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The Mind in the Cave

January 22, 2008

The Mind in the CaveSynopsis
The breathtakingly beautiful art created deep inside the caves of western Europe in the late Ice Age provokes awe and wonder in equal measure.

What do these animals and symbols, depicted on the walls of caves such as Lascaux, Chauvet and Altamira, tell us about the nature of the ancestral mind?

How did these images spring, sophisticated and fully formed, seemingly from nowhere into the human story?

The Mind in the Cave puts forward the most plausible explanation yet proposed for the origins of image-making and art.

David Lewis-Williams skilfully interweaves a lifetime of anthropological research with the most recent neurological insights to offer a convincing account of how we became human and, in the process, began to make art.

This is a masterful piece of detective work, casting light on the darkest mysteries of our ancestors and on the nature of our own consciousness and experience.
Customer Review
Thrilling: a work of rare genius
I couldn’t understand why a book ostensibly about cave art and anthropology was getting such rave reviews in the general reading sections of the book press. Throughout 2002, newspapers and literary magazines across the world were giving five stars and must read reviews to Lewis Williams’ study of the prehistoric mind.

That was before I read it. To call The Mind in the Cave a book about anthropology is a bit like calling Gibbons’ Decline and Fall a book about the Romans. This is one of those rare books one comes across that one knows will forever remain amongst the nine or ten best books one will ever read.

The Mind in the Cave is a work of genius that convincingly binds the threads and fragments linking prehistoric rock art across the continents. Lewis Williams’ expertise on South African and Botswanan rock paintings and the shamans who created them allows him insights into the Magdalenian creators of the rock art in southwest Europe unreachable by previous commentators. His theories are being discussed with great excitement by the curators at prehistoric cave sites such as Lascaux. Anyone with the remotest interest in anthropology, history, art or religion should read this book.

Buy this book in the archaeology section:

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