Abstract: Tracing the Origins of Art
The urge towards creativity and self-expression is a fundamental element of being human. This lecture explores the emergence of creative expression in the archaeological record. The topics covered will include the earliest known symbolic artifacts from sites in southern Africa and the explosion in symbolic artifacts found at the outset of the European Upper Paleolithic. The lecturer’s research at the site of Wonderwerk Cave, South Africa provides an opportunity to consider the deepest roots of the artistic impulse. The wealth of recent archaeological discoveries provides an opportunity to consider human origins from a new perspective, and also raises intriguing questions about the nature of artistic expression.
Short bibliography and/or website on lecture topic:
Chazan, M. and Horwitz, L.K. 2010. Milestones in the development of symbolic behaviour: A case study from Wonderwerk Cave, South Africa. World Archaeology.41(4): 521-539.
White, R. 2003. Prehistoric Art: The Symbolic Journey of Humankind. New York: Abrams.
Chauvet Cave: http://www.culture.gouv.fr/culture/arcnat/chauvet/en/