In this fascinating book, Rudgley describes how the intrepid explorers of the Stone Age discovered all of the world's major land masses long before the so-called Age of Discovery. Stone Age man made precisely sized tools, and used proto-abacuses to count and measure. He performed medical operations including amputations and delicate cranial surgeries. Neanderthals not only domesticated fire for heat and light, but experimented with lichen and moss fuels. In the visual arts, the Paleolithic cave artists of western Europe used techniques forgotten until the Renaissance. Picasso himself is said to have remarked after visiting Lascaux, "We have invented nothing!"
If prehistory makes up 95 percent of our time on the planet, then it stands to reason that early Homo Sapiens would have slowly developed the building blocks of culture and civilization. But the astonishing richness of Stone Age life is in fact a sudden eruption, so powerful that it forces us to wonder whether we have made real progress since then. Rudgley reminds us just how savage so-called civilized peoples can be, and shows us how civilized the cultures were that have been reviled as savage. Prehistoric life expectancy was better than it is for contemporary third-world populations. Care for the sick and weak was a feature of archaic societies. Warfare seems to have been less prevalent in prehistoric days than in our own. The Lost Civilizations of the Stone Age shows the greatness of the debt that contemporary society owes to its prehistoric predecessors. It is a rich introduction to a lost world that will redefine the meaning of civilization itself....Continua