By D W Phillipson
During this absolutely revised and elevated version of his seminal archaeological survey, David Phillipson provides a lucid, absolutely illustrated account of African prehistory, from the origins of humanity to the time of ecu colonisation, and demonstrates the relevance of archaeological learn to an knowing of Africa today.
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It should be stressed that there is particular controversy concerning the relationship between Australopithecus and the earliest members of the genus Homo; some authorities (Wood and Collard 1999) deny that two genera are represented, regarding H. habilis as a gracile australopithecine. The dispute serves to emphasise the difﬁculty, noted above, of describing evolutionary processes in Linnaean terms. To conclude this survey of early hominid evolution, it may be instructive brieﬂy to compare the physical features of Australopithecus africanus both with a modern person and with a modern great ape, in this instance a gorilla (Fig.
Klein 1999). These discoveries in Chad, D. 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.
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. The synthesis offered in this book takes account of these factors. It generally retains at least some aspects of conventional terminology, if only to facilitate use of other literature, but it seeks to note circumstances where, in the author’s opinion, such terminology has a tendency to distort or to hinder understanding.
African archaeology by D W Phillipson