The Making of Bronze Age Eurasia (Cambridge World Archaeology) 1st Edition

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ISBN-13: 978-0521130158
ISBN-10: 0521130158
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Editorial Reviews

Review

'The book consists of six harmoniously and logically structured chapters. ... interestingly written and well illustrated.' American Journal of Archaeology

'This book - now available in paperback - will serve as a sourcebook for archaeologists interested in the region for the foreseeable future. An impressive array of evidence has been fused into a synthetic whole that generates a huge number of questions and provides an excellent platform for future research.' Minerva

Book Description

This book provides an overview of Bronze Age societies of Western Eurasia through an investigation of the archaeological record. Philip L. Kohl outlines the long-term processes and patterns of interaction that link these groups together in a shared historical trajectory of development. Interactions took the form of the exchange of raw materials and finished goods, the spread and sharing of technologies, and the movements of peoples from one region to another. Kohl reconstructs economic activities from subsistence practices to the production and exchange of metals and other materials.
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Product Details

  • Series: Cambridge World Archaeology
  • Paperback: 322 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 1 edition (April 6, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521130158
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521130158
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.7 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,832,080 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Robert J. Crawford on August 8, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book covers, at high undergraduate level, the cutting edge of the Bronze Age from the Balkans to the Indian subcontinent. It is well written, doesn't get bogged down in obscure arguments and detail while presenting the gist of current academic controversies, and has many good maps and striking images. Though I was hoping for more on Europe, this is a fun read for those interested in a substantive general introduction.

The book begins with an exploration of the Chalcolithic (i.e. Copper) Age (5th to 4th millenium BCE) that saw a huge trading area based on farming in the Balkans and western anatolia. With most of the mining needs available locally, there was a flowering of proto-urban areas with the birth of royal and economic hierarchies as evidenced by graves, beginning with metal working as luxuries and progressing to staple technologies, which diffused quickly through the trading network. For unknown reasons (perhaps climatic, probably not military), this culture collapsed suddenly, as bronze (from copper-arsenic and the copper-tin alloys) came into wider use.

Starting from mid-4th millenium, a crude herder culture developed in the Pontic Caspian area, essentially poor herders of cows with clunky wagons, searching for pastures. This cultural spread was gradual, over hundreds of years, and involved the absorption/assimilation/emulation of the emigrants of the agricultural societies they entered. There is very little evidence that this process was violent. During this period (3rd millenium), the horse was domesticated and hitched to better vehicles, which enabled scouts to look for better pasturage on wider ranges as well as develop military raiding parties with chariots.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sharon A. Call on May 18, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a thorough and well-written exploration of BA Eurasia. It became a whole lot more meaningful on successive readings, especially when coordinated with other texts, such as Anthony's "The Horse, the Wheel, and Language'' and Kuzmina's "The Prehistory of the Silk Road". The subject matter covers a vast territory and millennia, with as much detail as can be packed into less than 300 pages. Kohl is meticulous in his references and gives interesting insight into important Russian & Soviet archaeologists. I agree that maps are not as detailed or legible as one would wish, but in this field that seems to be standard. Kohl is careful in his treatment of the Indo-European question, an arena of considerable dispute. He could have improved this text with a section on Central Asian archaeology and intrusive steppe elements there, since interaction with "the sown world of agriculture" is a theme of the book. It remains to be seen if anyone can untangle the complex story of how Indo-Iranians and Indo-Aryans passed through Central Asia to India, Afghanistan, Iran, and Syria.
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4 of 8 people found the following review helpful By William Johnston on April 10, 2011
Format: Paperback
The above reviewer described the subject of the book well, so I'll skip that part.

The author knows his material, but is long-winded and repetitive. The maps were inadequate, often leaving out many place names mentioned in the text. The maps contained were of poor quality, with text too small to read and often blurry, as if they were photocopied (the maps are credited as copied from other sources).

It's worth skimming to look for interesting sections, but not worth buying.

Edit: I can't in good conscience continue to give this book only two stars. I find myself referring back to it while reading other books (currently Edwin Bryant's "The Quest for the Origins of Vedic Culture"). The maps, while of often poor quality, are copious and more helpful than the lack of maps I see in other books on the subject.
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The Making of Bronze Age Eurasia (Cambridge World Archaeology)
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