We live in a world surrounded by remarkable cultural achievements of human kind. Almost every day we hear of new innovations in technology, in medicine and in the arts which remind us that humans are capable of remarkable creativity. But what is human creativity? The modern world provides a tiny fraction of cultural diversity and the evidence for human creativity, far more can be seen by looking back into prehistory. The book examines how our understanding of human creativity can be extended by exploring this phenomenon during human evolution and prehistory. The book offers unique perspectives on the nature of human creativity from archaeologists who are concerned with long term patterns of cultural change and have access to quite different types of human behaviour than that which exists today. It asks whether humans are the only creative species, or whether our extinct relatives such as Homo habilis and the Neanderthals also displayed creative thinking. It explores what we can learn about the nature of human creativity from cultural developments during prehistory, such as changes in the manner in which the dead were buried, monuments constructed, and the natural world exploited. In doing so, new light is thrown on these cultural developments and the behaviour of our prehistoric ancestors. By examining the nature of creativity during human evolution and prehistory these archaeologists, supported by contributions from psychology, computer science and social anthropology, show that human creativity is a far more diverse and complex phenomena than simply flashes of genius by isolated individuals. Indeed they show that unless perspectives from prehistory are taken into account, our understanding of human creativity will be limited and incomplete.
Climate change is today’s news, but it isn’t a new phenomenon. Centuries-long cycles of heating and cooling are well documented for Europe and the North Atlantic. These variations in climate, including the Medieval Warm Period (MWP), AD 900 to 1300, and the early centuries of the Little Ice Age (LIA), AD 1300 to 1600, had a substantial impact on the cultural history of Europe. In this pathfinding volume, William C. Foster marshals extensive evidence that the heating and cooling of the MWP and LIA also occurred in North America and significantly affected the cultural history of Native peoples of the American Southwest, Southern Plains, and Southeast. Correlating climate change data with studies of archaeological sites across the Southwest, Southern Plains, and Southeast, Foster presents the first comprehensive overview of how Native American societies responded to climate variations over seven centuries. He describes how, as in Europe, the MWP ushered in a cultural renaissance, during which population levels surged and Native peoples substantially intensified agriculture, constructed monumental architecture, and produced sophisticated works of art. Foster follows the rise of three dominant cultural centers—Chaco Canyon in New Mexico, Cahokia on the middle Mississippi River, and Casas Grandes in northwestern Chihuahua, Mexico—that reached population levels comparable to those of London and Paris. Then he shows how the LIA reversed the gains of the MWP as population levels and agricultural production sharply declined; Chaco Canyon, Cahokia, and Casas Grandes collapsed; and dozens of smaller villages also collapsed or became fortresses.
Among the most intriguing questions of neurology is how conceptions of good and evil arise in the human brain. In a world where we encounter god-like forces in nature, and try to transcend them, the development of a neural network dramatizing good against evil seems inevitable. This critical book explores the cosmic dimensions of the brain’s inner theatre as revealed by neurology, cognitive science, evolutionary psychology, psychoanalysis, primatology and exemplary Western performances. In theatre, film, and television, supernatural figures express the brain’s anatomical features as humans transform their natural environment into cosmic and theological spaces in order to grapple with their vulnerability in the world.
divergent evolution of the Zapotec and Mixtec civilizations
Author: Kent V. Flannery
Publisher: Percheron Pr
A case study in the divergent evolution of Mexico's Zapotec and Mixtec civilizations, this collection has become a basic resource in the literature of Mesoamerican prehistory and has been widely cited by scholars working on divergent evolution in other parts of the world. Originally published by Academic Press in 1983, a new introduction by the editors updates the volume in terms of discoveries made during the subsequent two decades.