What is the Turin Shroud? When were the Pyramids built? Where are the branches on the human family tree? Why did the dinosaurs die out? How did the Earth take shape?
With questions like these, I show time is of the essence. Understanding how we pinpoint the past is crucial to putting the present in perspective and planning for the future.
In eleven chapters, each focusing on a well-known dating controversy (from the existence of King Arthur to the last Ice Age), I reveal the leg work behind the headlines. Bones, Rocks and Stars explains how written records, carbon, pollen, tree rings, constellations, and DNA sequencing can help archaeologists, paleontologists and geologists to 'tell the time'.
'In the tradition of Malcolm Gladwell, geologist Turney provides an absorbing look into the ways humans reckon time both in their daily lives and in their view of the past...Absorbing – will appeal to a wide audience, particularly those who got a kick out of Blink or Freakonomics.'
'If you like detective stories, you'll love this book. It should satisfy the hungriest of infovores.'
'What I like best about the book: It's a scientist clearly explaining what he does for a living, and why it is important, at a level that any literate person can understand. Not an easy accomplishment.'
'A fabulous, entertainingly written account of the amazing science behind calendars, dates and dating objects. Essential reading for anyone interested in prehistory.'
Professor Tim Flannery, author of The Weather Makers
'A rollicking run through the story of telling the time - lively and well-researched, with many fascinating stories.'
Professor Michael Benton, author of When Life Nearly Died
'5/5: a book that tackles [these] issues is welcome indeed – that it succeeds so brilliantly is a wonderful surprise.'
BBC Focus Magazine
'This delightful introduction successfully fuses history, prehistory and earth science. It captures the imagination from its first page, and then takes the reader on a fun and fact-filled world tour through the past.'
Professor Tim White, University of California, Berkeley
'A fascinating guide to the measurement of time.'
'The value of Chris Turney's Bones, Rocks and Stars: The Science of When Things Happened is that it provides a concise, simple, readable introduction to the full range of dating techniques...Altogether a very useful little book.'
Bones, Rocks and Stars: The Science of When Things Happened