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By D W Phillipson

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

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It was on the basis of this single, immature specimen that Australopithecus africanus was named. Its discovery made surprisingly little impact upon archaeological thinking at that time, because Southeast Asia and Europe were then believed to have been the main areas where the early stages of human evolution had taken place. A further problem was, and remains, that of establishing the absolute age of the Taung hominid which seems, like the other animal bones with which it was associated, to have been brought to the site by a leopard, eagle or other predator (Berger and Clarke 1995).

Phillipson 1977a: 23; Foley 2002). The modes appear to form a homotaxial sequence of world-wide applicability; they do not represent watertight compartments, it being recognised that elements of the technologies of earlier times often continued alongside more recent innovations. g. J. D. Clark and Schick in de Heinzelin et al. 2000: 51--181; J. D. Clark 2001b), which may account for prehistorians’ limited adoption of J. G. D. Clark’s categorisation. Although its value is restricted to discussion of very broad trends, it provides a useful means of technological comparison while avoiding potentially misleading terms such as ‘Early Stone Age’ which can too easily be assumed to correlate with finite periods of time.

C. Walker et al. 1993). Subsequently, the hominoid line is represented around 15 million years ago in western Kenya by Kenyapithecus, which shows important developments in skull, teeth and wrist. It probably lived in the open woodland that became widespread in East Africa in mid-Miocene times, before the completion of the great earth movements which resulted in the formation of the Rift Valley (Pickford 1983, 1986). In later Miocene times, between about 12 and 5 million years ago, further evolutionary development must have taken place which eventually led to the emergence of the family to which all human types, past and present, belong.

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