Prehistory: The Making of the Human Mind


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Journal of Theoretical Biology, 1 , — Goring-Morris, A. Neolithization processes in the Levant: the outer envelope. Current Anthropology, 52 S4 , S—S Grove, M. Local objects, distant symbols: fission-fusion social systems and the evolution of human cognition. Coward, R. Hosfield, M. Wenban-Smith Eds. Fission-fusion and the evolution of hominin social systems. Journal of Human Evolution, 62 2 , — Henrich, J. Demography and cultural evolution: How adaptive cultural processes can produce maladaptive losses—The Tasmanian case.

American Antiquity, 69 2 , — The secret of our success: How culture is driving human evolution, domesticating our species, and making us smarter. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Itan, Y. The origins of lactase persistence in Europe.

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PLoS Computational Biology, 5 8 , e Kuijt, I. People and space in early agricultural villages: Exploring daily lives, community size and architecture in the late Pre-Pottery Neolithic. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology, 19 1 , 75— Laland, K. Cultural niche construction: An introduction. Biological Theory, 6 3 , — Niche construction, biological evolution, and cultural change.

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Pinker, S. The language instinct. New York: William Morrow. How the mind works.

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Munich: Beck. New results of ongoing excavations with a special focus on sculptures and high reliefs. Documenta Praehistorica, 37, — Kuniholm Eds. New excavations and new research—the euphrates basin pp. Arkeoloji ve Sanat Yayinlari: Istanbul. A stone age sanctuary in South-Eastern Anatolia. Shennan, S. Demography and cultural innovation: A model and its implications for the emergence of modern human culture.

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Prehistory: The Making Of The Human Mind

Malden, MA: Blackwell. The evolved apprentice: How evolution made humans unique. Optimizing engines: Rational choice in the neolithic? Philosophy of Science, 82, — Neolithization in southwest Asia in a context of niche construction theory. Cambridge Archaeological Journal, 25 3 , — Stiner, M. Approaches to prehistoric diet breadth, demography, and prey ranking systems in time and space. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory, 9 2 , — The tortoise and the hare—Small-game use, the broad-spectrum revolution, and paleolithic demography. Current Anthropology, 41 1 , 39— Stordeur, D.

Le village de Jerf el Ahmar Syrie, av. Vigne, J. Neo-lithics, 1 11 , 3— First wave of cultivators spread to Cyprus at least 10, y ago. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 22 , — Watkins, T. The origins of house and home? World Archaeology, 21 3 , — Building houses, framing concepts, constructing worlds. Supra-regional networks in the neolithic of Southwest Asia. Journal of World Prehistory, 21 2 , — Household community and social landscape: building and maintaining social memory in the early Neolithic of Southwest Asia.

Furholt, M. Mischka Eds. Socio-environmental dynamics over the last 12, years pp. Rudolf Habelt: Kiel, Bonn. Time and place, memory, and identity in the early neolithic of Southwest Asia. Hadji Eds. This is a well researched and well buttressed discussion of what a respected specialist in his field sees as current fact in the field of human past, before the advent of what we commonly refer to as "history" written records.

He spends some considerable effort documenting how we have come to know what we do, that is, the scientific basis for what we believe we know. To compare this work to many others on the same subject, for example Wade's "Dawn of Human History", makes the latter seem like an oversimplified introduction to the subject for an adolescent. The latter is a an entertaining listen, but it stimulates more questions than it provides answers, as it jumps from seemingly scientific premises to fanciful conclusions that are clearly based on modern biases or wishful thinking.

Renfrew's work suffers from the expected occasional "dryness" any scholarly work can have for the nonspecialist. But for the enthusiast who wants to know more, without having to do the original research myself, the work of listening is worth it. I am a physician, not an archeologist; but if I can discover a bit about what and who we humans are, and how came to be us, maybe I can help my patients with some of the vast weight of medical problems that plague us today; most of which are 'lifestyle" diseases with an underlayment of genetic predisposition.

The seeds of these medical problems seem to have been sown in our distant past; and maybe some of the answers will come from the study. More power to any specialist in any field who tries to elucidate the science for the rest of us who are hungry for knowledge. Any additional comments? I don't understand why other commenters have criticized this book as "dry," "boring," and "too academic," or found the narration "droning" or soporific. Stonehenge boring? An up-to-date well, anyway analysis of how it was constructed, as well as its likely purpose and meaning to the Neolithic community that built it, presented by an expert in the field?

How about a re-evaluation of the stunning cave paintings at Lascaux, and elsewhere in France, Spain, Italy, and a narrow band eastward through the Balkans to Siberia as a "localized" event that doesn't mark a new stage in human cultural evolution because it wasn't universal enough like the development of farming that's generally accepted as marking the shift from Paleolithic to Neolithic, and which took place on a near-global basis? And the theory that archaeologists have attached more significance to these cave paintings than was warranted simply because they were discovered early and were rendered with artistic sophistication?

I thought the book was perfectly pitched for a college-educated layperson, and that if it would be "boring" for anyone, it would be for another archaeologist, or even a grad student or upperclassman majoring in archaeology. I appreciated having my memory refreshed on the details of carbon dating, but I'm sure anyone specializing in the field would've skipped over that part as too basic. Otherwise, it shouldn't call this an "unabridged" edition. As for the narration, if was nicely modulated across both pitch and emotion. If you enjoyed listening to someone like Alistair Cooke introducing Masterpiece Theatre, and don't harbor any vague political objections to Brits speaking with Received Pronunciation, then I think you'll enjoy Robert Ian MacKenzie's narration as well.

I found it pretty much transparent, which is how I like my narrations translations, too, and for that matter writing itself. A good narrator lets the text speak for itself, and doesn't gum it up by over-dramaticizing or chewing the scenery, just as the best writers fiction or nonfiction communicate ideas as succinctly and simply as possible, without gumming up the works with florid prose, "style" or jargon. Overall, as a layperson who wanted to research prehistoric Britain for a project I'm working on, I learned a lot of fascinating stuff in an extremely easy and pleasant manner.

The book made an excellent traveling companion on long drives, making the time pass quickly -- same with doing everything from running to stuffing the dishwasher. The author gives a very dry text book like presentation of the topic. The book is really mostly about the archeology of the mind. A topic I find exciting.


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The book is not for everyone except for those with an interest in early man out of Africa and his mental development. If your not bothered by statements like understanding symbols make us human and 'X signifies Y in the context of C', you'll probably find the book interesting too. I didn't like the narration and would suggest to speed it up to 1. Also, I didn't like the dry presentation of the topic. I did like the topic and feel comfortable giving it a higher overall rating than the weighted average of the sum of its parts.

I would only recommend this book for people who really like the topic. Basically just a long description of what prehistoric archeology is. No real insights. Well written though, and it provides a good history of archeology in the broadest sense. If you've ever listened to Dennis Miller tell a joke and realized that you had no idea what he was referencing, but fount the joke mildly funny anyway, because you sort of imagined your own facts in place of the obscure reference, that is exactly what reading this book feel like.

For example he has a very insightful critique of Richard Dawkins' Meme theory, without ever, even superficially, explaining what Richard Dawkins wrote about Memes, or even what a Meme is. I happened to have read Richard Dawkins, so I got that one, but most of the references I didn't get. Googling the author strongly suggests that he is a top researcher in the field, so the impression that he's talking to other top researchers in his field, about what they should do differently in the future, may be somewhat accurate.

I think his point is something like we have assumed too much determinism in our understanding of the evolution of culture. Because specific events caused specific changes in specific instances, doesn't imply that this specific course of evolution is necessary or even probable. He seems to be advocating the need for better causal models of the interactions between ideas and cultural changes. But I have no idea how to understand the cause and affect relationship between ideas and cultural evolution in a pre-historic context.

It seems that you lack direct evidence of the ideas and large statistical samples that might be used to infer the influence of specific ideas.

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But I don't have a Ph. I would have enjoyed examples of successes at understanding the influence of ideas on pre-historical evolution. I use my audible credits to purchase non-fiction books for educational purposes. Add to Basket.

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