From Publishers Weekly
This jauntily written, highly convincing analysis by influential anthropologists Adovasio and Soffer and former editor of Natural History and Smithsonian Page argues that women of prehistory were pivotal in a wide range of culture-building endeavors, including the invention of language, the origins of agriculture and the conceptualization of boat building. Although based on the most current scientific evidence, these theories are presented as accessibly as possible, with frequent humorous asides and a wide range of popular cultural touchstones, from Charles Darwin to The Clan of the Cave Bear. The authors offer concepts that radically challenge our preconceptions of human behavior and history. They argue, for instance, that brain development and an increase in longevity that produced extended families, especially grandmothers, brought about a "creative revolution" in the Late Paleolithic period (about 30,000 years ago). The authors also include a fascinating discussion of the possible role of goddess worship in prehistoric society and its relationship to contemporary New Age feminism. Highly readable, well argued, and always fascinating, this critique of traditional anthropology is an important addition to both scientific and feminist literature. (Feb.)
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Although more than half the graduates of academic programs in archaeology are women, bias still haunts the profession. Because the artifacts of prehistory are themselves mute, the stories told by their interpreters create an apparent reality of what the past was like._Written in graphic, often novelistic prose, this book deconstructs those stories and finds that, consistently, they assume a world controlled by men and almost devoid of women and children, except as hungry mouths for ancient hunters to feed. Prehistoric women, however, are thought to have invented many things we take for granted: language, for instance, to say nothing of cooking and weaving. An engaging book that sets the record straight while describing current theories and trends in archaeology. Patricia Monaghan
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