A Cosmos in Stone: Interpreting Religion and Society Through Rock Art

Paperback | April 9, 2002

byDavid J. Lewis-williams

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J. David Lewis-Williams is world renowned for his work on the rock art of Southern Africa. In this volume, Lewis-Williams describes the key steps in his evolving journey to understand these images painted on stone. He describes the development of technical methods of interpreting rock paintings of the 1970s, shows how a growing understanding of San mythology, cosmology, and ethnography helped decode the complex paintings, and traces the development of neuropsychological models for understanding the relationship between belief systems and rock art. The author then applies his theories to the famous rock paintings of prehistoric Western Europe in an attempt to develop a comprehensive theory of rock art. For students of rock art, archaeology, ethnography, comparative religion, and art history, Lewis-Williams' book will be a provocative read and an important reference.

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J. David Lewis-Williams is world renowned for his work on the rock art of Southern Africa. In this volume, Lewis-Williams describes the key steps in his evolving journey to understand these images painted on stone. He describes the development of technical methods of interpreting rock paintings of the 1970s, shows how a growing underst...

J. David Lewis-Williams is Director of the Rock Art Research Institute at University of Witwatersrand, South Africa, and is known internationally for his studies of South African rock art.

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Format:PaperbackPublished:April 9, 2002Publisher:AltaMira PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0759101965

ISBN - 13:9780759101968

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Table of Contents

Part 0 Foreword by David S. Whitley Part 2 Acknowledgments Chapter 3 Introduction Chapter 4 Chapter 1 Historical setting Chapter 5 Chapter 2 Man must measure Chapter 6 Chapter 3 Ethnography and iconography Chapter 7 Chapter 4 Mystery wrapped in myth Chapter 8 Chapter 5 Through the veil Chapter 9 Chapter 6 A dream of eland Chapter 10 Chapter 7 Seeing and construing Chapter 11 Chapter 8 Building bridges Chapter 12 Chapter 9 Harnessing the brain Chapter 13 Chapter 10 Agency, altered consciousness and wounded men Chapter 14 Chapter 11 The social production and consumption of rock art Part 15 References Part 16 Index Part 17 About the Author

Editorial Reviews

This volume is a compilation of David Lewis-Williams' seminal papers. Though his data are primarily the rock art of the San (bushmen) of southern Africa and the cave art of the European Paleolithic, this book equally is about archaeological method and especially theory. Even more, it represents an intellectual achievement of the greatest historical importance. In these papers Lewis-Williams bridges the longest-lived divide in our western intellectual tradition, the opposition between science, religion and art, showing how science is necessary to understand art and religion, and how any apprehension of human social life likewise must foreground the importance of religion and art.