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The social context for European Palaeolithic art

The social context for European Palaeolithic art
The social context for European Palaeolithic art
My aim in this paper is to put the question, ‘Where was the centre of the Upper Palaeolithic world?’. I promise no answers and I will confine the discussion to Europe.

The purpose behind raising such a seemingly irrelevant problem is that its investigation leads us directly into issues of palaeolithic society, the interpretation of art in such contexts and the often opposed views of how art contributed to adaptation and change.

At the outset let me declare that I am not dealing with the origins of art and its association, or not, with language. Art for me is, however, a system of communication and includes a wide range of mediums and messages. As an act of social communication it is defined by style which, as Wiessner (1984, 191) argues, has its behavioural basis in a fundamental human cognitive process; personal and social identification through comparison. Consequently style is not just a means of transmitting information about identity but is an active tool used in building social strategies (ibid. 194). It has a role in negotiation which, as I shall argue below, is the basis for defining palaeolithic society.
0079-497X
3-15
Gamble, Clive
1cbd0b26-ddac-4dc2-9cf7-59c66d06103a
Gamble, Clive
1cbd0b26-ddac-4dc2-9cf7-59c66d06103a

Gamble, Clive (1991) The social context for European Palaeolithic art. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society, 57 (1), 3-15.

Record type: Article

Abstract

My aim in this paper is to put the question, ‘Where was the centre of the Upper Palaeolithic world?’. I promise no answers and I will confine the discussion to Europe.

The purpose behind raising such a seemingly irrelevant problem is that its investigation leads us directly into issues of palaeolithic society, the interpretation of art in such contexts and the often opposed views of how art contributed to adaptation and change.

At the outset let me declare that I am not dealing with the origins of art and its association, or not, with language. Art for me is, however, a system of communication and includes a wide range of mediums and messages. As an act of social communication it is defined by style which, as Wiessner (1984, 191) argues, has its behavioural basis in a fundamental human cognitive process; personal and social identification through comparison. Consequently style is not just a means of transmitting information about identity but is an active tool used in building social strategies (ibid. 194). It has a role in negotiation which, as I shall argue below, is the basis for defining palaeolithic society.

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Published date: January 1991
Organisations: Archaeology

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 391583
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/391583
ISSN: 0079-497X
PURE UUID: 0ebb845e-5100-4cf8-b67b-aedb52fc06d6

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Date deposited: 25 Apr 2016 15:09
Last modified: 10 Aug 2017 16:37

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