By Steppe, Desert, and Ocean: The Birth of Eurasia

Author(s): Barry Cunliffe

Ancient History

We live in a globalized world, but mobility is nothing new. Barry Cunliffe tells the story of how humans first started building the globalized world we know today. Set on a huge continental stage, from Europe to China, it covers over 10,000 years, from the origins of farming around 9000 BC to the expansion of the Mongols in the thirteenth century AD.

An unashamedly "big history" based on the latest archaeological evidence, By Steppe, Desert, and Ocean charts nothing less than the growth of European, Near Eastern, and Chinese civilizations. It is the story of the "connective tissue" through which people, trade, and ideas flowed between these civilizations over the course of ten millennia - the Indian Ocean, the Silk Roads, and the great steppe corridor. Along the way, it is also the chronicle of the rise and fall of empires, the development of maritime trade, and the shattering impact of predatory nomads on their urban neighbors.

Above all, as this immense historical panorama unfolds, we begin to see in clearer focus those basic underlying factors - the acquisitive nature of humanity, the differing environments in which people live, and the dislocating effect of even slight climatic variation - that have driven change throughout the ages and help us better understand our world today.


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Barry Cunliffe taught archaeology in the Universities of Bristol and Southampton and was Professor of European Archaeology at the University of Oxford from 1972 to 2008, thereafter becoming Emeritus Professor. He has excavated widely in Britain (Fishbourne, Bath, Danebury, Hengistbury Head, Brading) and in the Channel Islands, Brittany, and Spain, and has been President of the Council for British Archaeology and of the Society of Antiquaries, Governor of the Museum of London, and a Trustee of the British Museum. He is currently a Commissioner of English Heritage. His many publications include The Ancient Celts (1997), Facing the Ocean (2001), The Druids: A Very Short Introduction (2010), and Britain Begins (2012), all also published by Oxford University Press. He received a knighthood in 2006.

1. The Land and the People ; 2. The Domestication of Eurasia, 10,000-5000 BC ; 3. Horses and Copper: the Centrality of the Steppe, 5000-2500 BC ; 4. The Opening of the Eurasian Steppe, 2500-1600 BC ; 5. Nomads and Empires: The First Confrontations, 1600-6000 BC ; 6. Learning from Each Other: Interaction along the Interface, 600-250 BC ; 7. The Continent Connected, 250 BC-AD 250 ; 8. The Age of Perpetual War, AD 250-650 ; 9. The Beginning of a New World Order, AD 650-840 ; 10. The Disintegration of Empires, AD 840-1150 ; 11. The Steppe Triumphant, AD 1150-1300 ; 12. Looking Backwards, Looking Forwards ; Guide to Further Reading ; Index

General Fields

  • : 9780199689170
  • : Oxford University Press Australia & New Zealand
  • : Oxford University Press Australia & New Zealand
  • : September 2015
  • : 246mm X 189mm
  • : United Kingdom
  • : October 2015
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Barry Cunliffe
  • : Hardback
  • : en
  • : 909
  • : 544
  • : 130 colour halftones; 150 maps; 28 plans