Africa

African archaeology by D W Phillipson

By D W Phillipson

During this absolutely revised and multiplied version of his seminal archaeological survey, David Phillipson offers a lucid, totally illustrated account of African prehistory, from the origins of humanity to the time of ecu colonisation, and demonstrates the relevance of archaeological study to an knowing of Africa today.

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R. Congo and Malawi serve to emphasise the large part played by chance in securing the preservation of the earliest archaeological remains, and also the extent to which future research may radically alter our present knowledge. However, the absence of hominids in very large fossil assemblages both in the extreme south and in the far north of Africa (Hendey 1981; Raynal et al. 0 million years ago, these creatures may have been restricted to the equatorial latitudes of the continent. South Africa Remains of Australopithecus have been found at sites in three parts of South Africa; in one of these regions remains of Paranthropus and, less certainly, early Homo also occur.

Then we can see the comprehensive manner in which varied environments were exploited. We can begin to understand why some aspects of indigenous technology reached the high level of expertise evidenced, for example, in West African casting of copper alloys, while other aspects -- such as methods of transport -- saw little change over prolonged periods. We can appreciate oral tradition as a counterpart of written literature, and wonder at the possible antiquity of art-forms in wood and other perishable materials which are at present only known from the most recent periods.

12, below; M. D. Leakey and Harris 1987) which are demonstrably contemporary with fossils attributed to A. afarensis. Its forelimbs, however, suggest a continued ability to climb trees. Several features of the skull, both braincase and dentition, continue to display ape-like characteristics. 5 metres tall. The more comprehensive fossil record means that A. afarensis is the earliest hominid for which the extent of sexual dimorphism may be estimated: it was significantly greater than in later hominids and closer to that seen among apes (Richmond and Jungers 1995).

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