and Europe, the volume expands from studies of individual societies into regional views and diachronic analyses. It enables researchers to compare archaeological data and analysis from across the region, and offers a new understanding of the importance of this archaeological story to broader, high-impact questions pertinent to climate and culture change.
In this book, Jennifer French presents a new synthesis of the archaeological, palaeoanthropological, and palaeogenetic records of the European Palaeolithic, adopting a unique demographic perspective on these first two-million years of European prehistory. Unlike prevailing narratives of demographic stasis, she emphasises the dynamism of Palaeolithic populations of both our evolutionary ancestors and members of our own species across four demographic stages, within a context of substantial Pleistocene climatic changes. Integrating evolutionary theory with a socially oriented approach to the Palaeolithic, French bridges biological and cultural factors, with a focus on women and children as the drivers of population change. She shows how, within the physiological constraints on fertility and mortality, social relationships provide the key to enduring demographic success. Through its demographic focus, French combines a 'big picture' perspective on human evolution with careful analysis of the day-to-day realities of European Palaeolithic hunter-gatherer communities—their families, their children, and their lives.
This volume challenges previous views of social organization focused on elites by offering innovative perspectives on 'power from below.' Using a variety of archaeological, anthropological, and historical data to question traditional narratives of complexity as inextricably linked to top-down power structures, it exemplifies how commoners have developed strategies to sustain non-hierarchical networks and contest the rise of inequalities. Through case studies from around the world – ranging from Europe to New Guinea, and from Mesoamerica to China – an international team of contributors explores the diverse and dynamic nature of power relations in premodern societies. The theoretical models discussed throughout the volume include a reassessment of key concepts such as heterarchy, collective action, and resistance. Thus, the book adds considerable nuance to our understanding of power in the past, and also opens new avenues of reflection that can help inform discussions about our collective present and future.
In this volume, Douglas B. Bamforth offers an archaeological overview of the Great Plains, the vast, open grassland bordered by forests and mountain ranges situated in the heart of North America. Synthesizing a century of scholarship and new archaeological evidence, he focuses on changes in resource use, continental trade connections, social formations, and warfare over a period of 15,000 years. Bamforth investigates how foragers harvested the grasslands more intensively over time, ultimately turning to maize farming, and examines the persistence of industrial mobile bison hunters in much of the region as farmers lived in communities ranging from hamlets to towns with thousands of occupants. He also explores how social groups formed and changed, migrations of peoples in and out of the Plains, and the conflicts that occurred over time and space. Significantly, Bamforth's volume demonstrates how archaeology can be used as the basis for telling long-term, problem-oriented human history.
In Everyday Life in the Aztec World, Frances Berdan and Michael E. Smith offer a view into the lives of real people, doing very human things, in the unique cultural world of Aztec central Mexico. The first section focuses on people from an array of social classes - the emperor, a priest, a feather worker, a merchant, a farmer, and a slave - who interacted in the economic, social and religious realms of the Aztec world. In the second section, the authors examine four important life events where the lives of these and others intersected: the birth and naming of a child, market day, a day at court, and a battle. Through the microscopic views of individual types of lives, and interweaving of those lives into the broader Aztec world, Berdan and Smith recreate everyday life in the final years of the Aztec Empire.
In this book, Sander Van der Leeuw examines how the modern world has been caught in a socio-economic dynamic that has generated the conundrum of sustainability. Combining the methods of social science and complex systems science, he explores how western, developed nations have globalized their world view and how that view has led to the sustainability challenges we are now facing. Its central theme is the co-evolution of cognition, demography, social organization, technology and environmental impact. Beginning with the earliest human societies, Van der Leeuw links the distant past with the present in order to demonstrate how the information and communications technology revolution is undermining many of the institutional pillars on which contemporary societies have been constructed. An original view of social evolution as the history of human information-processing, his book shows how the past offers insight into the present, and can help us deal with the future. This title is also available as Open Access.
Textile production and the introduction of wool and woolen textiles represented a great revolution in Bronze Age Europe at the dawn of the second millennium BC. The available contemporary written sources from the Mediterranean and Near East suggest that textile production had a strong impact on the cultural, social, and economic life. In most parts of continental Europe, however, archaeological material alone can help us understand the details relating to textile production and its wider importance to early societies. This book provides new insights on patterns of production, specialization, and consumption of textiles in Europe throughout the Bronze Age. Assembling a diverse array of studies on various aspect of the textile production and economy, the essays, specially written for this volume, provide a wide range of scientific data as well as archaeological evidence. They also show the great potential of examining early textile production through the use of innovative methodologies and diverse perspectives.
In this book, Katina Lillios provides an up-to-date synthesis of the rich histories of the peoples who lived on the Iberian Peninsula between 1,400,000 (the Paleolithic) and 3,500 years ago (the Bronze Age) as revealed in their art, burials, tools, and monuments. She highlights the exciting new discoveries on the Peninsula, including the evidence for some of the earliest hominins in Europe, Neanderthal art, interbreeding between Neanderthals and modern humans, and relationships to peoples living in North Africa, the Mediterranean, and Western Europe. This is the first book to relate the ancient history of the Peninsula to broader debates in anthropology and archaeology. Amply illustrated and written in an accessible style, it will be of interest to archaeologists and students of prehistoric Spain and Portugal.
This book provides new insights into the relationship between humans and birds in Northern Europe during the Bronze Age. Joakim Goldhahn argues that birds had a central role in Bronze Age society and imagination, as reflected in legends, myths, rituals, and cosmologies. Goldhahn offers a new theoretical model for understanding the intricate relationship between humans and birds during this period. He explores traces of birds found in a range of archaeological context, including settlements and burials, and analyzes depictions of birds on bronze artefacts and figurines, rock art, and ritual paraphernalia. He demonstrates how birds were used in divinations, and provides the oldest evidence of omens taken from gastric contents of birds - extispicy - ever found in Europe.
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.
The hunter-gatherers of southern Africa known as 'Bushmen' or 'San' are not one single ethnic group, but several. They speak a diverse variety of languages, and have many different settlement patterns, kinship systems and economic practices. The fact that we think of them as a unity is not as strange as it may seem, for they share a common origin: they are an original hunter-gatherer population of southern Africa with a history of many thousands of years on the subcontinent. Drawing on his four decades of field research in Botswana, Namibia and South Africa, Alan Barnard provides a detailed account of Bushmen or San, covering ethnography, archaeology, folklore, religious studies and rock-art studies as well as several other fields. Its wide coverage includes social development and politics, both historically and in the present day, helping us to reconstruct both human prehistory and a better understanding of ourselves.
Alfonso X 'the Learned' of Castile (1252–1284) was praised in his lifetime as a king who devoted himself to discovering all worldly and divine knowledge. He commissioned chronicles and law codes and composed poems to the Virgin Mary, he gathered together Jewish scholars to translate works of Arab astrology and astronomy, and he founded a university of Latin and Arabic studies at Seville. Moreover, according to his nephew Juan Manuel, Alfonso was careful to ensure that 'he had leisure to look into things he wanted for himself'. The level of his personal involvement in this literary activity marks him out as an exceptional patron in any period. However, Alfonso's relationship with the arts also had much in common with that of other thirteenth-century European royal patrons, among them his first cousin, Louis IX of France. Like his contemporaries, he relentlessly used literary works as a vehicle to promote his royal status and advance his claim to the imperial crown. His motivation for the foundation of the university at Seville was arguably political rather than educational, and instead of promoting institutional learning during his reign, Alfonso preferred to direct the messages about his kingship in the lavish manuscripts he patronized to a restricted, courtly audience. Yet such was the interest of the works he commissioned, that those who could obtain copies did so, even if these were still incomplete drafts. Three codices traditionally held to have been copied for Alfonso in fact show how this learning reserved for the few began to filter out beyond the Learned King's immediate circle.