Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 11
  • Cited by
    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Hadji, Athena 2016. (Dis)entangled bodies or the (be)holder vs. the spectator: Detached views of Early Cycladic figures and figurines. Quaternary International, Vol. 405, p. 31.

    Roberts, Patrick 2016. ‘We have never been behaviourally modern’: The implications of Material Engagement Theory and Metaplasticity for understanding the Late Pleistocene record of human behaviour. Quaternary International, Vol. 405, p. 8.

    Walsh, Anthony and Yun, Ilhong 2016. Evoked Culture and Evoked Nature: The Promise of Gene-Culture Co-Evolution Theory for Sociology. Frontiers in Sociology, Vol. 1,

    Högberg, Anders and Gärdenfors, Peter 2015. Children, Teaching and the Evolution of Humankind. Childhood in the Past, Vol. 8, Issue. 2, p. 113.

    Laughlin, Charles D. 2015. Neuroarchaeology. Time and Mind, Vol. 8, Issue. 4, p. 335.

    Van Niekerk, Caroline and Page-Shipp, Roy 2014. Improving the quality of meetings using music. Total Quality Management & Business Excellence, Vol. 25, Issue. 11-12, p. 1382.

    Högberg, Anders and Larsson, Lars 2011. Lithic technology and behavioural modernity: New results from the Still Bay site, Hollow Rock Shelter, Western Cape Province, South Africa. Journal of Human Evolution, Vol. 61, Issue. 2, p. 133.

    Wilson, Pat H. 2011. Act, Sing, Speak: Voice in the World of Theatre. Voice and Speech Review, Vol. 7, Issue. 1, p. 298.

    Malafouris, Lambros 2010. The brain–artefact interface (BAI): a challenge for archaeology and cultural neuroscience. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, Vol. 5, Issue. 2-3, p. 264.

    Malafouris, Lambros 2009. Cultural Neuroscience: Cultural Influences on Brain Function.

    Mithen, Steven 2009. The Music Instinct. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Vol. 1169, Issue. 1, p. 3.


The Brain as a Cultural Artefact

  • Steven Mithen (a1) and Lawrence Parsons (a2)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 October 2008

Where does biology end and culture begin? While the human body is now widely accepted as being both biological and cultural, the brain is still considered by archaeologists as being a biological entity that provides the capacity for culture and is subject to no further change after the evolution of Homo sapiens. This article reviews recent research that suggests that the brain has continued to evolve at an increasing rate in recent times under the influence of culturally created environments and that both the anatomy and function of individual brains can be manipulated by cultural behaviour. It describes an experiment in which one of us successfully changed his own brain in response to his cultural activity.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Cambridge Archaeological Journal
  • ISSN: 0959-7743
  • EISSN: 1474-0540
  • URL: /core/journals/cambridge-archaeological-journal
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *