Innovation and creativity are two of the key characteristics that distinguish cultural transmission from biological transmission. This book explores a number of questions concerning the nature and timing of the origins of human creativity. What were the driving factors in the development of new technologies? What caused the stasis in stone tool technological innovation in the Early Pleistocene? Were there specific regions and episodes of enhanced technological development, or did it occur at a steady pace where ancestral humans lived? The authors are archaeologists who address these questions, armed with data from ancient artefacts such as shell beads used as jewelry, primitive musical instruments, and sophisticated techniques required to fashion certain kinds of stone into tools.
Providing ‘state of art’ discussions that step back from the usual archaeological publications that focus mainly on individual site discoveries, this book presents the full picture on how and why creativity in Middle to Late Pleistocene archeology/anthropology evolved.
- Gives a full, original and multidisciplinary perspective on how and why creativity evolved in the Middle to Late Pleistocene
- Enhances our understanding of the big leaps forward in creativity at certain times
- Assesses the intellectual creativity of Homo erectus, H. neanderthalensis, and H. sapiens via their artefacts
About the Author
Following his PhD, Scott became a post-doctoral fellow under Prof. Alan Morgan in the Earth Science Department of the University of Waterloo, Ontario. He also spent six months as a visiting scientist at the Geobotanical Institute of the University of Berne, Switzerland, in 1981. Scott returned to the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR), University of Colorado, in 1982, and was a research associate and fellow of the institute during the next 20 years. His research continued to focus on paleoenvironmental reconstructions based on fossil insect assemblages. He has authored six books on paleoecology and natural history of Alaska, the Rocky Mountains, and the arid Southwest. In 2000, Scott accepted a lectureship in the Geography Department of Royal Holloway, University of London. He also has maintained an affiliation with INSTAAR. He is now a Reader in Physical Geography at Royal Holloway.
Table of Contents
Origins of human innovation and creativity: breaking old paradigms, Scott Elias The problem of stasis in stone tool technology during the Early Pleistocene, Clive Gamble North African origins of symbolically mediated behaviour and the Aterian, Francesco D’Errico & Nick Barton Personal ornaments and symbolism among the Neanderthals, Zoão Zilhão Invention, re-invention and innovation: the makings of Oldowan lithic technology, Erella Hovers Emergent patterns of creativity and innovation in early technologies, Steven L. Kuhn Evolutionary ecology of creativity, John Hoffecker Climate, creativity and competition: evaluating the Neanderthal ‘glass ceiling’,William Davies