Corona presented her lecture on cave and rock art to seven people today. It went very well, and the discussion afterwards went on for forty-five minutes. The question was asked, “why did the cavemen change their drawings (add colour)?”, we talked about uranium and a rock drawing in Australia warning of naturally occurring uranium. A few new people came, but most were repeats. Thanks to everyone for coming! Topic for next week TBA.
[12:09] Chraeloos: Alright, I think we’ll get started. Just so everyone is aware, all comments are to be held until after the lecture, when the discussion takes place. If you comment, and get a warning, and don’t stop, you will be banned (not something I like doing).
[12:10] Chraeloos: So, please be patient, and enjoy the lecture!
[12:10] Corona Anatine: ok right
[12:10] Corona Anatine: i will copy and paste to chat – if anyone has a problem with keeping up then please say
[12:10] Corona Anatine: in im
[12:11] Corona Anatine: i will also pause to move images every so often your patience is appreciated during brief pauses
[12:12] Corona Anatine: ok Rock art and an symbolism
[12:12] Corona Anatine: One of the main problems of interpreting prehistoric art is the difficulty of understanding what the images are meant to represent.
[12:13] Corona Anatine: An illustration of the difficulties is found in Mithen’s ‘Prehistory of the mind’ a search for the origins of art religion and science’ [Phoenix 1996] which illustrates how potentially complex the meanings behind prehistoric art may be.
[12:13] Corona Anatine: The complex and multiple meanings that may be found in the simplest geometric designs found in Palaeolithic art can be illustrated with an example from Koori art.
The social anthropologist Howard Murphy has described how many Koori paintings incorporate a basic geometric template underlying the design; each part of which may encode a series of meanings.
[12:14] Corona Anatine: For example this simple image has two loci of meaning (a) and (b)
[12:15] Corona Anatine: Where a) encodes the meanings:
‘well’ ‘lake’ and ‘vagina’
[12:15] Corona Anatine: while b) encodes the meanings: ‘digging stick ‘ ‘river’ and ‘penis’
[12:15] Corona Anatine: while b) encodes the meanings: ‘digging stick ‘ ‘river’ and ‘penis’
Thus three different interpretations are encoded of a well being dug, of a river flowing in or out of a lake, or of a penetrative sexual act.’
[12:16] Corona Anatine: All three of these are valid interpretations
[12:16] Corona Anatine: But each is appropriate in a different social context’
[12:16] Corona Anatine: Moreover the interpretations may be connected with a single mythic sequence:
[12:16] Corona Anatine: When a kangaroo ancestor finished digging a well with a stick, a female wallaby bent down to drink the fresh water, and the kangaroo seized his opportunity to mount her sexually. The semen flowed out of her body and into the waterhole. Today a river flows into the lake at that place and the kangaroo’s penis was transformed into a digging stick which can be seen as a great log beside the lake.
[12:17] Corona Anatine: This illustrates well the problems with the interpretation of prehistoric art, which is fraught with many potential pitfalls.
[12:17] Corona Anatine: To quote Mithen ‘if such simple geometric designs can encode such complexity of meaning and by doing so express the transformational aspects of ancestral beings, then how much complex meaning might underlie simple geometric designs from the Palaeolithic.’
[12:18] Corona Anatine: or more complex images
[12:18] Corona Anatine: many of which are known worldwide
[12:19] Corona Anatine: Many interpretations have been hypothesized
[12:19] Corona Anatine: Iain Hodder for example spends many chapters debating the ‘language’ of chevron patterns and similar markings on pottery, when it is likely that they merely represent an attempt to reproduce basket weave patterns and the appearance of rope on a non woven material, and the actual patterns themselves lack any language of significance. Breaking down prehistoric artwork to that degree of fineness is akin to what James Churchward was doing last century.
[12:20] Corona Anatine: One useful way round this problem is to assess the art from a psychological perspective.’
[12:20] Corona Anatine: Extensive physiological research has shown that one of the main origins of prehistoric imagery is that of entoptic phenomena
[12:21] Corona Anatine: patterns
produced within the brain during trance states, often drug induced.
[12:22] Corona Anatine: Many examples of prehistoric art are explainable as drug imagery, often regardless of what they might actually be depicting.
[12:22] Corona Anatine: Many learned ‘authorities’ preferring exciting and ‘sexy’ meanings such as drugs and warfare, to more mundane and plausible explanations involving agriculture.
For example the Khemigyptian ‘Narmer palette’ is seen as a celebration of warfare and conquest, when stronger evidence indicates that it is more likely to be depicting a pastoral based agricultural scene; the ‘long necked creatures’ have been shown to be depictions of the ‘embodiment of the desert wastes’ being tamed by the king. They are certainly not dinosaurs as the creationists claim.
[12:23] Corona Anatine: A case in point is the [in[famous ‘theories’ of Von Daniken
[12:23] Corona Anatine: Where they are of genuine items, [which he himself has admitted is not always the case] Erich Von Daniken’s illustrations for his series of books show many pieces of prehistoric art which probably have a drug related theme.
[12:23] Corona Anatine: [lag occurring in chat ]
[12:24] Corona Anatine: an many of the examples he uses have easily explained interpretation
[12:25] Corona Anatine: Clearly sometimes one must rely on context or informed guesswork, to arrive at a conclusion of what the art is meant to represent.
[12:25] Corona Anatine: relating to drug and trance states is shamanism
[12:25] Corona Anatine: Often the imagery has been assessed as relating to Shamanism or shamanic practices
[12:26] Corona Anatine: two examples from daniken illustrate this
[12:26] Corona Anatine: this is the first
[12:27] Corona Anatine: the image of a shaman wearing a ritual mask is more likley than his interpretation of ‘aliens’
[12:28] Corona Anatine: another of his also has a likely shamanic explanation
[12:28] Corona Anatine: both are from subsaharan africa
[12:29] Corona Anatine: this one is plausibility the image of a spirit leaving the body during a trance state
[12:30] Corona Anatine: again there is no need to cite alien contact
[12:30] Corona Anatine: tho it does not preclude it admittedly
[12:31] Corona Anatine: Many illustrations of figures said to be of shaman wearing horns exist in prehistoric art
[12:31] Corona Anatine: One shaman figure however;
[12:32] Corona Anatine: that of La Troi Freres, is certainly not of a Shaman. It is probably not even of a human. The figure is often shown in books, sometimes with the nearest figures directly in front.
[12:32] Corona Anatine: this one
[12:32] Corona Anatine: the purple will be explained shortly
[12:33] Corona Anatine: however the image is out of context
[12:33] Corona Anatine: The Frontpiece of DK Bhattacharya (1977) supplies a lot better in the way of a
[12:34] Corona Anatine: thus supplied we can start to deconstruct the image into its five animal components within the engraving that are the important lines relevant to the image.
[12:35] Corona Anatine: Firstly a large superimposed horse is readily apparent in the palimpsest,the presence of which shows that the original artists did not consider a horizontal orientation to be significant.
[12:36] Corona Anatine: in the image the horse is shown in blue
[12:37] Corona Anatine: next
[12:37] Corona Anatine: a large horizontal bison or cow transects the ‘shaman’
[12:37] Corona Anatine: Although this image is very shadowy and probably represents one of the earlier engravings of the palimpsest
[12:37] Corona Anatine: These two large animals eliminate some of the engraved lines within the body
[12:38] Corona Anatine: unfortunately only the horse would upload as the other SL said were too large
[12:38] Corona Anatine: so only the coloured images are possible
[12:38] Corona Anatine: tho i will send any by @ if requested
[12:39] Corona Anatine: within the body of the ‘shaman’ especially the ‘bow’ or ‘nosebleed’ of which so much is made in the literature, concerning transcendental states etc.
[12:39] Corona Anatine: the cow is shown in purple here
[12:39] Corona Anatine: Thirdly a bison directly overlies the front of the figure
[12:39] Corona Anatine: here shown in green
[12:40] Corona Anatine: Eliminating the bison engraving removes a good portion of the leg of the figure
[12:40] Corona Anatine: The last two animals, are; a small bison
[12:41] Corona Anatine: which after removal reveals a small horse
[12:41] Corona Anatine: All that is left of the ‘Shaman figure’, are a few random lines
[12:42] Corona Anatine: [ again they would not upload]
[12:42] Corona Anatine: Some of which may be eyes of other animal figures, and the ‘Shaman’ vanishes
[12:42] Corona Anatine: However the La Troi Freres image is an accident of a palimpsest of engraved lines. Where the images are complete and clearly a single image, the task is easier, if it is bourne in mind that what was depicted is usually an accurate representation of something existing in the common experience of the world;
[12:43] Corona Anatine: so that demolishes one of the sacred cows of the rock art studies
[12:43] Corona Anatine: The key point is that it is unwise to interpret the images in modern terms. If the image were made by minds experiencing a hunter gatherer lifestyle, then that type of society can be used as a basis of comparison.
However; if there was a society with relatively advanced technology, then such a comparison would be invalid.
[12:44] Corona Anatine: Searching for relatively advanced technology in the past is perfectly legitimate, however for an example to be valid all other possible meanings must first be assessed
[12:44] Corona Anatine: and as i have shown even the simplest interpretations can be wrong
[12:45] Corona Anatine: in a future presentation i will show my interpretation of some images
[12:45] Corona Anatine: however i am fully aware it is only one of many possible
[12:45] Corona Anatine: possible
[12:45] Corona Anatine: ok questions