The Dawn of European civilization

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PROF. V. G. CHILDE has done very well to bring out, so soon after the seven-year interruption by war of contact with archæology in the Continent of Europe, this revised fourth edition of the book with which he first made his name in 1925. Little of importance has escaped him of the material published since the 1939 edition, and the book stands up as well as ever it did to the responsibility of being the standard English summary of the first half of the 3,000 years of prehistory which lie, in Europe, between the early Neolithic and the Roman Empire. The whole 1939 text has been reconsidered, and much of it rewritten ; there are many new (and better) illustrations, and at the end a set of new chronological tables as well as of compendious maps. The first chapter, on the Mesolithic hunters and fishers over whom the 'dawn of civilization' from the East gradually broke, is perhaps rather constricted, and the geological and palæobotanical elucidation of its chronology rather curtly sketched ; but that, of course, is 'background' only. With the 'Neolithic revolution' to food-producing economy in the Near and Middle East the unfolding of the 'dawn' begins ; Childe pursues it, as in his previous editions, by the method of taking each of the chief geographical regions of Europe in turn, and running through the sequence of its cultures from the first Neolithic to the beginning of the Middle Bronze Age, or the fifteenth century B.C., and then starting again upon the next one.

The Dawn of European civilization

By Prof. V. Gordon Childe. New (fourth) edition, enlarged and completely rewritten. Pp. xix + 362. (London: Kegan Paul and Co., Ltd., 1948.) 28s. net.

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HAWKES, C. The Dawn of European civilization. Nature 163, 785 (1949) doi:10.1038/163785a0

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