Thought: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)

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How is it consumed? Why do you enjoy it at all? In Music: A Very Short plays Introduction, Nicholas Cook invites us to really think about music and the role it plays in our lives and our ears.


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Drawing on a number of accessible examples, the author prompts us to call on our own musical experiences in order to think more critically about the roles of the performers and the listener, about music as a commodity and an experience, what it means to understand music, and the values we ascribe to it. This very short introduction, written with both humor and flair, begins with a sampling of music as human activity and then goes on to consider the slippery phenomenon of how music has become an object of thought. Covering not only Western and classical music, Cook touches on all types from rock to Indonesian music and beyond.

Incorporating musical forms from every continent, Music will make enjoyable reading for beginner and expert alike.


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  • They are written by experts, and have been published in more than 25 languages worldwide. The series began in , and now represents a wide variety of topics in history, philosophy, religion, science, and the humanities. Over the next few years it will grow to a library of around volumes — a Very Short Introduction to everything from ancient Egypt and Indian philosophy to conceptual art and cosmology.

    Morgan Wittgenstein A. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior permission in writing of Oxford University Press, or as expressly permitted by law, or under terms agreed with the appropriate reprographics rights organizations.

    The present volume has no pretensions to equal its predecessor except in brevity.

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    Inevitably you may need to shift and sieve a lot of earth, memorize some boring dates, wrap your tongue round meaningless jargon, and try to grapple with the Sumo wrestlers of theory, but at the same time you will be transported into a world of art and artefacts, temples and tools, tombs and treasures, lost cities and mysterious scripts, mummies and mammoths. Such is the power of Hollywood, and such is the anonymity of present-day archaeology.

    The great characters of the past are all gone — we shall probably not see their like again — but an army of mildly eccentric and dedicated professionals and amateurs are hard at work around the globe, trying to make sense of the past. Cartoons usually depict archaeologists as crusty old fogies, covered in cobwebs, and obsessed with old bones and cracked pots. Some archaeologists never excavate, for example, and very few of them spend most of their time at it. The term human past needs stressing, because archaeologists do not — contrary to what many of the public believe, thanks to the Flintstones, and Raquel Welch in that memorable fur bikini — study dinosaurs, or rocks per se.

    What you threw in the garbage yesterday, no matter how useless, Archaeology disgusting, or potentially embarrassing, has now become part of the recent archaeological record.

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    Although the majority of archaeologists study the remote past centuries or thousands of years back in time , increasing numbers are turning to historical periods and even quite modern phenomena — for example the Nevada nuclear test-site, the huts of Polar explorers, and even Nazi bunkers and the Berlin Wall have attracted the attention of archaeologists lately! It is a subject that seems to act like a magnet to eccentrics, but its vast span ensures that it contains something to suit all types.

    One of the joys of archaeology is that the whole world is your oyster, 2 providing you can raise the funding to do the work. You can stick a pin in the globe, or choose any time-period to focus on: there will always be some archaeological problem to investigate, be it in dense jungles, deep caves, burning deserts, or freezing mountains. Nor do you need to be limited to the land — if such is your bent, you can become an underwater archaeologist or specialize in aerial photography.

    Since the subject encompasses all of our history, you have the whole gamut from fossil humans to the medieval or industrial periods from which to choose; anything and everything from studying the crudest pebble tools, barely distinguishable from natural stones, to analysing satellite photographs for data on archaeological sites.

    Naturally, this can be taken too far, and there is nothing worse or more tedious than those — professionals or amateurs — for whom archaeology is an all-devouring obsession. You can stay in your armchair, or travel the world, practising your language skills in either case. In other words, doing archaeology is like going to a whole battery of evening classes all at once. The range of possibilities is endless, so inevitably this short book will be very far from exhaustive.

    It can take a look at only a few of the main areas of concern of present-day archaeology, to whet your appetite and Archaeology stimulate your own back-looking curiosity. One of the qualities most archaeologists need to have in abundance, regardless of their speciality, is optimism — i.

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    How much is based on bones and artifacts and how much on the norms of literature? Naturally we know more about some aspects of these cultures because they left written records, but all historians know that you still have to take bias and inaccuracy into account. Taylor said, history is not a catalogue but a version of events.

    There are inevitably a few archaeologists who are pompous, hypocritical, dishonest, pretentious, self-promoting, and unprincipled, but that does not stop them doing well in the profession.


    • ISBN 13: 9780192854575.
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    • Quite the contrary, in fact. Since nobody knows what happened in the past including the recent historical past , there will never be an end to archaeological research. Few other subjects can say as much. Chapter 1 The Origins and Development of Archaeology Archaeology — like nostalgia — is not what it used to be, so where did it come from? He excavates a 8 foundation brick of the temple of Naram-Sin, builded 3, years before. The term archaeology, as understood today, was reinvented by a seventeenth-century doctor and antiquary of Lyons called Jacques stony ground.

      At the same time, discoveries of Greek and Roman sculpture were inspiring contemporary artists to study Classical forms, while wealthy families began to collect and display Classical antiquities.

      The seventeenth and eighteenth centuries saw these activities grow into a more systematic Archaeology interest, accompanied by increasing numbers of excavations. While most digs were intended merely to retrieve objects from the ground, a few pioneers treated the work like a careful dissection, noting the relationships of artefacts to different layers of soil, and realizing that, on the whole, objects from upper layers must be younger than those from layers below. This new approach to interrogating and reading the ground and the landscape like a document led to a craze for barrow-digging — i.

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      Instead of setting about the archaeological layers with pickaxes or even explosives! This yields around human bones, which are all they can handle since each has to be cleaned and hardened and conserved. The work is incredibly meticulous, and the remaining sediments are washed and sieved so carefully that even the tiny bones of the inner ear have been recovered. Take, for instance, a single potsherd fragments of pottery are among the most durable and hence most ubiquitous kinds of archaeological evidence : in the past, a sherd would simply have been classed as a type, based on its shape, material and decoration, if any.

      In other words, as archaeology develops, it is doing much more with far less. It is also, alas, producing far too much in every sense. There are ever-growing numbers of archaeologists all over the world, competing for positions, and all trying to produce information or new data.

      Huge numbers of conferences and symposia are being held, most of which eventually have their proceedings published in book form. Nobody can hope to keep up with all the literature on a single period or region or speciality, let alone on the archaeology of a continent, and still less of the whole world. Things were very different before the War. Of course, there was a lot less archaeology to learn and read 13 The Origins and Development of Archaeology thermoluminescence see p.

      In Egypt, for example, archaeologists have even taken to reburying objects in the knowledge that they will survive better and longer, for future generations to look at, if entrusted to mother earth rather than to museum cellars or warehouses. Things are so bad that Naples Museum had to shut its doors recently because thousands of coins and other objects were disappearing from its storerooms where Archaeology less than half the stock is catalogued.

      There is clearly much to do, if archaeology is to put its supremely untidy and overstuffed house in order Archaeology as a Separate Subject Since the renewed optimism of the s p. Anthropology simply means the study of humanity; in Britain it is divided into social or cultural anthropology, which analyses human culture and society; and physical or biological anthropology, which studies human physical characteristics and how they have evolved. History apart from oral history only begins with the introduction of written records around bc in western Asia and much later in most parts of the world.

      And even for the historical periods, information derived from archaeological data is still an invaluable complement to what is known from texts — and in any case it is often the archaeologist who unearths the documents and inscriptions One fundamental difference, of course, between anthropology and archaeology is that anthropologists, by and large, have an easy time of it, able to observe behaviour and interview informants because anthropology happens in the present.

      This kind of facile observation, however, merely invites a loud raspberry. It is almost the difference between chatting to a bright, sharp youth on the one hand, and a corpse on the other! Another corollary of this difference is that whereas anthropologists can see how their subjects behave and ask for explanations, archaeologists have to reconstruct behaviour.

      Exactly the same kind of assumptions have to be made about the animals and plants they exploited: i. So how do archaeologists get dates? Until fairly recently, there were only two ways of establishing a chronology — relative dating which does not mean going out with your cousin and historical dating. Relative dating simply involves placing things — objects, deposits, events, cultures — into a sequence, some being younger, others older. Historical dates came from periods from which there is written evidence, such as medieval or Roman times.

      For prehistory, only relative dating was available, so — although one could tell that the Bronze Age preceded the Iron Age, and the Stone Age was earlier than the Bronze, one had no idea by how much. The basic reasoning behind relative dating came from stratigraphy, the study of how layers or deposits occur one above the other. And the same applies to objects found within these layers unless there has been some disturbance, for example by burrowing animals or grave-digging, rubbish pits or erosion and redeposition.

      So measuring these elements will indicate if a group of bones are contemporaneous or of different periods.

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      Chemical dating showed that the skull was recent, and the jaw was from a modern orang-utan. Debate still rages endlessly and quite tediously about who was or were responsible for this prank. In any case, generations of archaeologists — most notably those from Germanic countries — devoted their lives to establishing detailed sequences of pot, tool, and weapon forms, and then trying to connect the sequences from different regions. Pollen from deposits also produces sequences of climatic and vegetational change, but these tend to be fairly localized.

      Until this century, the only dates available were those obtained from archaeological connections with the chronologies and calendars established by ancient peoples, and these are still of huge importance today.