Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 52
  • Cited by
    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Brown, Daniel 2016. An introductory view on archaeoastronomy. Journal of Physics: Conference Series, Vol. 685, p. 012001.


    Iliopoulos, Antonis 2016. The material dimensions of signification: Rethinking the nature and emergence of semiosis in the debate on human origins. Quaternary International, Vol. 405, p. 111.


    Salgado, Mauricio 2015. The evolution of paternal care can lead to population growth in artificial societies. Journal of Theoretical Biology, Vol. 380, p. 192.


    Dayet, L. Texier, P.-J. Daniel, F. and Porraz, G. 2013. Ochre resources from the Middle Stone Age sequence of Diepkloof Rock Shelter, Western Cape, South Africa. Journal of Archaeological Science, Vol. 40, Issue. 9, p. 3492.


    Guéguen, Nicolas and Jacob, Céline 2013. Color and cyber-attractiveness: Red enhances men's attraction to women's internet personal ads. Color Research & Application, Vol. 38, Issue. 4, p. 309.


    Elliot, Andrew J. and Maier, Markus A. 2012.


    Guéguen, Nicolas 2012. Color and women hitchhikers' attractiveness: Gentlemen drivers prefer red. Color Research & Application, Vol. 37, Issue. 1, p. 76.


    Rifkin, Riaan F. 2012. Processing ochre in the Middle Stone Age: Testing the inference of prehistoric behaviours from actualistically derived experimental data. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology, Vol. 31, Issue. 2, p. 174.


    Vaz da Silva, Francisco 2012. A Companion to Folklore.


    ERDOGU, BURCIN and ULUBEY, AYDIN 2011. COLOUR SYMBOLISM IN THE PREHISTORIC ARCHITECTURE OF CENTRAL ANATOLIA AND RAMAN SPECTROSCOPIC INVESTIGATION OF RED OCHRE IN CHALCOLITHIC ÇATALHÖYÜK. Oxford Journal of Archaeology, Vol. 30, Issue. 1, p. 1.


    Henshilwood, Christopher Stuart and Dubreuil, Benoît 2011. The Still Bay and Howiesons Poort, 77–59 ka. Current Anthropology, Vol. 52, Issue. 3, p. 361.


    Rots, Veerle Van Peer, Philip and Vermeersch, Pierre M. 2011. Aspects of tool production, use, and hafting in Palaeolithic assemblages from Northeast Africa. Journal of Human Evolution, Vol. 60, Issue. 5, p. 637.


    Steels, Luc 2011. Modeling the cultural evolution of language. Physics of Life Reviews, Vol. 8, Issue. 4, p. 339.


    d’Errico, Francesco Salomon, Hélène Vignaud, Colette and Stringer, Chris 2010. Pigments from the Middle Palaeolithic levels of Es-Skhul (Mount Carmel, Israel). Journal of Archaeological Science, Vol. 37, Issue. 12, p. 3099.


    Giordano, James and Kohls, Nikola 2010. Maldynia.


    Hodgskiss, Tammy 2010. Identifying grinding, scoring and rubbing use-wear on experimental ochre pieces. Journal of Archaeological Science, Vol. 37, Issue. 12, p. 3344.


    Niesta Kayser, Daniela Elliot, Andrew J. and Feltman, Roger 2010. Red and romantic behavior in men viewing women. European Journal of Social Psychology, Vol. 40, Issue. 6, p. 901.


    Watts, Ian 2010. The pigments from Pinnacle Point Cave 13B, Western Cape, South Africa. Journal of Human Evolution, Vol. 59, Issue. 3-4, p. 392.


    Henshilwood, Christopher S. d'Errico, Francesco and Watts, Ian 2009. Engraved ochres from the Middle Stone Age levels at Blombos Cave, South Africa. Journal of Human Evolution, Vol. 57, Issue. 1, p. 27.


    Sims, Lionel 2009. Entering, and returning from, the underworld: reconstituting Silbury Hill by combining a quantified landscape phenomenology with archaeoastronomy. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, Vol. 15, Issue. 2, p. 386.


    ×

The Human Symbolic Revolution: A Darwinian Account

  • Chris Knight (a1), Camilla Power (a2) and Ian Watts (a2)
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0959774300001190
  • Published online: 22 December 2008
Abstract

By 50,000 years ago, the effects of a ‘symbolic explosion’ — an efflorescence of human art, song, dance and ritual — were rippling across the globe. Applied to archaeological evidence, standard neo-Darwinian theory offers new understandings of this improbable event. The present article defines ‘symbolism’, models quasi-ritual behaviour in late archaic Homo sapiens, extends the argument to the emergence of anatomically modern humans and concludes with preliminary tests against archaeological, ethnographic and rock art data.

Copyright
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

L.C. Aiello & C. Arthur , 1994. Synchrony in Human Evolution: A Female Reproductive Strategy. Paper delivered to Theoretical Archaeology Group annual conference, Bradford.

L.C. Aiello & R. Dunbar , 1993. Neocortex size, group size, and the evolution of language. Current Anthropology 34, 184–93.

D.F. Armstrong , W.C. Stokoe & S.E. Wilcox , 1994. Signs of the origin of syntax. Current Anthropology 35(4), 349–68.

R.R. Baker & M.A. Bellis , 1993. Human sperm competition: ejaculate adjustment by males and the function of masturbation. Animal Behavior 46, 861–85.

E. Bates , 1979. The Emergence of Symbols. New York (NY): Academic Press.

L.R. Binford , 1980. Willow smoke and dogs’ tails: hunter-gatherer settlement systems and archaeological site formation. American Antiquity 45, 420.

L.R. Binford , 1990. Mobility, housing, and environment: a comparative study. Journal of Anthropological Research 46, 119–52.

D.F. Bleek , 1928. Bushmen of central Angola. Bantu Studies 3, 105–25.

H. Bocherans , M. Fizet , A. Mariotti , Lange-Badre B. , B. Vandermeersch , J.B. Borel & G. Bellon , 1991. Isotopic biogeochemistry (13C, 15N) of fossil vertebrate collagen: application to the study of a past food web including Neandertal man. Journal of Human Evolution 20, 481–92.

A. Bowcock , J. Kidd , J. Mountain , J. Herbert , L. Carotenuto , K. Kidd & Cavalli-Sforza L.L. , 1991. Drift, admixture, and selection in human evolution: a study with DNA polymorphisms. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 88, 839–43.

R. Boyd & P. Richerson , 1992. Punishment allows the evolution of co-operation (or anything else) in sizeable groups. Ethnology and Sociobiology 13, 171–95.

A.S. Brooks , P.E. Hare , J.E. Kokis , G.H. Miller , R.D. Ernst & F. Wendorf , 1990. Dating Pleistocene archaeological sites by Protein diagenesis in ostrich eggshell. Science 248, 6064.

H.T. Bunn , L.E. Bartram & E.M. Kroll , 1988. Variability in bone assemblage formation from Hadza hunting, scavenging, and carcass processing. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 7, 412–57.

R. Burling , 1993. Primate calls, human language, and nonverbal communication. Current Anthropology 34, 2553.

R. Byrne & A. Whiten , 1985. Tactical deception of familiar individuals in baboons. Animal Behaviour 33, 669–73.

M. Carrithers , 1990. Why humans have cultures. Man 25, 189206.

L.L. Cavalli-Sforza , A. Piazza , P. Menozzi & J. Mountain , 1988. Reconstruction of human evolution: bringing together genetic, archaeological, and linguistic data. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA) 85, 6002–6.

P.G. Chase , 1994. On symbols and the palaeolithic. Current Anthropology 35(5), 627–9.

P.G. Chase & H.L. Dibble , 1987. Middle Palaeolithic symbolism: a review of current evidence and interpretations. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 6, 263–96.

J.D. Clark , 1971. Human behavioral differences in southern Africa during the Later Pleistocene. American Anthropologist 73, 1211–36.

J.D. Clark & K.D. Williamson , 1984. A Middle Stone Age occupation site at Pore Epic Cave, Dire Dawa (east-central Ethiopia). The African Archaeological Review 2, 3764.

T.H. Clutton-Brock & P.H. Harvey , 1977. Primate ecology and social organization. Journal of Zoology 183, 139.

A.P. Cohen , 1985. The Symbolic Construction of Community. London: Tavistock.

C.K. Cooke , 1963. Report on excavations at Pomongwe and Tshangula Caves, Matapos Hills, southern Rhodesia. South African Archaeological Bulletin 18, 73151.

C.K. Cooke , 1971. Excavations in Zombepata cave, Sipolilo District, Mashonaland, Rhodesia. South African Archaeological Bulletin 26, 104–26.

L. Cosmides , 1989. The logic of social exchange: has natural selection shaped how humans reason? Studies with the Wason selection task. Cognition 31, 187276.

C. Couraud , 1991. Les pigments des grottes D'Arcy-sur-Cure (Yonne). Gallia Prehistoire 33, 1752.

J.H. Crook & J.S. Gartlan , 1966. Evolution of primate societies. Nature 210, 12001203.

W.B. Cutler , C.R. Garcia & A.M. Krieger , 1980. Sporadic sexual behavior and menstrual cycle length in women. Hormones and Behavior 14, 163–72.

H. Deacon , 1992. Southern Africa and modern human origins. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Series B 337, 177–84.

R.I.M. Dunbar , 1988. Primate Social Systems. London & Sydney: Croom Helm.

W. Eberhard , 1985. Sexual Selection and Animal Genitalia. Cambridge (MA): Harvard University Press.

P.T. Ellison , 1990. Human ovarian function and reproductive ecology: new hypotheses. American Anthropologist 92, 933–52.

P.T. Ellison , 1994. Advances in human reproductive ecology. Annual Review of Anthropology 23, 255–75.

P.T. Ellison , N.R. Peacock & C. Lager , 1989. Ecology and ovarian function among Lese women of the Ituri Forest, Zaire. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 78, 519–26.

S.T. Emlen & L.W. Oring , 1977. Ecology, sexual selection and the evolution of mating systems. Science (N.Y.) 197, 215–23.

D. Erdal & A. Whiten , 1994. On human egalitarianism: An evolutionary product of Machiavellian status escalation? Current Anthropology 35, 175–83.

R.A. Foley & P.C. Lee , 1991. Ecology and energetics of encephalization in hominid evolution. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society London 334, 223–32.

A. Gautier , 1993. The Middle Palaeolithic faunas from Bir Jarfawi (Western Desert, Egypt), in Egypt During the Last Interglacial, eds. F. Wendorf , R. Schild & A. Close and associates. New York (NY) & London: Plenum Press, 121–43.

C. Graham , 1991. Menstrual synchrony: an update and review. Human Nature 2(4), 293311.

H. Grice , 1969. Utterer's meanings and intentions. Philosophical Review 78, 147–77.

R. Grun , P.B. Beaumont & C.B. Stringer , 1990. ESR dating evidence for early modern humans at Border Cave in South Africa. Nature 344, 537–9.

T. Guilford & M.S. Dawkins , 1991. Receiver psychology and the evolution of animal signals. Animal Behaviour 42, 114.

D.L. Gunn , P.M. Jenkin & A.L. Gunn , 1937. Menstrual periodicity: statistical observations on a large sample of normal cases. Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology of the British Empire 44, 839.

K. Hawkes , 1990. Showing off. Tests of an hypothesis about men's foraging goals. Ethology and Sociobiology 12, 2954.

K. Hawkes , O'Connell J.F. & Blurton-Jones N.G. , 1992. Hunting income patterns among the Hadza: big game, common goods, foraging goals and the evolution of the human diet. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London Series B 334, 243–91.

L.R. Hiatt , 1962. Local organisation among the Australian Aborigines. Oceania 32(4), 267–86.

M. Hurtado & K. Hill , 1990. Seasonality in a foraging society: variation in diet, work effort, fertility, and sexual division of labour among the Hiwi of Venezuela. Journal of Anthropological Research 46, 293346.

P.J. Jarman , 1974. The social organization of antelope in relation to their ecology. Behaviour 48, 215–67.

J. Jouzel , N.I. Barkov , J.I. Barnola , M. Bender , J. Chappellaz , C. Genthon , V.M. Kollyakov , V. Lipenkov , C. Lorius , J.R. Petit , D. Raynaud , G. Raisbeck , C. Ritz , T. Sowers , M. Stievenard , F. Yiou & P. Yipu , 1993. Extending the Vostok ice-core record of palaeoclimate to the penultimate glacial period. Nature 364, 407–12.

A. Kendon , 1991. Some considerations for a theory of language origins. Man 26, 199221.

M. Kitahara , 1982. Menstrual taboos and the importance of hunting. American Anthropologist 84, 901–3.

N. Knowlton , 1979. Reproductive synchrony, parental investment and the evolutionary dynamics of sexual selection. Animal Behavior 27, 1022–33.

A. Lattas , 1989. Trickery and sacrifice: tambarans and the appropriation of female reproductive powers in male initiation ceremonies in west New Britain. Man 24, 451–69.

S. Leigh , 1992. Cranial capacity evolution in Homo erectus and early Homo sapiens. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 87, 113.

R.W. Leonard & M.L. Robertson , 1992. Nutritional requirements and human evolution: a bioenergetics model. American Journal of Human Biology 4, 179–95.

D. Lieberman & J. Shea , 1994. Behavioural differences between archaic and modern humans in the Levantine Mousterian. American Anthropologist 96(2), 300332.

A.W. Louw , 1969. Bushman Rock Shelter, Ohrigstad, eastern Transvaal: a preliminary investigation, 1965. South African Archaeological Bulletin 24, 3951.

B.S. Low , R.D. Alexander & K.M. Noonan , 1987. Human hips, breasts and buttocks: is fat deceptive? Ethology and Sociobiology 8, 249–57.

M.K. McClintock , 1971. Menstrual synchrony and suppression. Nature 229, 244–5.

A. Marshack , 1981. On paleolithic ochre and the early uses of colour and symbol. Current Anthropology 22(2), 188–91.

A. Marshack , 1989. Evolution of the human capacity: the symbolic evidence. Yearbook of Physical Anthropology 32, 134.

J. Maynard Smith , 1977. Parental investment: a prospective analysis. Animal Behaviour 25, 19.

J. Maynard Smith , 1991. Honest signalling: the Philip Sidney game. Animal Behaviour 42, 1034–5.

J. Maynard Smith , 1994. Must reliable signals always be costly? Animal Behaviour 47, 1115–20.

M.J. Mehlman , 1979. Mumba-Hohle revisited: the relevance of a forgotten excavation to some current issues in East African prehistory. World Archaeology 11(1), 8094.

J.F. O'Connell , K. Hawkes & Blurton Jones N. , 1991. Distribution of refuse-producing activities at Hadza residential base camps, in The Interpretation of Archaeological Spatial Patterning, eds. E. Kroll & T.D. Price . New York (NY): Plenum, 6176.

H. Opperman & B. Heydenrych , 1990. A 22,000 year-old Middle Stone Age camp site with plant food remains from the north-eastern Cape. South African Archaeological Bulletin 45, 93–9.

M. Pagel , 1994. The evolution of conspicuous oestrous advertisement in Old World monkeys. Animal Behaviour 47, 1333–41.

A.R. Parish , 1994. Sex and food control in the ‘uncommon chimpanzee’: how bonobo females overcome a phylogenetic legacy of male dominance. Ethology and Sociobiology 15, 157–79.

S.T. Parker , 1985. A social-technological model for the evolution of language. Current Anthropology 26(5), 617–39.

S.T. Parker , 1987. A sexual selection model for hominid evolution. Human Evolution 2(3), 235–53.

M. Profet , 1993. Menstruation as a defense against pathogens transported by sperm. Quarterly Review of Biology 68(3), 335–86.

Y. Rak & B. Arensburg , 1987. Kebara 2 Neanderthal pelvis: first look at a complete inlet. American journal of Physical Anthropology 73, 227–31.

K. Rails , 1977. Sexual dimorphism in mammals: avian models and unanswered questions. American Naturalist 111, 917–18.

P. Shipman & A. Walker , 1989. The costs of becoming a predator, journal of Human Evolution 18, 373–92.

R. Short , 1976. The evolution of human reproduction. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 195, 324.

B. Sillen-Tullberg & A.P. Meller , 1993. The relationship between concealed ovulation and mating systems in anthropoid primates: a phylogeneric analysis. American Naturalist 141, 125.

A. Solomon , 1992. Gender, representation and power in San ethnography and rock art. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 11, 291329.

H. Soodyall & T. Jenkins , 1992. Mitochondrial DNA polymorphisms in Khoisan populations from southern Africa. Annals of Human Genetics 56, 315–24.

M. Stiner , 1993. Modern human origins — faunal perspectives. Annual Review of Anthropology 22, 5582.

M. Stiner & S.L. Kuhn , 1992. Subsistence, technology, and adaptive variation in Middle Paleolithic Italy. American Anthropologist 94(2), 306–39.

G.I. Teodorovich , 1961. Authogenic Minerals in Sedimentary Rocks. New York (NY): Consultants Bureau.

P.V. Tobias , 1949. The excavation of Mwulu's Cave, Potgietersrust District. South African Archaeological Bulletin 4, 213.

E. Trinkaus , 1993. Femoral neck-shaft angles of the Qafzeh-Skhul early modern humans, and activity levels among immature Near Eastern Middle Palaeolithic hominids. Journal of Human Evolution 25, 393416.

E. Trinkaus , 1994. Femoral neck-shaft angles: reply to Arensburg. Journal of Human Evolution 27, 451–5.

E.Z. Tronick , G.A. Morelli & S. Winn , 1987. Multiple care-taking of Efe (pygmy) infants. American Anthropologist 89, 96106.

P.W. Turke , 1984. Effects of ovulatory concealment and synchrony on protohominid mating systems and parental roles. Ethology and Sociobiology 5, 3344.

J. Velo , 1984. Ochre as medicine: a suggestion for the interpretation of the archaeological record. Current Anthropology 25, 674.

L. Vigilant , R. Pennington , H. Harpending , T.D. Kocher & A.C. Wilson , 1989. Mitochondrial DNA sequence in single pairs from a southern African population. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA) 86, 9350–54.

L. Vigilant , M. Stoneking , H. Harpending , K. Hawkes & A.C. Wilson , 1991. African populations and the evolution of mitochondrial DNA. Science 253, 1503–7.

L. Wadley , 1993. The Pleistocene Later Stone Age South of the Limpopo River. Journal of World Prehistory 7, 243–96.

L. Wadley & P. Harper , 1989. Rose Cottage Cave revisited: Malan's Middle Stone Age collection. South African Archaeological Bulletin 44, 2332.

J. Wainscott , A. Hill , J. Boyce , M. Flint , S. Hernandez , J. Thein , J. Old , A. Lynch & D. W. Falusi , 1986. Evolutionary relationships of human populations from an analysis of nuclear DNA polymorphisms. Nature 319, 491–3.

J. Wallis , 1985. Synchrony of estrous swelling in captive group-living chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). International Journal of Primatology 6, 335–50.

L. Weller & A. Weller , 1993. Human menstrual synchrony: a critical assessment. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews 17, 427–39.

F. Wendorf , R. Schild & A. Close and associates, 1993. Egypt during the Last Interglacial. New York (NY) & London: Plenum Press.

West-M. Eberhard , 1983. Sexual selection, social competition, and speciation. The Quarterly Review of Biology 58(2), 155–83.

H.C. Wilson , 1992. A critical review of menstrual synchrony research. Psychoneuroendocrinology 17(6), 565–91.

R.W. Wrangham , 1980. An ecological model of female-bonded primate groups. Behaviour 75, 269–99.

E.E. Wreschner , 1980. Red ochre and human evolution: a case for discussion. Current Anthropology 21, 631–14.

A. Wylie , 1988. ‘Simple’ analogy and the role of relevance assumptions: implications of archaeological practice. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 2, 134–50.

T.E. Ziegler , G. Epple , C.T. Snowdon , T.A. Porter , A.M. Belcher & I. Kiiderling , 1993. Detection of the chemical signals of ovulation in the cotton-top tamarin, Saguinus oedipus. Animal Behavior 45, 313–22.

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? *
×