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The importance of conveyIng visual Information in Acheulean society. The background to the visual display hypothesis

The importance of conveyIng visual Information in Acheulean society. The background to the visual display hypothesis
The importance of conveyIng visual Information in Acheulean society. The background to the visual display hypothesis
This paper is intended to provoke discussion. It is based on asking two simple questions, both of which are inter-related. The first is: what would it be like to live in an Acheulean social group? The second is: how would Acheulean flint knappers learn their craft in an Acheulean social group? The premise is as follows. In a hominin species which does not possess the linguistic capability of a modern human (in terms of the physical ability to produce speech as we understand it), or the cognitive capability to imbue speech with abstract meaning (i.e. the capacity for symbolic understanding that we can achieve), information exchange must be primarily visual. Information and knowledge designed to change the mental and behavioural state of another individual will have to be generated, disseminated, and understood through visual acts. Comparisons with the natural world suggest that display behaviour may be a key factor in this. This paper does not discuss what is being displayed and how. Instead it looks at the underlying mechanisms that could have contributed to focusing and enhancing individual perception of visual stimuli.
2041-403X
1-23
Archaeopress
McNabb, John
59e818b1-3196-4991-93eb-75ed9c898e71
Cole, James
Ruebens, Karen
McNabb, John
59e818b1-3196-4991-93eb-75ed9c898e71
Cole, James
Ruebens, Karen

McNabb, John (2012) The importance of conveyIng visual Information in Acheulean society. The background to the visual display hypothesis. In, Cole, James and Ruebens, Karen (eds.) Human Origins. Volume 1. (Papers from the British Academy. Lucy to Language: Archaeology of the Social Brain. Seminar Series on Palaeolithic Visual Display) Oxford, GB. Archaeopress, pp. 1-23.

Record type: Book Section

Abstract

This paper is intended to provoke discussion. It is based on asking two simple questions, both of which are inter-related. The first is: what would it be like to live in an Acheulean social group? The second is: how would Acheulean flint knappers learn their craft in an Acheulean social group? The premise is as follows. In a hominin species which does not possess the linguistic capability of a modern human (in terms of the physical ability to produce speech as we understand it), or the cognitive capability to imbue speech with abstract meaning (i.e. the capacity for symbolic understanding that we can achieve), information exchange must be primarily visual. Information and knowledge designed to change the mental and behavioural state of another individual will have to be generated, disseminated, and understood through visual acts. Comparisons with the natural world suggest that display behaviour may be a key factor in this. This paper does not discuss what is being displayed and how. Instead it looks at the underlying mechanisms that could have contributed to focusing and enhancing individual perception of visual stimuli.

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Published date: 2012
Organisations: Archaeology

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Local EPrints ID: 353808
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/353808
ISSN: 2041-403X
PURE UUID: 4e4698cd-33d5-4d61-acac-7ab325c76b5a

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Date deposited: 05 Jun 2014 15:31
Last modified: 07 Jul 2020 16:53

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Contributors

Author: John McNabb
Editor: James Cole
Editor: Karen Ruebens

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