An Atlas of Human Prehistory
A century and a half of archaeology has given humanity a more-or-less competent sketch of its history and even prehistory through time; today, as we perhaps begin to move from description toward explanation, we are extending our understanding to our global prehistory. Considering time and space together enriches our understanding of the human past; natives of the Pacific Islands did not simply plod east from the Southeast Asian archipelago; they made an early rapid pulse, remained stationary for many generations, then pulsed out again in a rapid advance, entire clans setting off on the high sea in fleets of exploration vessels. Or consider the emergence of modern humans out of Africa; they might have entered Europe from the southwest, up the Iberian Peninsula, but they did not, instead entering from the southeast. Why one route and not another? It is likely too early to say in most cases; some decades of description are likely still required to characterize the dispersals of our lineage before we understand. But we are at the foot of the trail.
This book is written for undergraduate students of archaeology and human prehistory. I have two main aims. First, to provide large, good graphical representations of some of the chief lessons of human prehistory. As an undergraduate I was often frustrated with small pictures and maps in books, particularly when they were meant to represent vast landscapes, and I have worked hard to make the diagrams in this book as large as the format allows, engaging, and informative. My second goal is to excite students about learning through travel, and I hope that each student will be inspired or excited to travel to at least one place they learn about in this book.
Locate the Document
Smith, C. (2018). An atlas of human prehistory. San Diego, CA: Cognella.