Inside the Neolithic Mind: Consciousness, Cosmos and the Realm of the Gods

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Overview

An exploration of how brain structure and cultural content interacted in the Neolithic period 10,000 years ago to produce unique life patterns and belief systems.
What do the headless figures found in the famous paintings at ?atalh?y?k in Turkey have in common with the interlinked spirals carved on the monumental tombs at Newgrange and Knowth in Ireland? How can the concepts of ?birth,? ?death,? and ?wild? cast light on the changes in relationships between people and animals? ...

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Inside the Neolithic Mind: Consciousness, Cosmos, and the Realm of the Gods

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Overview

An exploration of how brain structure and cultural content interacted in the Neolithic period 10,000 years ago to produce unique life patterns and belief systems.
What do the headless figures found in the famous paintings at Çatalhöyük in Turkey have in common with the interlinked spirals carved on the monumental tombs at Newgrange and Knowth in Ireland? How can the concepts of “birth,” “death,” and “wild” cast light on the changes in relationships between people and animals? David Lewis-Williams and David Pearce examine the intricate web of belief, myth, and society in the Neolithic period, arguably the most significant turning point in human history, when agriculture became a way of life and the fractious society that we know today was born.
The authors focus on two contrasting times and places: the beginnings in the Near East, with its cult buildings and skull burials, and western Europe, with its massive stone monuments. They argue that neurological patterns hardwired into the brain help explain the nature of the art, religion, and society that Neolithic people produced. Drawing on the latest research, the authors skillfully link material on human consciousness, imagery, and belief systems to propose provocative new theories about religious motivation in ancient times.

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Editorial Reviews

Archaeology
“Features superb writing, lavishly illustrated descriptions . . . and a powerfully evocative stone-by-stone tour of the megalithic tombs. . . . Lewis-Williams and Pearce can be assured that their foray into the Neolithic mind will not be ignored.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780500288276
  • Publisher: Thames & Hudson
  • Publication date: 11/30/2009
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 976,968
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

David Lewis-Williams is Professor Emeritus and Senior Mentor at the Rock Art Research Institute, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. He is the author of The Mind in the Cave, Conceiving God, Inside the Neolithic Mind, and Deciphering Ancient Minds.

David Pearce is a research officer at the Rock Art Research Institute.

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 28, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Fascinating analysis but is the conclusion wrong?

    Pearce has written a very compelling work arguing that certain common threads in the Neolithic experience and belief systems from Asia to Europe (and beyond) are, in fact, the result of altered states of consciousness common to all humans.

    However, when I read this, to me the conclusion to be drawn from his evidence is more likely a far different one: cultural diffusion.

    And if that is, in fact, the case, then he's onto something far more substantive and earth-shattering than he apparently realizes...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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