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Landscape of the Mind: Human Evolution and the Archaeology of Thought 1st Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0231147040
ISBN-10: 023114704X
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Editorial Reviews


Overall, this is a much needed addition to the area of cognitive thought, an area of research that will become increasingly important within archaeology and paleoanthropology over the coming decades.

(Samuel P. Griffiths PaleoAnthropology)

Landscape of the Mind provides an innovative view on the feedback between the biological and social in human evolution.

(Matthew L. Sisk Journal of Anthropological Research)

The volume would be a very good read for nonspecialists interested in cognitive evolution in general and human evolution in particular.

(Thomas Wynn Quarterly Review of Biology)


In this book, John F. Hoffecker employs his unique knowledge to address a central goal in paleoanthropology—tracking the evolution of the human mind. Others have attempted similar syntheses, but if you can read only one book, this is the one to choose for its remarkable integration of diverse archaeological observations and unusual clarity and especially for the narrative's close approximation to what actually happened in prehistory.

(Richard G. Klein, Bass Professor in Humanities and Sciences, Stanford University, and author of The Human Career: Human Biological and Cultural Origins)

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press; 1 edition (May 31, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 023114704X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0231147040
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,270,875 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Fernando F. Aransay on January 15, 2012
Format: Hardcover
The book is very interesting and built on sound scientific grounds, as far as I can tell (not being myself any expert on this field).

My (positively intended) criticisms are three:

(i) The style of Mr. Hoffecker is sometimes a bit dull or dry. Not that he does not know where he is leading, but in a book meant for the general public (it is certainly not a scientific paper), just a bit more rythm and readability (meaning at least a basic 'literary' speech, as opposed to the mere exposition of scientific data) would certainly have enhanced the final result.

(ii) Although the book is true to its title (the archeology of thought), the author goes on to proposing some conclusions about the development of the super brain and super mind. I found these to be the most interesting ideas of the book, and thus regret that they are not further elaborated. I assume it would probably fall beyond the scope of the book (a humble 170 pages, by the way), but at least Mr. Hoffecker has opened my appetite for more on the particular subject of human consciousness (if anyone would please suggest further reading, I'd appreciate it).

(iii) The notes and bibliography are both impressive, but some guidance would have been a plus for readers like yours truly. I accept that such a thing might not have been in the mind of the author but, again, it would improve its value for the general public.

As I said, very interesting.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
More than just archaeology, this book delves into philosophy. Very deep and thoughtful.
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