Deciphering Ancient Minds: The Mystery of San Bushman Rock Art (Hardback)
  • Deciphering Ancient Minds: The Mystery of San Bushman Rock Art (Hardback)
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Deciphering Ancient Minds: The Mystery of San Bushman Rock Art (Hardback)

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£19.95
Hardback 224 Pages / Published: 09/05/2011
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How did prehistoric peoples - those living before written records - think? Were their modes of thought fundamentally different from ours today? Researchers over the years have certainly believed so. Along with the Aborigines of Australia, the indigenous San people of southern Africa - among the last hunter-gatherer societies on Earth - became iconic representatives of all our distant ancestors, and were viewed either as irrational fantasists or childlike, highly spiritual conservationists. Since the 1960s, a new wave of research among the San and their world-famous rock art has overturned these misconceived ideas. Here, the great authority David Lewis-Williams and his colleague Sam Challis reveal how analysis of the rock paintings and engravings can be made to yield vital insights into San beliefs and ways of thought. The picture that emerges is very different from past analysis: this art is not a naive narrative of daily life but rather is imbued with power and religious depth. As this elegantly written, enlightening book so ably demonstrates, the 'prehistoric' mind was in fact as complex and sophisticated as that of contemporary humans.

Publisher: Thames & Hudson Ltd
ISBN: 9780500051696
Number of pages: 224
Weight: 760 g
Dimensions: 234 x 156 x 28 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
'A marvellous book: scholarly, but wonderfully readable too' - Alan Barnard, University of Edinburgh
'Lewis-Williams and Challis's writing is direct and clear ... their scientific analysis is illuminated by sympathetic intuition' - Independent
'A fascinating book about a fascinating topic' - The Contemporary Review
'An elegantly written work ... a fascinating volume' - The Historical Association
'Fascinating, readable and beautifully illustrated' - British Museum Magazine
'An outstanding introduction to Bushman rock art and powerful testimony to the sophistication of its makers' - Peter Mitchell, University of Oxford
'[This book] reveals the extraordinary complexity of San imagination and the harsh but beautiful landscapes they inhabited. Weaving together a lifetime's study of paintings made by the San with accounts of their lives left by early European explorers and anthropologists, Deciphering Ancient Minds is a tour de force' - Graeme Barker, University of Cambridge

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