Prehistoric societies

by Grahame Clark, 1907-




Call number

GN741 .C55


Publisher Unknown

User reviews

LibraryThing member P_S_Patrick
Prehistoric Societies takes us from the earliest evidence of human culture – the rock art and flint tools of the stone age hunter-gatherers, right through to the development of pottery, towns, and the bronze and iron ages and development of agriculture, cities, and complex civilisation that come
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to resemble more closesly our own.
This is very much a book written from an archaeological perspective, as archaological evidence is almost the only thing that can tell us anything about how prehistoric people lived, how their economies changed through the ages, what their beliefs might have been, what sort of buildings they probably lived in, and what they wore and ate.
This is quite a detailed book stretching to around 330 pages and plenty of illustrations. This length is appropriate given the vastness of the time periods it covers – hundreds of thousands or even millions of years ago when the first stone tools were being made by non-human hominids, right up to the compartively recent pre-historic past of a few thousand BC.
This is a relatively readable book, and a fairly good introduction to Prehistory, though it doesn't as carefully avoid using non-specialist terms, or at least go to the same lengths to explain them, as many popular accounts do. Also, having been written over 50 years ago, it is somewhat out of date in that a lot of new discoveries have been made since then. For example, the oldest known cultures have been discovered further into the past now, and more evidence has been gathered using new techniques such as genetics, which have provided us with a much improved understanding of the past and how and where it was populated with different varieties of extinct anthropoids. This being said, the vast majority of Prehistory, as this book says, is lost forever to human knowledge, as only certain types of material traces are left to survive the huge timescales involved. For this reason, the job of the archaeologist, and the glimpses we see of these long distant cultures are made even more intriguing.
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