Early Civilizations of the Old World: The Formative Histories of Egypt, the Levant, Mesopotamia, India, and China

Early Civilizations of the Old World: The Formative Histories of Egypt, the Levant, Mesopotamia, India, and China

Early Civilizations of the Old World: The Formative Histories of Egypt, the Levant, Mesopotamia, India, and China

Early Civilizations of the Old World: The Formative Histories of Egypt, the Levant, Mesopotamia, India, and China

Synopsis

Introductory text book aimed at first year students and interested gen public. Looks at Egypt, Mesopotamia, the Indus valley, which are core to most first year courses, as well as China which is growing in popularity. Examines each of these cultures from the Neolithic to the development of the State and makes comparisons between them, e.g. considers Gordon Childe's ideas on emergence of the State

Excerpt

How the world's first civilizations came into existence is the subject of this book. It charts, analyses and compares the parallel paths followed in each of the seminal areas of the Old World (Africa and Asia), from the Old Stone Age (Palaeolithic) right through to historical times. It documents the circumstances that gave each region its distinctive cultural characteristics: settling down, the domestication of plants and animals, economic specialization, class stratification, city and state formation.

It is, then, a book about the processes by which hunter-gatherers became farmers (the Neolithic), villagers became townspeople with a complex division of labour (the Chalcolithic) and, beginning around 5000 years ago, cities, states, writing, calculation and institutional religion emerged (the Bronze Age).

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

This work stems from a series of lectures on Old World Archaeology that I gave during 1992-3 in the University of Bristol at the invitation of Caroline Malone and Simon Stoddart. Many thanks to them for the invitation, for their hospitality and for the suggestion that the lectures be written up for publication. They are, of course, not responsible for deficiencies of realization, and neither are Kenneth A. Kitchen, who read Chapter 2 (Egypt), Gary O. Rollefson, who read the section on the Levant, or John Brockington, who read Chapter 4 (Indus). Their encouragement is, however, greatly appreciated, as also is that of Alan Barnard, John Curtis and Andrew Sherratt. I am likewise indebted to Gina L. Barnes, Stuart Campbell, Kwang-chih Chang, M.K. Dhavalikar, Roger Matthews, Nicholas Postgate, Lech Kryzaniak at Poznan Archaeological Museum and, of course, all of those whose work I have cited.

The photographs in Chapter 2 have been supplied by the Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford, whose assistance is appreciated.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.