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The Past in Perspective: An Introduction to Human Prehistory 3rd Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0072549386
ISBN-10: 0072549386
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Ken Feder received his Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Connecticut in 1982. He is a full professor in the Department of Anthropology at Central Connecticut State University where he has taught since 1977. He is the founder and director of the Farmington River Archaeological Project, an on-going survey of an inland, upland valley in north central Connecticut. He is the author of several books including Human Antiquity: An Introduction to Physical Anthropology and Archaeology (with Michael Park); Frauds, Myths, and Mysteries: Science and Pseudoscience in Archaeology; A Village of Outcasts: Historical Archaeology and Documentary Research at the Lighthouse Site; The Past in Perspective: An Introduction to Human Prehistory; Field Methods in Archaeology (co-editor with Tom Hester and Harry Shafer); Lessons from the Past: An Introductory Reader in Archaeology (editor); and Dangerous Places: Health, Safety, and Archaeology (co-edited with David Poirier). He is a Fellow of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal. He has been the recipient of the Excellence in Teaching Award at Central Connecticut State University. He has appeared on a number of television documentaries about archaeology for BBC Horizon, the History Channel, and the Learning Channel. He lives in West Simsbury, Connecticut with his wife, two sons, and three bad cats.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 640 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Humanities/Social Sciences/Languages; 3rd edition (July 28, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0072549386
  • ISBN-13: 978-0072549386
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,311,229 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
Kenneth Fader's "The Past In Perspective" is a book designed for those who wish to learn the basics regarding the field of archaelology. Focusing on the cultural evolutions of mankind, Fader never lapses into the jargon so popularly found in some textbooks. This is a book designed to introduce over five million years of human evolution, so naturally it is best for those who are new to the topic. Although I used this book for my archeology class, it contains information that could interest anyone with a flair for history. All in all, it is easy of to follow and does its best to represent all sides of arguments that are presented, although at times it seems to stress a war between religous and evolutionary ideas that may, or may not exist as much as the author would like them to.
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Format: Paperback
I have used this book for about three years in my archaeology class, discontinuously I must admit. It's good for those who want a strong biological perspective in humankind's cultural evolution, but it comes up short when it comes to regional civilizations. Treatment of the state-level societies in each region (e.g., Mesopotamia, Egypt, China, Mesoamerica, Andean America) could be more detailed, and the book would be easier to follow if it used a sequence of culture model for each region from its Neolithic to florescence to decline. In treating fossil hominids and their material culture, from the earliest human and humanlike forms through the Lower Paleolithic to the Mesolithic traditions and their makers, however, this is a solid presentation.
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This was the text for an intro to archaeology course I ended up dropping. Since I'll be signing up for the course again next spring, I decided to read it anyway.

Most of my archaeology background comes from books like Lekson's The Architecture of Chaco Canyon, New Mexico (Chaco Canyon Series), Cordell's Prehistory of the Southwest (New World Archaeological Record), and Reed's Chaco's Northern Prodigies: Salmon, Aztec, and the Ascendancy of the Middle San Juan Region after AD 1100 on Ancestral Puebloans (AKA Anasazi or Hisatsinom) in the Four Corners area. So it's good to get a more general background from Feder.

Feder weaves recent research into his narrative, making his book as current as books get.

He also discusses different methods of dating, and many other techniques that reveal prehistoric cultures.

His descriptions of field research in Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Europe make me want to do fieldwork even more, especially after exploring Chacoan Great Houses and Anasazi outliers.

A faculty member in West Valley College's Park Management program recommended Renfrew's Archaeology: Theories, Methods and Practice (Fifth Edition) as a more complete text. I haven't read it so I don't know how it compares.
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This was a college school book and required reading for class. Do you like reading college school books? the 5 stars are for getting it via Amazon.
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