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Europe Between the Oceans: 9000 BC-AD 1000    by Barry Cunliffe Amazon.com order for
Europe Between the Oceans
by Barry Cunliffe
Order:  USA  Can
Yale University Press, 2008 (2008)
Hardcover
* * *   Reviewed by Alex Telander

Barry Cunliffe, a leading archaeologist and emeritus professor of European Archaeology at the University of Oxford, presents an epic tome that will delight archaeology readers and scientists alike. Europe Between the Oceans takes readers on a long and fascinating journey from the deep past, when humanity was split into nomadic groups, to the end of the first millennium when the world was a very different place.

Cunliffe begins by explaining the unique setting of the Eurasian continent with its consolidated landmass being surrounded by so much water - its various lakes, seas, bays, and oceans, as well as its convoluted shaping, offering an extensive coastline. Along with plenty of maps, diagrams, and photos, he also explains Europe's extensive river network and how this has changed over time. With this solid foundation on the water systems of the continent, Cunliffe begins his thorough history lesson, starting at 9000 BC with the ancient peoples who were just beginning to settle down and develop technology, after having barely survived a harsh ice age.

Europe Between the Oceans is split into chronological periods: 6000-3800 BC, 4500-2800 BC, 2800-1300 BC, 1300-800 BC, 800-500 BC, 500-140 BC, 140 BC AD 300, AD 300-800, and AD 800-1000. Cunliffe spends time in various geological locations, as well as pointing out the important time periods of great changes, such as The Three Hundred Years That Changed the World: 800-500 BC, and States in Collision: 500-140 BC. Reading this volume (which has an extensive bibliography and index), one can't help but feel the recipient of a year's worth of class instruction and knowledge.

Europe Between the Oceans answers many questions, as well as presenting fascinating and oftentimes surprising thoughts and perspectives on a monumental period in the history of civilization.

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