image/svg+xml109 VI/1/2015 INTERDISCIPLINARIA ARCHAEOLOGICA NATURAL SCIENCES IN ARCHAEOLOGY homepage: Book reviews Volume VI ● Issue 1/2015 ● Pages 109–110 The Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology and Anthropology of Hunter-Gatherers. Vicki Cummings, Peter Jordan, Marek Zvelebil (Eds.).Oxford University Press (April 24, 2014), Oxford, UK, 1 360 pp., 123 illustrations, ISBN: 9780199551224. £ 125 (hardcover).Part I ( Theoretical Frameworks ) deals with the concept of hunting and gathering societies, mainly in terms of its evolution, development, cultural and historical context, as well as its current position in the scientifc community (A. Barnard; M. Pluciennik; A. Cannon). Presented within this scope are some highly-discussed adaptive approaches that emphasise the importance of considering the social variables along with the environmental ones (R. Garvey and R. Bettinger). The last two chapters in this part are devoted to valuable methodological issues, namely ethnoarchaeological investigations (P. Jane) and the impact of gender studies on hunter-gatherer research (K. Sterling).Part II ( The Earliest Hunter-Gatherers ) concentrates on the notion of foraging itself with respect to early human evolution (J. Robinson). This part concerns the Neanderthals (J. Zilhão) and early modern humans from the perspective of evolution and extinction along with tracing their biological and social traits. Much work has been done in this area and the nine subsequent chapters provide a critical up-to-date and very valuable overview of these processes taking place in various areas involving: Africa (K. Kuykendall and I. Heyerdahl-King); Asia (O. Bar-Yosef; A. Derevianko, S. Markin and A. Tabarev; M. Petraglia and N. Boivin; S. O’Connor and D. Bulbeck); Europe (P. Pettit); Australia (I. Davidson); and the Americas (M. Kornfeld and G. Politis).Part III ( Post-Glacial Colonisations and Transformations ) looks at the post-glacial epoch as a period characterised by key environmental changes and the human responses to them. To this end, this part of the handbook outlines major transformations and developments taking place in the Mesolithic in areas of lower latitude such as Africa (A. Smith) and Asia (A. Moore; R. Rabett and S. Jones; J. Habu), as well as in colder European zones (J. Svoboda; G. Warren; F. Riede). As the introductory chapter by V. Cummings explains, a study into hunter-gatherers in the post-glacial world has long been a topic that is rather problematic to grasp and deal with. As a consequence, several remaining key issues for future research in this period are stressed, including: more detailed information on environmental and cultural variability, along with a call for a new integrative mode of thinking in order to fully understand humans in the post-glacial period in a broader sense.Part IV ( Prehistoric Hunter-Gatherer Innovations ) aims to highlight the fact that hunter-gatherers should be perceived as active beings having an intrinsic capacity for change and innovation, as opposed to the traditional view of pre-agricultural societies being passive recipients of external infuences. Technological innovations in material culture (S. Kuhn and A. Clark; P. Hommel), artistic skills (J. Lewis-Williams), the emergence of coastal economies (C. Wickham-Jones), structured and symbolic mortuary practices (L. Nilsson Stutz) and the presence of more complex societies in terms of transformations of social relations (B. Hayden) represent some of the key issues discussed in this light. These are accompanied by other chapters dealing with the active management and domestication of plants and animals (D. Harris; A. Outram), emphasizing its roots among prehistoric hunter-gatherers. Although much work on hunter-gatherers engaged in individual innovations has already been published, the key element stressed by the editors here is the “agency” of hunter-gatherers leading to new patterns of behaviour in more general terms.Part V ( The Persistence of Hunting and Gathering amongst Farmers in Prehistory and Beyond ) goes on to consider the issues surrounding the emergence and spread of farming from the perspective of prehistoric hunter-gatherers. In this part, contributors discuss the process of Neolithisation in various European regions (D. Gronenborn; D. Raemaekers; V. Cummings and O. Harris; C. Damm and L. Forsberg) on the one hand, and forager-farmer interactions in south-east Asia (H. Barton) and North America (K. Spielmann) on the other. The core of this part lies in the contrasting This huge handbook focuses on the phenomenon of hunter-gatherers from the perspective of two disciplines, namely archaeology and anthropology. The volume under review here is written by a distinguished group of internationally-recognised researchers under the leadership of Vicki Cummings (Reader in Archaeology at the University of Central Lancashire), Peter Jordan (Director of the Arctic Centre at the University of Groningen) and Marek Zvelebil (deceased Professor of European Prehistory at the University of Sheffeld). The book is a complex piece of work providing a detailed critical review of several present-day investigations that vary both in their scope and approach. The 61 essays are well-organized into seven thematic sections, comprised of individual chapters that cover specifc issues and case studies from around the world.