Prehistory: A Very Short Introduction by Chris Gosden
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Prehistory: A Very Short Introduction
By Chris Gosden

Prehistory: A Very Short Introduction

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Format: Paperback

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Prehistory: A Very Short Introduction by Chris Gosden

Book Description

This VSI to prehistory will introduce the reader to four and a half million years of human existence. Many of the familiar aspects of modern life are no more than a century or two old, yet our deep social structures and skills were in large measure developed by small bands of our prehistoric ancestors many millennia ago. Chris Gosden invites us to think seriously about who we are by considering who we have been. The idea of prehistory owes its origins to Darwin - suddenly any description of human life on Earth had to take account of a much longer timespan than ever before. What new views of ourselves has this new timespan opened up? Chris Gosden's fascinating new book asks: What relationships did our distant ancestors have with the natural world, with each other, and with the objects and values they created? And as humanity hurtles into a future of virtual interraction and genetic manipulation, what can the darkest recesses of our past teach us about our future? ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780192803436
ISBN-10: 0192803433
Format: Paperback
(178mm x 113mm x 9mm)
Pages: 152
Imprint: Oxford University Press
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publish Date: 26-Jun-2003
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Books By Author Chris Gosden

Technologies of Enchantment? by Chris Gosden Technologies of Enchantment?, Hardback (August 2012)

This volume connects Celtic art to its archaeological context, looking at how it was made, used, and deposited. Based on a comprehensive database, it brings together current theories concerning the links between people and artefacts, arguing that Celtic art was used to negotiate social position and relations in an unstable Iron Age world.

Oxford Handbook of Archaeology by Chris Gosden Oxford Handbook of Archaeology, Hardback (March 2009)

The Handbook, written by 35 leading experts, provides an authoritative guide to the full range of archaeological activities past and present. It will give the reader a sense of the history of the subject and of the main theoretical debates, as well as a taste of the excitement generated by archaeological exploration.

Knowing Things by Chris Gosden Knowing Things, Hardback (December 2007)

This book explores the early history of the Pitt Rivers Museum and its collections. Thousands of people collected objects for the Museum between its foundation in 1884 and 1945, and they, and the objects they collected, provide a series of insights into the early history of archaeology and anthropology, as well as a snapshot of the British Empire.

Communities and Connections by Chris Gosden Communities and Connections, Hardback (November 2007)

A collection of essays by many of the leading specialists in the archaeology of the Iron Age and early Roman periods in Britain and western Europe, paying tribute to Professor Sir Barry Cunliffe. The subjects covered range over more than a thousand years, and from the Atlantic coasts to the eastern Mediterranean.

» View all books by Chris Gosden


UK Kirkus Review » Prehistory may not be as old as you think. According to Oxford museum curator and lecturer Chris Gosden, it ended at 10 am on 8 March 1933. That was when the last living 'prehistoric' culture on Earth was discovered - the Kawelka tribe of the New Guinea Highlands. These people were still using stone axes and dressing in animal skins, and when they saw their first aeroplane they thought it was a devil bird. The white men who stepped from it were deemed to be gods. Gosden regards that as a moment of enlightenment, not just for the New Guinea highlanders but for the whole of humanity. What the white explorers discovered bore out much of what until then had been only theories about the Stone Age way of life. Gosden's pocket-size book crams in a lot of facts about the Stone Age and beyond. Attempting to cover four and a half millennia in 131 pages must have been a daunting task, but Gosden goes at it with gusto and imparts an impressive quantity of information. Among the questions he raises and answers are what relationships our ancestors had with the natural world, with each other, and with the objects they created. Were 'ape men' really as primitive as Darwin and his successors would have us believe? Gosden points to a surprising awareness of gender, race and sexuality that seems to go back much farther than might be imagined. We may have evolved from apes but our ancestors were no monkeys when it came to changing their environment in a way that still influences our thinking today. The book is instructive and entertaining, and above all it gets the reader looking at the past in a more challenging way. It makes ideal reading for history students and anyone with even a passing history in the far-off dawn of civilization. (Kirkus UK)

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Author Biography - Chris Gosden

Chris Gosden is curator at the Pitt-Rivers Museum, Oxford, and a university lecturer. His special interests include Pacific prehistory and late prehistoric Europe.

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