The Dawn of Belief: Religion in the Upper Paleolithic of Southwestern Europe
Hunter-gatherers of the Upper Paleolithic period of the late Pleistocene epoch in western Europe left a legacy of cave paintings and material remains that have long fascinated modern man. This book draws on theories derived from cultural anthropology and cognitive archaeology to propose a reconstruction of the religious life of those people based on the patterning and provenience of their artifacts.
Based on the premises that all members of Homo sapiens sapiens share basically similar psychological processes and capabilities and that human culture is patterned, the author uses ethnographic analogy, inference from material patterns, and formal analysis to find in prehistoric imagery clues to the cosmology that lay behind them. The resulting book is an intriguing speculation on the nature of paleolithic religion, offering scholars a valuable synthesis of anthropological, archaeological, and sociological research, and general readers an accessible account of how our forebears may have regarded the unknown.
"A well-written and intellectually rigorous introduction. If you are curious about prehistory, you will enjoy it." —Wilson Library Bulletin
"Most interesting to those scholars interested in seeking materialist foundations or ecological explanations for religious practices." —American Antiquity
"A well-written and concise account of what has recently been achieved by the investigations of spiritual life of the Earth's most ancient human communities." —Archiv Orientalni (Czechoslovakia)
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animals antler appear archaeological archaeologist artifacts artists assemblages Aurignacian auroch Azilian behavior Binford bison bone Breuil burials burin Cantabrian carved cave art central ceremonial changes characterized Chatelperronian Christian complex Conkey context cults cultural decoration developed Dordogne engraved environment ethnographic European evidence example female figure figurines fish food collectors France groups hominid Homo erectus Homo sapiens sapiens horse human hunter-gatherers hunters hunting and gathering images individuals interpretation Jochim Kung San Lascaux late Pleistocene Leroi-Gourhan lithic Lommel Lower Paleolithic Magdalenian Marshack material Middle Paleolithic Middle Paleolithic period mobiliary art modern mortuary Mousterian nature Neanderthal notation ochre Oldowan painted parietal art patterns Perigordian phases Pleistocene epoch population practice prehistory Pyrenees region reindeer religion religious remains rites ritual salmon scholars seasonal shaman social societies sociocultural systems Solutrean Sonneville-Bordes southwestern Europe Spain species stone subsistence systems suggests symbols tion Tlingit tradition Upper Paleo Upper Paleolithic art Upper Paleolithic period Venus figurines