In Europe before Rome, T. Douglas Price takes readers on a guided tour through dozens of the most important prehistoric sites on the continent, from very recent discoveries to some of the most famous and puzzling places in the world, like Chauvet, Stonehenge, and Knossos. This volume focuses on more than 60 sites, organized chronologically according to their archaeological time period and accompanied by 200 illustrations, including numerous color photographs, maps, and drawings. Our understanding of prehistoric European archaeology has been almost completely rewritten in the last 25 years with a series of major findings from virtually every time period, such as Otzi the Iceman, the discoveries at Atapuerca, and evidence of a much earlier eruption at Mt. Vesuvius. Many of the sites explored in the book offer the earliest European evidence we have of the typical features of human society--tool making, hunting, cooking, burial practices, agriculture, and warfare. Introductory prologues to each chapter provide context for the wider changes in human behavior and society in the time period, while the author's concluding remarks offer expert reflections on the enduring significance of these places.
Tracing the evolution of human society in Europe across more than a million years, Europe before Rome gives readers a vivid portrait of life for prehistoric man and woman.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2012-08-06
- Reviewer: Staff
In this richly illustrated, elegantly written guide to European prehistory, archeologist Price, professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin–Madison (Images of the Past), takes us on a remarkable journey from the very earliest prehuman cultures to the Iron Age of warfare, empires, and human strife. He describes evidence that two million years ago, the first migrants from Africa—Homo antecessor—arrived in Europe. Sites at Atapuerca, Spain, indicate that Homo antecessor ate meat “and sometimes... each other,” and that they fashioned hand axes out of stone. After following Homo’s continuing evolution, Price guides readers on a whirlwind tour of European human history, examining the raw materials and technological and cultural artifacts that provide deep insights into that history. For example, archeological digs in Crete, Greece, and Rome beginning around 3000 B.C.E. reveal mobile, wealthy, and martial societies where weapons and warfare were pre-eminent; the Bronze Age was marked by conflict as larger societies sought to acquire land, slaves, and wealth from their neighbors. Focusing on dozens of specific sites at particular times (e.g., Pincevent, France, 12,000 years ago), Price’s lush survey of major archeological sites in Europe provides a rich and engrossing introduction to what he calls an “extraordinary heritage.” 288 illus., 219 b&w.(Dec.)