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Becoming Human

Details

  • 49 b/w illus. 24 colour illus.
  • Page extent: 324 pages
  • Size: 253 x 177 mm
  • Weight: 0.8 kg

Paperback

 (ISBN-13: 9780521734660)

The Upper Palaeolithic era of Europe has left an abundance of evidence for symbolic activities, such as direct representations of animals and other features of the natural world, personal adornments, and elaborate burials, as well as other vestiges that are more abstract and cryptic. These behaviours are also exhibited by populations throughout the world, from the prehistoric period through to the present day. How can we interpret these activities? What do they tell us about the beliefs and priorities of the people who carried them out? How do these behaviours relate to ideologies, cosmology, and understanding of the world? What can they tell us about the emergence of ritual and religious thought? And how do the activities of humans in prehistoric Europe compare with those of their predecessors there and elsewhere? In this volume, fifteen internationally renowned scholars contribute essays that explore the relationship between symbolism, spirituality, and humanity in the prehistoric societies of Europe and traditional societies elsewhere. The volume is richly illustrated with 50 halftones and 24 colour plates.

• Looks afresh at the early origins of art, religion, and social interaction • Written by some of the world's leading experts • Richly illustrated with 74 figures including 24 in colour

Contents

1. Introduction Colin Renfrew; 2. Prologue: the emergence of symbolic thought: the principal steps of hominisation leading towards greater complexity Henry de Lumley; Part I. African Origins, European Beginnings and World Prehistory: 3. The origins of symbolism, spirituality & shamans? Exploring Middle Stone Age material culture in South Africa Christopher Henshilwood; 4. Neanderthal symbolic behaviour? Jane Renfrew; 5. Identifying ancient religious thought and iconography: problems of definition, preservation and interpretation Paul Taçon; 6. Situating the creative explosion: universal or local? Colin Renfrew; Part II. Approaches to 'Art and Religion': 7. The roots of art and religion in ancient material culture Merlin Donald; 8. The archaeology of early religious practices: a plea for a hypothesis-testing approach Francesco d'Errico; 9. Out of the mind: material culture and the supernatural Steven Mithen; 10. Of people and pictures: the nexus of Upper Palaeolithic religion, social discrimination and art David Lewis-Williams; 11. Music and ritual - parallels and practice, and the Upper Palaeolithic Iain Morley; Part III. The European Experience: 12. Materiality and meaning-making in the understanding of the Palaeolithic 'arts' Margaret Conkey; 13. Sticking bones into cracks in the Upper Palaeolithic Jean Clottes; 14. Cognition and climate: why is Upper Palaeolithic cave art almost confined to the Franco-Cantabrian region? Paul Mellars; Part IV. Reflections on the Origins of Spirituality: 15. Interdisciplinary perspectives on human origins and religious awareness Wentzel Van Huyssteen; 16. Innovation in material and spiritual culture: exploring conjectured relationships Keith Ward.

Review

'This … book contains very useful and often stimulating reviews of the essential new(ish) archaeology and ideas, written and edited with authority and clarity.' British Archaeology

Contributors

Jean Clottes, Margaret Conkey, Francesco d'Errico, Merlin Donald, Christopher Henshilwood, David Lewis-Williams, Henry de Lumley, Paul Mellars, Steven Mithen, Iain Morley, Colin Renfew, Jane Renfrew, Paul Taçon, Wentzel Van Huyssteen, Keith Ward

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