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Distributed for Karolinum Press, Charles University

The Genesis of Creativity and the Origin of the Human Mind

What is it about human beings that makes us creative, able to imagine and enact new possibilities for life and new solutions to problems in a way that no other animal can? The authors included in The Genesis of Creativity and the Origin of the Human Mind explore this question, in essays and studies from a range of specializations and backgrounds. Experts on culture, art, and evolution come together to describe, analyse, and interpret the origins of artistic creativity and the anatomical and neurological structures that contribute to it. Essays focus on the origins of art in the Upper Palaeolithic as well as on manifestations of artistic creativity in pre-literary societies and tribal cultures that have been preserved to the present day. The interdisciplinary approach to the topic accentuates the wide array of possible methodologies and interpretations of artistic manifestations under particular historic and cultural contexts.

350 pages | 160 color plates | 6 3/4 x 9 1/5 | © 2015

Anthropology: Cultural and Social Anthropology

Art: Art--General Studies


“Quite readable and accessible to general-interest readers. Overall, the book offers a great deal of information to readers interested in archaeology, human evolution, prehistoric cave art, open-air rock art, ethnology, evolution of human culture, and the early development of human creativity and imagination.”

Danny A. Brass | Underground Movement

Table of Contents



Human, Symbols and Culture

From Animal to Humans: Anthropogenesis as a Subject of Scientific Research
(Václav Soukup)

Symbolic Thought, Creativity, and Human Evolution
(Ian Tattersall)

Hominin Mind and Creativity
(Robert Bednarík)

Proto-art and Art: Art before Art
(Barbora Putová)

Symbolic Material Culture in the Late Pleistocene: Use in Prehistory, Appearance in the Archaeological Record and Taphonomy
(Michelle C. Langley)

Mindreading and Symbolism in Human Evolution: The Upper Paleolithic Period
(Winfried Henke)

The Origin of Culture by Means of Natural and Artefactual Languages
(Kate Distin)

In the Beginning was Art...
(Walter Leitner)

Towards Abstraction during the Palaeolithic
(Christine Desdemaines-Hugon)

The Genesis of Human Creativity and Art
(Jean Clottes)

Evolution, Art and Culture

The Start of Art
(Harald Floss)

Thoughts on Ice Age Art
(Ingmar M. Braun)

Artistic Techniques in the Upper Paleolithic Age
(Barbora Putová, Václav Soukup)

The Seven Wonders of Prehistoric Culture: Western Europe
(Barbora Putová, Václav Soukup)

The Seven Wonders of Prehistoric Culture: Central Europe
(Barbora Putová, Václav Soukup)

The Seven Wonders of Prehistoric Culture: Eastern Europe
(Barbora Putová, Václav Soukup)

At the Beginning: Rock Art in Southwest Europe
(Hipólito Collado Giraldo)

A Comparative Perspective on the Femaleness of Paleolithic Figurines
(Richard Lesure)

Mind, Creativity, and Culture

Genesis and Patterns of Prehistoric Art
(Emmanuel Anati, Ariela Fradkin Anati)

The Origins of Artistic Genius and the Archaeology of Emotional Difference
(Dave Whitley, Carmen M.T. Whitley)

The Emergence of Visual Narrative in Prehistory
(Esther Jacobson-Tepfer)

Art, Rock Art and Climate Change
(Thomas Heyd, Tilman Lenssen-Erz)

Art in the Light of Darkness
(Tilman Lenssen-Erz)

Elemental Marking and the Emergence of Mind
(Jack Steinbrick)

Revolution of Symbols, Cognition, and the Neolithic Revolution
(Augustin F.C. Holl)

Experiments with Replicas of Neolithic Sickles
(Miroslav Popelka)

Selected Bibliography

List of Illustration

Index of Locations

Index of Names

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