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The Mind in the Cave
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The breathtakingly beautiful art created deep inside the caves of western Europe has the power to dazzle even the most jaded observers. Emerging from the narrow underground passages into the chambers of caves such as Lascaux, Chauvet, and Altamira, visitors are confronted with symbols, patterns, and depictions of bison, woolly mammoths, ibexes, and other animals. Since its discovery, cave art has provoked great curiosity about why it appeared when and where it did, how it was made, and what it meant to the communities that created it. David Lewis-Williams proposes that the explanation for this lies in the evolution of the human mind. Cro-Magnons, unlike the Neanderthals, possessed a more advanced neurological makeup that enabled them to experience shamanistic trances and vivid mental imagery. It became important for people to "fix," or paint, these images on cave walls, which they perceived as the membrane between their world and the spirit world from which the visions came. Over time, new social distinctions developed as individuals exploited their hallucinations for personal advancement, and the first truly modern society emerged. Illuminating glimpses into the ancient mind are skillfully interwoven here with the still-evolving story of modern-day cave discoveries and research. Now in paperback, "The Mind in the Cave is a superb piece of detective work, casting light on the darkest mysteries of our earliest ancestors while strengthening our wonder at their aesthetic achievements.
Product Details

Table of Contents

Preface; Three Time-Bytes; 1. Discovering Human Antiquity; 2. Seeking Answers; 3. Creative Illusion; 4. The Matter of the Mind; 5. Case Study 1: Southern African San Rock Art; 6. Case Study 2: North American Rock Art; 7. An Origin of Image-Making; 8. The Cave in the Mind; 9. Cave and Community; 10. Cave and Conflict

About the Author

David Lewis-Williams is Professor Emeritus and Senior Mentor in the Rock Art Research Institute, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. His other books include Believing and Seeing: Symbolic Meanings in the Southern San Rock Paintings and, with Jean Clottes, The Shamans of Prehistory: Trance and Magic in the Painted Caves.

Reviews

"Combines a lifetime of archaeological research with the most recent insights into the workings of the human brain and the nature of consciousness."

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