This book is an introduction to the archaeology of Australia from prehistoric times to the eighteenth century AD. It is the only up-to-date textbook on the subject and is designed for undergraduate courses, based on the author's considerable experience of teaching at the Australian National University. Lucidly written, it shows the diversity and colourfulness of the history of humanity in the southern continent.
The Archaeology of Ancient Australia demonstrates with an array of illustrations and clear descriptions of key archaeological evidence from Australia a thorough evaluation of Australian prehistory. Readers are shown how this human past can be reconstructed from archaeological evidence, supplemented by information from genetics, environmental sciences, anthropology, and history. The result is a challenging view about how varied human life in the ancient past has been.
Table of Contents
1. The veil of Antipodean pre-history 2. Colonization of Australia 3. Early settlement across Australia 4. Extinction of Pleistocene fauna 5. Who were the first Australians? 6. Life in Pleistocene Australia 7. Tasmania isolated 8. Technology in the Holocene 9. Coastal economies in the Holocene 10. Inland economies in the Holocene 11. Arid zone economies in the Holocene 12. Population growth and mobility 13. Social identity and interaction during the Holocene 14. The ethnographic challenge: change in the last millennium.
Peter Hiscock is a Reader at the Australian National University where he teaches the archaeology of Australia. His work on Australian sites has concentrated on ancient technology but has also explored human exploitation of coastal and desert landscapes.
‘His concern is to balance science and the humanities, teetering on the fine knife edge between oceans of technological detail and the need both to entertain and to explain the ambiguities of the archaeological record. The result is a fascinating, state-of-the-art journey through Australia’s past, which is certainly not aimed at freshmen or the general public, but at students and readers with a serious interest in the subject …’ – Australian Archaeology