Fairweather Eden: Life Half a Million Years Ago As Revealed By the Excavations At Boxgrove

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9780099644910: Fairweather Eden: Life Half a Million Years Ago As Revealed By the Excavations At Boxgrove

In 1993, archaeologist Mark Roberts and his team found a human shinbone that turned out to be 500,000 years old-and thus marked the discovery of Europe's oldest known man. Fairweather Eden is the story, through the eyes of those involved, of over ten years of archaeological excavations at Boxgrove in Sussex, England, the world's best-preserved early human site, the discovery of which is causing a major shift in our understanding of the true origins of humankind. It reveals our earliest ancestors to have been hominids who were far more sophisticated than the primitive beasts they were believed to have been, able to craft complicated tools and to track and kill dangerous game.

16 Pages of Black-and-White Photographs/Illustrations Throughout Glossary/Bibliography/Index

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About the Author:

Michael Pitts has written for academic journals and has excavated in England at Stonehenge and Avebury. Mark Roberts received the Stopes Medal for his contribution to Paleolithic archaeology.

From Publishers Weekly:

Boxgrove, a gravel quarry in Sussex, England, is one of Great Britain's best-known archaeological sites. A wealth of fossils have been unearthed from this location, including fragments of what has been called the oldest European. Roberts, the archaeologist in charge of Boxgrove, and science writer Pitts use these remains, along with bones of long-extinct animals and primitive tools, to answer one of the biggest debates in Stone Age archaeology, "whether these people were actively hunting or whether they were scavenging from carnivores." The authors come down squarely in the camp of those promoting a belief in active hunting, and conclude that these early hominids possessed a great deal more intelligence than they are usually given credit for. In addition to providing modest insight into the capabilities of our ancestors, Pitts and Roberts do a superb job of describing the way archaeology is conducted. Theirs is a fascinating account of how a world-class dig has been forced to operate on a shoestring budget, making remarkably good use of undergraduate students and unpaid volunteers. Many of the experiments they describe, such as having a modern-day butcher cut up a deer with Paleolithic tools, are elegant, informative and intriguing. 16 pages of b&w illustrations.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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