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Early Civilizations of the Old World. The Formative Histories of Egypt, The Levant, Mesopotamia, India and China, 1999, 496 p., 11 tabl., 70 dessins, 16 ph., rel. -

Early Civilizations of the Old World traces the development of civilization in Egypt, the Levant, Mesopotamia, India and China from before the Neolithic period to the emergence of the State. In each case the ecological and economic background to growth, geographical factors, cross-cultural intersection and the rise of urbanism are examined, explaining how particular forms of social structure and cultural interaction developed. In its broad scope and comparative approach this accessible volume is a well-evidenced study of the birth of civilization from the Mediterranean to the Far East. Why are the characteristics of the Neolithic, Chalcolithic and Bronze Ages peculiar to each region and why is each region's trajectory unique? Discussing hundreds of sites in detail, this volume challenges the traditional sequence of band-tribe-chiefdom-state in the rise of complex societies, and proposes new evolutionary pathways and mechanisms. It demonstrates that Late Neolithic/Early Chalcolithic societies can be more complex than is usually thought; conversely, that large complex societies can flourish without social classes and the state, as dramatically shown by the Indus Civilization, analysed here in depth.
Référence : 18839. English
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