First Migrants: Ancient Migration in Global Perspective

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9781405189095: First Migrants: Ancient Migration in Global Perspective

The first publication to outline the complex global story of human migration and dispersal throughout the whole of human prehistory. Utilizing archaeological, linguistic and biological evidence, Peter Bellwood traces the journeys of the earliest hunter-gatherer and agriculturalist migrants as critical elements in the evolution of human lifeways.

  • The first volume to chart global human migration and population dispersal throughout the whole of human prehistory, in all regions of the world
  • An archaeological odyssey that details the initial spread of early humans out of Africa approximately two million years ago, through the Ice Ages, and down to the continental and island migrations of agricultural populations within the past 10,000 years
  • Employs archaeological, linguistic and biological evidence to demonstrate how migration has always been a vital and complex element in explaining the evolution of the human species
  • Outlines how significant migrations have affected population diversity in every region of the world
  • Clarifies the importance of the development of agriculture as a migratory imperative in later prehistory
  • Fully referenced with detailed maps throughout

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From the Back Cover:

Peter Bellwood’s global perspective on human migration offers an unprecedented view of the evolution of human lifeways. Charting the fascinating story of human migration throughout prehistory, the author takes the reader on an archaeological odyssey from humanity’s origins in Africa two million years ago, through the challenges and dislocations of the Ice Ages, to the continental migrations of agricultural peoples within the last 10,000 years.

Drawing on a wide variety of data from archaeology, evolutionary biology, human genetics, and comparative linguistics, the book’s central argument posits that migration has always been a fundamental imperative in human affairs. Bellwood argues that human diversity is not just the result of purely local processes, but that significant migrations have always occurred, and identifies the development of agriculture as a critical element in recent human prehistory. The analysis provided in these pages is informed by the latest research and is well-illustrated with detailed maps.

About the Author:

Peter Bellwood is Professor of Archaeology at the Australian National University. A renowned authority in a field driven by contesting paradigms, his vast experience and detailed empirical research have informed his widely-translated publications, especially covering South East Asia and the Pacific. Recent key works include The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration, Volume 1: Prehistory (2013), co-edited with Immanuel Ness, First Farmers (Wiley-Blackwell, 2005), Prehistory of the Indo-Malaysian Archipelago (second edition 1997, reprinted 2007), and Examining the Farming/Language Dispersal Hypothesis (2002), co-edited with Colin Renfrew. His research integrates a range of techniques from archaeology, linguistics, and human biology, and he is currently engaged in archaeological research in Vietnam and the Philippines.

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