The Ancient Mind: Elements of Cognitive Archaeology / Edition 1

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One of the most troubling problems in archaeology is to determine the manner and content of prehistoric thought. A fundamental challenge is to develop the theory, methodology and tools to understand human cognition. Cognitive archaeology as a subject is still in its infancy, and archaeologists are adopting a variety of approaches--literary, linguistic, and scientific. The contributors to The Ancient Mind develop a new direction in prehistoric cognitive research that is rooted in the scientific tradition and in an empirical methodology. Together, they begin to develop a science of cognitive archaeology.

"Collection of articles seeks to define a scientific approach to prehistoric cognition. In an important paper, Marcus and Flannery look at the evolution of Zapotec religion and ritual and the transformation of Monte Albâan and the Zapotec state"--Handbook of Latin American Studies, v. 57.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
" important reference work for any library that attempts to stay abreast of current developments in archaeology." Dennis E. Smith, Religious Studies Review
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521456203
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/2004
  • Series: New Directions in Archaeology Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 212
  • Product dimensions: 7.44 (w) x 9.69 (h) x 0.43 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword; Part I. Introduction: 1. Towards a cognitive archaeology; Part II. The Interdisciplinary Underpinning: 2. Interpretations and testability in theories about prehistoric thinking; 3. Archaeology and cognitive science; 4. From mental modularity to generalized intelligence: a cognitive interpretation of the Middle/Upper Paleolithic transition; 5. Are images animated? The psychology of images in Ancient Greece; Part III. Approaches to Cult Practice and Transcendental Belief Systems: 6. The archaeology of religion; 7. Ancient Zapotec ritual and religion: an application of the direct historical approach; 8. The meaning of death; 9. Prehistoric cognition and the science of archaeology; Part IV. Prehistoric Conceptions of Space and Time: 10. Symbols and signposts: understanding the prehistoric petroglyphs of the British Isles; 11. Knowledge representation and archaeology: a cognitive example using GIS; 12 Dials: a study in the physical representation of cognitive systems; Part V. The Material Basis of Cognitive Inference: Technology: 13. Cognitive aspects of 'technique'; 14. Mindful technology: unleashing the Chaîne Opératoire for an archaeology of mind; 15. Prehistoric technology: a cognitive science?; Part VI. The Material Basis of Cognitive Inference: Writing Systems; 16. Variation and change in symbol systems: case studies in Elamite Cuneiform; 17. Figure and text in Mesopotamia: match and mismatch; Part VII. Conclusion: 18. Cognitive archaeology reconsidered.
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