Researching the Origins of Art. Religion, and Mind
"Two Million Years of Art in Human Evolution"

AH 224 Paleolithic Art -- Spring 2012
Maine College of Art, Portland, Maine


Home Page

About OriginsNet

Theory and Methods

Overview of Four Eras of Evolution
of Art, Religion, Mind and Psyche


,,,,,Early Paleolithic

,,,,,Middle Paleolithic

.....Upper Paleolithic

Publications and Studies (PDF files)

OriginsNet BLOG - New Discoveries, New Theories



PowerPoint Presentations
click on link to download pdf
files are large, will take time
Background Readings


Introduction – Course Overview; Art Critical Approach; Assignments & Grading; Art Project Decisions; 4+ Eras; Terminology;
Makapansgat – The Ground Meme - The Curatorial
Bahn, P. 1997. Journey Through the Ice Age
Preface, Intro and Chapters 1 and 2.
Pelegrin, J. 2009. ‘Cognition and the emergence of language’ (14pp)


Oldowan – Chimpanzees, Oldowan Art (Meme #1)

Class #2 - Oldowan 7.7MB


Early Acheulian Art (Meme #2A): play of opposing shapes
Middle Acheulian Art (Meme #2B): biface duality

Class #3 - Early and Middle Acheulian 9.6MB Harrod, J. 2003. 'Notes Toward and Early Acheulian Logic Model' (6 pp)
Harrod, J. 2002. 'Notes on Middle Acheulian Spirituality' (18pp.)


Later Acheulian Art: figurine sculptures, markings (Meme #2C)

Class#4- Later Acheulian 6.9MB Bednarik, R. 2003. 'Earliest Evidence of Palaeoart' (26pp.)
Later Acheulian Art: petroglyph marking traditions Class #5 - Later Acheulian Bhimbetka, India
Daraki-Chattan, India
NW Europe
Harrod, J. 2007. ‘Bhimbetka Glyphs’ (25 pp.)


Middle Paleolithic Art: figurine sculptures, triangle Creatrix, mask faces, landscape art, stone arrangements, markings; Neanderthal bear cult (Meme #3). Homo sapiens sapiens Out-of-Africa.

Class #6 - Middle Paleolithic 1
Bednarik, R. 2008. 'Cupules' (40pp) [Worldwide review]


Middle Paleolithic Art:
DVD: Har Karkom: the Mountain of Moses (Italian, 10 minutes)
Slideshow: Expedition to Har Karkom, Israel

Class #7 - Middle Paleolithic 2
Har Karkom, Israel 8MB
Marshack, A. 1996. ‘A Middle Paleolithic Symbolic Composition’ (19 pp.)


The Global Rock Art Heritage – World Rock Art Regions
Slideshow: Expedition to Australian Outback Rock Art

Class #8 - Global Rock Art Heritage
Bahn, P. 1997. Journey Through the Ice Age
Chapter 3 (pp. 27-47)

Clottes J. World Rock Art. (140 pp)


Eurasian Upper Paleolithic Art: painted caves and portable art of animals, shamans (Meme #4)
DVD: Cave of Forgotten Dreams - Chauvet

Class #9 - Chauvet Bahn, P. 1997. Journey Through the Ice Age
Chapter 4 and 5 (pp. 48-76)


Eurasian Upper Paleolithic Art: Aurignacian art and ritual spaces.
DVD: Prehistoric Art Quercy - Pech Merle

Class #10 - UP Aurignacian 8MB Bahn, P. 1997. Journey Through the Ice Age
Chapter 7, 8, 9 (pp. 84-133)


Eurasian Upper Paleolithic: Gravettian and Magdalenian art; Kostenki, El Juyo, Gönnersdorf ritual spaces.
DVD: Lascaux Revisited

Class #11 - UP Gravettian 4MB and Magdalenian 5MB
Bahn, P. 1997. Journey Through the Ice Age
Chapter 10-11 (pp. 133-211)
12 Eurasian Upper Paleolithic: 6 female and 6 male spiritual transformation processes
Practice: Divination
Harrod, J. 1997. ‘The Upper Paleolithic Double Goddess’ (17pp.)
Reis, P. 1986. ‘The Mysteries of Creativity: Self-Seeding, Death and the Great Goddess’ (22 pp.)
13 Neolithic Art: Global cultural context; European Neolithic, basic theory of Gimbutas, Language of the Goddess
DVD: Signs out of Time
Class #13 - Neolithic Gimbutas, M. 1989. Language of the Goddess.  Forward, Introduction, including Categories (pp. xiii-xxiii); browse in between; Conclusions (pp. 316-329)
Berggren, K. and Harrod, J. 1996. ‘Understanding Marija Gimbutas’ (4 pp.)
14 Final Exam: Team Presentations. Survivals and transformations in contemporary art

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