Pettitt's book surrounds the time period of greatest interest with some literature reviews having to do with the philosophy, sociology, and palaeopsychology of mortuary practices, the scarce fossil record prior to what we call the Middle Palaeolithic, and the times since people like you and me entered Europe about 40 kyr ago. But the core of his book reads like a personal crusade to denigrate yours truly's life's work. More importantly, in the chapter titled 'The Neanderthals' he goes to town on my critique of Neanderthal burial, mentioning (and dismissing my published work) on pretty much every other page of the 80 or so page-long portion.
Yet, mysteriously, although he deals with the anatomically modern but behaviorally Middle Palaeolithic hominids from Qafzeh, he is silent on my 1999 take-down. Is it possible he never read it? I'd have to say that's a safe bet, given what he's written. What's even stranger is that at every opportunity he refers to what I've published as 'literature-based.' And his book is... what? Experience based? I hardly think so.
I'll have more to say in the coming weeks, because Pettitt's petty BS deserves nothing other than a full exposition. In the meantime. I'm gonna go cool down with some of my famously cheap California chardonnay and hope that by watching old British cop shows I can climb down from the smouldering contempt I'm feeling just now.
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