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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting though a bit dry in parts
Though one of the unconventional books on archeaology, it is not so outlandish that no 'conventional' archeologist can accept it. In fact the book does mention that archeaologists in the conventional field are divided on when civilisation began.
The book argues that civilisation didn't begin overnight but rather developed gradually along with evolution of humans and...
Published on 3 Oct. 2001

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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Rudgley relies heavily on linguistics but misuses it
Rudgley's book cannot be taken seriously as an attempt to re-write pre-history. His argument is confused at the outset by his failure to define 'civilisation' and his apparent tacit adoption of an unreasonably wide definition, which makes it very easy for him to claim cheap success. The mainstream ideas he attacks are mostly 'straw men'. Much of his specific 'evidence' is...
Published on 29 Jan. 2001


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting though a bit dry in parts, 3 Oct. 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Lost Civilisations Of The Stone Age: A Journey Back to Our Cultural Origins (Paperback)
Though one of the unconventional books on archeaology, it is not so outlandish that no 'conventional' archeologist can accept it. In fact the book does mention that archeaologists in the conventional field are divided on when civilisation began.
The book argues that civilisation didn't begin overnight but rather developed gradually along with evolution of humans and that what has 'been started' by other type of humans/hominids was to continue by modern humans when they appeared later.
While those who describe these 'unconventional' views as 'fantasy', others may see the logic of it. I'm one of them. To me, the view of 'suddeness' is fantasy unless we were visited by exterrestial beings who taught us 'civilisation' which in my opinion did not happen.
I found the book a bit boring in parts but only because the author seems to go into minute detail. Others may prefer this style of writing so it's a matter of personal choice.
I'd recommend the book to anyone interested in archaeology, especially on the subject prehistory.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The unknown past, 29 Dec. 2008
By 
Peter Uys "Toypom" (Sandton) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Lost Civilisations Of The Stone Age: A Journey Back to Our Cultural Origins (Paperback)
By bringing together evidence from archaeology, ancient history, linguistics and anthropology, the author argues that the inventions, achievements and discoveries of prehistoric times have all but been edited out of popular accounts of human history. The work investigates art, language, symbolic activity, writing, musical instruments, astronomy, mathematics, artifacts & tools, surgery & medicine, ceramic technology and mining. Rudgley provides convincing evidence that the current division between history & prehistory is artificial and faulty.

He describes how Stone Age explorers discovered all the world's land masses, presents strong evidence for writing before 5000 BC and for mathematical, medical and astronomical science as well as tool-making and mining long before the Sumerians. Much evidence of sophisticated cultures exists from the Neolithic (about 10 000 years ago), in Europe, the Near East & Japan. Tracing the human story from the cusp of history back to the earliest known artifacts, he shows that the making of rugs, dental drilling, mining, pyrotechnology and accountancy among others, were all known in this period.

But not only that - the other "ideological wall" placed at about 40 000 BC is also being shown up to be highly dubious as many anomalous cases of earlier symbolic and artistic activities are coming to light. I found chapters 2 - 5, on language & writing, of particular interest as it deals with the work of inter alia Colin Renfrew, Dolgopolsky, Greenberg, Ruhlen & Starostin, including macrofamilies like Eurasiatic, Nostratic, Dene-Sino-Caucasian and the search for the mother tongue Proto-Human or Proto-World.

I would like to refer interested readers to the books of long-range linguists like Dr. Joseph Greenberg (Language in the Americas, The Eurasiatic Language Family), Merritt Ruhlen (On the Origin of Languages: Studies In Linguistic Taxonomy), Alan Bomhard (Indo-European and the Nostratic Hypothesis) & Sprung From Some Common Source edited by Sydney M. Lamb.

A widespread token system was used over a vast area for accounting purposes, starting in 8000 BC. A series of signs on objects discovered In the Balkans that predate Sumerian writing suggest there was an Old European Alphabet. At least 50 signs are common to it and Cretan Linear A. Rudgley often refers to the work of Marija Gimbutas - sometimes questioning her conclusions - in exploring the origins of script-like symbols in Europe. Various investigators of the cave art of the Upper Paleolithic, like Forbes & Crowder, Lartet, Jones, Piette and Viré, regarded certain symbols as examples of writing. There are similarities between sign inventories from the Ice Age to historical times & from China to Spain.

Lost Civilisations Of The Stone Age is lavishly illustrated with figures, plates and a map of language families, and there's an extensive bibliography, lists of plates & figures and index where page numbers for illustrations are indicated by italics. This well-researched, well-written book perhaps occasionally provides too much technical detail for the casual reader but always remains thought-provoking. Books of interest that deal with related matters are Stone Age Soundtracks by Paul Devereux, Civilization One by Christopher Knight and Europe's Lost Civilization by Peter Marshall.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars fascinating, if flawed, 30 April 2011
By 
John Hopper (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Lost Civilisations Of The Stone Age: A Journey Back to Our Cultural Origins (Paperback)
The author mostly succeeds in establishing that the roots of human achievement in many cases go back much further than is often assumed into what is generally known as prehistory. However, he often oversimplifies the arguments made by other archaeologists and portrays them as having an utterly rigid conception of a 40000BP threshold for the formation of modern human consciousness, thereby setting up a crude dichotomy between two schools of thought. The tone is set by his introduction where he cites examples of appalling insensitivity by 19th century archaeologists in grave robbing (e.g. of Tasmanian aborigines) and seems to imply that many modern archaeologists are also like that. So, overall, a fascinating look at many prehistoric attainments, but should be read alongside other views, especially as relating to controversial areas such as early art objects or evidence of human occupation in the Americas or Australia.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars People were cleverer than we thought!, 7 April 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Lost Civilisations Of The Stone Age: A Journey Back to Our Cultural Origins (Paperback)
This is a really well written and stimulating book. It looks at a variety of aspects of civilisation: language, writing, pottery, surgery and so on. What he shows is that evidence for these goes back a long way before the conventional view of the beginning of civilisation. The book shows an excellent knowledge of a wide range of recent archeological evidence from around the world. He shows how the achievements of the early Mesopotamian and Egyptian civilisations did not come from nowhere, but were the end of a gradual processes of cultural development thta had been occuring for 10s and even 100 of thousands of years. I found some of this really eye opening (particularly the evidence on languages and writing.
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4.0 out of 5 stars a different view of prehistory, 8 Dec. 2011
This review is from: Lost Civilisations Of The Stone Age: A Journey Back to Our Cultural Origins (Paperback)
I found this book fascinating. Richard Rudgley's basic contention is that we give prehistoric people far less credit than they deserve, that many of the hallmarks of what we were called 'civilisation' were foreshadowed in the Mesolithic and even the Upper Paelolithic, and that the view of civilisation spreading from the Near East to a backward Europe is simplistic at best, and most likely wrong.

You may not agree with his views, and it will be interesting to see in future what evidence is found to support them. However his interpretation is based on existing evidence, if nothing else, this book gives excellent food for thought.

I would give this 3.5 Stars if I could. Read around the subject, but include this as one of the books to read.
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Rudgley relies heavily on linguistics but misuses it, 29 Jan. 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Lost Civilisations Of The Stone Age: A Journey Back to Our Cultural Origins (Paperback)
Rudgley's book cannot be taken seriously as an attempt to re-write pre-history. His argument is confused at the outset by his failure to define 'civilisation' and his apparent tacit adoption of an unreasonably wide definition, which makes it very easy for him to claim cheap success. The mainstream ideas he attacks are mostly 'straw men'. Much of his specific 'evidence' is linguistic (or at least involves what are claimed to be early manifestations of written language), but this is discussed within the framework of the highly controversial ideas of Gimbutas. The evidence for anything resembling written language at the relevant dates is, to say the least, tenuous. Rudgley also relies heavily on fringe philological theories. He has in no way demonstrated his case...
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 7 Sept. 2014
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This review is from: Lost Civilisations Of The Stone Age: A Journey Back to Our Cultural Origins (Paperback)
Certainly gets you thinking.
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