The Human Past

The Human Past

World Prehistory & the Development of Human Societies

  1. Edited by Chris Scarre
  • ISBN 9780500290644
  • 27.70 x 21.60 cm
  • Paperback
  • 784pp
  • 788 Illustrations, 296 in colour
  • First published 2013


The most thorough and authoritative introductory survey of human prehistory and the development of civilizations around the globe. Indispensable for students, scholars and teachers, and anyone wanting a comprehensive overview of 
world prehistory.

‘A magnificent achievement – Chris Scarre has brought together a brilliant international team to provide the most up-to-date overview of world prehistory. The Human Past is absolutely essential reading for all students of archaeology’ – Barry Cunliffe, University of Oxford
'Brings alive world archaeology in an exciting, accessible and informative way that makes it by far the best introduction available. Written by a galaxy of experts, it is copiously and imaginatively illustrated, as well 
as up-to-date in terms of both ideas and evidence’– Cyprian Broodbank, Institute of Archaeology, 
University College London
Brings global prehistory … within easy reach not only of students but also of scholars … lavishly illustrated with well-chosen figures … a magnificent achievement’– Leendert P. Louwe Kooijmans, Leiden University

• Truly global coverage spanning the past three million years, from human origins in Africa and the spread 
of modern humans around the world to the great civilizations of Egypt and Africa, the Mediterranean, Europe, South and East Asia, and the Americas.
• No other world prehistory textbook can claim such a range of expertise – all 24 authors, from North America, Europe and Australasia, are acknowledged experts in their fields.
• Revised throughout to take into account new discoveries, theories and interpretations, including what the analysis of ancient DNA tells us about our evolution; the Denisovans; the mechanisms of the adoption and spread of farming; the latest theories about the domestication of key plants and animals; and new 
thinking on the earliest Paleoindian hunting strategies.
• New box features include: 'When Did Humans First Colonize Europe?'; 'Blombos Cave and the Origins of Symbolism'; 'Ethiopia’s Rock-Cut Churches'; 'Dairying and the Domestication of Humans'; 'On the March with 
the Hittite Army'; 'What Greek Sculpture Really Looked Like'; 'Chocolate at Pueblo Bonito'.
• Clear layout, unmatched graphic presentation, including world and regional maps and timelines, greatly enhanced use of colour illustrations, and hundreds of photographs, diagrams, plans and reconstruction images.

Chris Scarre is Professor of Archaeology at Durham University. He is a specialist in European prehistory, 
but has broad interests in the archaeology of other regions of the world. He is the author of Landscapes 
of Neolithic Brittany, The Megalithic Monuments of Britain and Ireland and Ancient Civilizations (with Brian Fagan); and editor of Past Worlds: The Times Atlas of Archaeology and The Seventy Wonders of the Ancient World. He has recently taken over as editor of the leading UK archaeology journal, Antiquity.