Human Beginnings

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Professor Mindy McAdams's presentation about Ice Age art and communications

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  • Mindy McAdams, University of Florida
  • Human Beginnings

    1. 1. Human Beginnings Week 2, Tuesday MMC 2265
    2. 2. Chauvet grotto, France, c. 30,000 B.C.E.
    3. 3. The last Ice Age ended about 10,000 years ago. Modern humans began to paint the interior of caves in France and Spain about 30,000 years ago. Stag, Lascaux cave
    4. 4. Lascaux cave, France, c. 20,000-15,000 B.C.E.
    5. 5. Cosquer cave, France, c. 20,000 B.C.E.
    6. 6. Lascaux cave, France, c. 20,000-15,000 B.C.E.
    7. 7. Major sites of cave art in Western Europe
    8. 8. Pech-Merle, France c. 14,500 B.C.E.
    9. 9. Hand prints from 27,000 years ago
    10. 10. One of very, very few depictions of a man. Lascaux cave, France, c. 20,000-15,000 B.C.E.
    11. 11. Who and When <ul><li>Modern humans (Cro-Magnon) appeared in Western Europe about 35,000 years ago </li></ul><ul><li>These people painted images on cave walls, carved objects in the form of animals, and marked notations on bone, antlers, tusks and stone </li></ul>
    12. 12. The Tata plaque <ul><li>Presumably carved by a Neanderthal </li></ul><ul><li>Found in what is now Hungary </li></ul><ul><li>Dated to about 45,000 years ago </li></ul><ul><li>Not a tool </li></ul><ul><li>Not a weapon </li></ul><ul><li>Intentionally carved </li></ul><ul><li>Painted with red ochre </li></ul>
    13. 13. The Vogelherd horse <ul><li>Also intentionally carved (ivory) </li></ul><ul><li>About 10,000 years after the Tata plaque </li></ul><ul><li>Predates European cave paintings by about 10,000 to 15,000 years </li></ul>
    14. 14. Intentionality vs. doodling <ul><li>Are the cave paintings at Lascaux, Chauvet and Altamira accidental? </li></ul><ul><li>Babies babble -- but babbling leads to speech only within a culture that speaks </li></ul><ul><li>Artifacts that have meaning </li></ul><ul><li>Artifacts that are used deliberately, with intention </li></ul><ul><li>“ At the proper time and in the proper way” </li></ul>
    15. 15. Carved wooly mammoth, about 2.5 in. long. Vogelherd, Germany, c. 30,000 B.C.E.
    16. 16. Signs and Symbols <ul><li>Notations on bone, antler and ivory </li></ul><ul><li>Maybe calendars? </li></ul><ul><li>Tracking the gestation period of a horse or the phases of the moon; seasons, migrations, plant life cycles? </li></ul><ul><li>Combining different types of markings </li></ul><ul><li>These human societies are becoming more complex </li></ul>
    17. 17. Female Images <ul><li>Their use and meaning? We don’t know </li></ul><ul><li>Figures found in France, Italy, Austria, Czechoslovakia and Ukraine </li></ul><ul><li>Like the cave paintings, many </li></ul><ul><li>of these date from 20,000 </li></ul><ul><li>years ago </li></ul><ul><li>They were not made after the </li></ul><ul><li>Ice Age ended, apparently </li></ul>
    18. 18. The “Venus of Willendorf” stands about 4.5 in. tall. At first thought to be the same age as the cave paintings at Lascaux, this statuette is much older – about 24,000-22,000 B.C.E. Found on a cliff terrace above the Danube River in Austria.
    19. 19. Pre-history: No history <ul><li>Without writing, a society leaves no stories behind for us to decipher </li></ul><ul><li>The meaning of the marks made on objects is unknown to us </li></ul><ul><li>The meaning of the cave paintings: Also unknown </li></ul><ul><li>What do we learn from them? </li></ul>
    20. 20. Human Beginnings Presentation by Mindy McAdams University of Florida

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