The Drawings on the Wall

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The image is an example of the sort of shape they’re talk­ing about. You can see it big­ger at Flickr.

Well yes that may be true, but it’s not just Palaeolithic men who’d want to ven­er­ate them. Slightly more ser­i­ously art is ambigu­ous. The Minoans are known for their bull sym­bol­ism, but it’s unlikely any of the bulls would appre­ci­ate their role in the sacrifice.

Thanks to the tip from Archaeozoology and the reminder from Remote Central, I’ve been listen­ing to The Drawings on the Wall. It’s one of those series of 15 minutes doc­u­ment­ar­ies that the BBC some­times does. George Nash, who’s dis­covered Neolithic rock art, is the presenter and he does a great job. Really cave art should be one of those sub­jects that makes awful radio, just a step away from the All-England Live Mime Championship, or Harpo Marx in his own words. On the con­trary he does a really good job of cap­tur­ing the interest and pas­sion of the archae­olo­gists work­ing in the caves.

He also talks about some of the reas­ons why rock art mat­ters. It’s dif­fi­cult because he has little time to do this in, but rock art is one of the hot fields in archae­ology at the moment, not just for what it is but also for what it says about cog­ni­tion. What happened to humans that means they have art and chim­pan­zees don’t?

The second epis­ode goes out Feb 10, so you’ll want to catch it before then.