Corona Anatine Lecture Feb 5 2012

Today’s lecture went unexpectedly well. There were some technical issues on Corona’s part but she managed to get online and save the lecture in five minutes, so good for her. It ended up going as planned as part two of the invention and evolution of magic and religion. I’m really enjoying the diversity of people we get at these lectures – people from all over the world in all sorts of backgrounds and faiths. It always makes for a very interesting discussion afterwards. And so far all comments have been cordial and constructive, instead of harassing and demeaning. Especially on a topic as controversial as this, I’ve been very impressed. Thanks everyone for making this so much fun and so worth it!

A dozen people came to the lecture today, even with all the technical difficulties. Some new faces came as well – nice to meet you and thanks for coming!

Transcript below:

[12:08] Corona Anatine: ok last time in part 1 i looked at some aspects of the origins of religion and magic
[12:08] Corona Anatine: this week i will continue where i left off
[12:08] Evie: in voice or text ?
[12:08] Chraeloos: text
[12:08] Evie: ok
[12:09] Corona Anatine: Examination of the Palaeolithic archaeological material evidence.
Examination shows that the earliest signs of expressive, possibly ritual activity occurs at circa 200,000 to 300,000 bp, with the use of ochre pigment at Terra Amata, and the engraved ox rib from Peche de L’Aze.
The main expansion however, occurs at the beginning of the Aurignacian period, simultaneously across large parts of Europe. This seems to have been a cultural phenomena however, rather than a biological or neurological one. [R White 1992 pg 74]
[12:10] Corona Anatine: The surviving material suggests a number of elements possibly reflecting traces of Palaeolithic ritual activities:
[12:10] Corona Anatine: a) Burial and treatment of human remains
b) Use and repositioning of non human skeletal elements.
c) Pigmentation of materials with red ochre.
[possibly of related significance to the fact that ‘Adam’ in hebrew means ‘red earth or clay’]
[12:10] Corona Anatine: d) Pictorial representation both parietal and mobiliarly, of several classes
i) Possible notational decoration.
ii) Geometric shapes and designs
iii) Dominance of horse and bison in cave art.
iv) ‘Venus’ images of female shape
v) Athropomorths. – ‘Shamen’ figures
Plus one or two other things in passing.
Each section will both examine the evidence and compare it with ethnographic parallels and possible continuity, in order to collect the materials adjacently.
[12:10] Corona Anatine: [some of this is a repeat
[12:11] Corona Anatine: but it ties in better this way]
[12:11] Corona Anatine: a) Burial and treatment of remains.
[12:11] Corona Anatine: A few other species of higher mammals “show grief and some degree of concern for their recently dead, but ritual burials seem unique to humanity” [G Richards 1987 p285]
Presumably the earliest hominids had a similar grief and concern. However the earliest known intentional burials are of Mousterian Neanderthals.
However the earliest burials were not necessarily by Neanderthals as the oldest known is the group burial of La Ferrasie [100 ka bp ] This burial lies at the very start of the period when early modern humans appear. But it does seem probable both because of the latitude, and the apparent lack of mixed race burials.
[12:12] Corona Anatine: There are not that many extant burials however and humans of either group might have avoided mixing their dead with those of another group, whether of the same race or not.
Examination of the list of known burials shows that the main features of upper Palaeolithic burial are
i) Frequent coverage of the body with red ochre. In some cases directly onto bone, indicating burial of fleshless or deliberately de-fleshed bone. Red ochre coverage becomes even more frequent as the Palaeolithic advances, suggesting the slow establishment of a ritual tradition
However 100% coverage of burials is never reached, some burials never warranting red ochre coverage for some reason. Perhaps as simple as lack of the material or variation in micro-local traditions.
ii) Orientation of the body. In the earlier Mousterian there is no preference for body orientation towards any compass direction. By the upper Palaeolithic in contrast there is an immediate and definite orientation of bodies with their head to the north or along
[12:12] Corona Anatine: a north-south axis. This is certainly deliberate and very probably ritual. There being no sanitary reason required beyond mere burial.
[12:12] Corona Anatine: North = 41
NE = 2
East = 0
SE = 0
South = 5
SW = 1
West = 1
NW = 5

This shows a remarkably consistent practice through time, and across a broad geographic range
[12:12] Corona Anatine: [ this is where i ended last week
[12:12] Corona Anatine: Based on this sample there would also appear to be an association of the south with younger and the north with older individuals. All children also being on the N-S line, with one exception who could have been small/malnourished for their age.
[12:13] Corona Anatine: There seems to have been no special emphasis on body position, some are said to be tightly bound, but this could just have been for economy of grave-digging and/or wrapping of the body for ease of transport. Grave goods become more frequent with time, however most are what would be expected as part of clothing and have no connotations for burial ritual, even if not merely fortuitous. The same is true of what seem to be the joints of meat left in the grave, even in Mousterian burials, which could easily derive from disturbance of earlier occupation levels.
[12:13] Corona Anatine: The separate burials of skulls at Mas’d’Azil and the child’s at La’Ferrasie are more suggestive of magical activity. The Mas’d’ Azil female having bone pieces in the eye sockets, while the child was buried with a decorated stone slab as a cover for the head, [the body was nearby]. [Trinkaus E & Shipman P 1993 p 255]
[12:13] Corona Anatine: Many burials are in hearths in the occupation floors of caves. [Clarke G & Piggot S 1965 p66], [Maringer J 1960 p57] However this does not mean that burials were only in caves, merely that others have less chance of survival, and even less of discovery, [Maringer J 1960 p14]. The use of hearths also only shows the gravediggers awareness that ash is easier to excavate than cave breccia or clay. Therefore there are no proven implications for cannibalism, or warmth for the dead.
[12:14] Corona Anatine: Recent studies done since this text was first written have been more indicative of cannibalism. Molecular studies have suggested that a genetic propensity to resistance to prion diseases, which many humans have, may be the result of ancient human consumption of human brain tissue.
[12:14] Corona Anatine: More recent identification of cannibalism is based primarily on the recognition of butchering marks on human bones, the same kinds of butchering marks–long bone breakage for marrow extraction, cut marks and chop marks resulting from skinning, defleshing and evisceration–as that seen on animals prepared for meals.
Evidence of cooking and the presence of human bone in coprolites have also been used to support a cannibalism hypothesis. This would not necessarily be from ritual activity, although such would be probable.
[12:15] Corona Anatine: Of course as ritual originates in mundane experiences, it could well be present.
[12:15] Corona Anatine: The main suggestions of ritual treatment are
i) The north-south orientation of burials
ii) The use of red ochre. This has anti-septic properties and may have been used to help delay the onset of microfaunal invasion of the body. Especially important if pre-burial rituals were performed.
iii) The defleshing of bodies. The cut marks on human bone at krapina either being only defleshing, or indicative of cannibilistic practices. Either way elaborate rituals or concepts were probably involved.
[12:16] Corona Anatine: Skulls are also often found placed in cave wall niches. All that shows, is that human bone was recognized when recovered, possibly when excavating later graves. Some form of ancestor reverence is however implied.
[12:16] Corona Anatine: Continuity is found into the mesolithic, where burials are also found containing red ochre, for example the female grave at Bogebakken Denmark [jensen J 1982 p25]
From the mesolithic onwards there are also examples of ‘nests’ of skulls, form caves at holenstein and Ofnet, both in southern Germany
[12:16] Corona Anatine: These had successive internments of skulls in beds of red ochre. Some of the skulls having cervical vertebrae in-situ, indicating burial as severed heads
[12:16] Corona Anatine: The Bavarian cave at Ofnet held 33 human skulls in two shallow depressions. Of 27 in the larger pit, 4 were identified as male, 7 as female and 15 as children, while the smaller pit held 2 women and 3 children. The evidence suggested that all had met a violent death. A shell necklace found near one skull were typologically similar to those found at Mugharet el-Wad, Transjordan.
[12:17] Corona Anatine: Ofnet also revealing continued occupation from the Aurignacian through to the Azialian, [Maringer J 1960 p130]
[12:17] Corona Anatine: The use of red ochre presents strong parallels with Australian koori burials. There the dead were also buried with red ochre. Strongly suggesting a common origin or experience.
[12:18] Corona Anatine: The earliest at Lake Mungo dates to circa 26 to 30ka bp. This however leaves a gap of 30,000 years between 60 and 30ka bp. Burials in Australia continued to receive red ochre up till modern times, showing a very long term continuity and stability of the custom for around 20k years. [Flood j 1983 p44-46 and 60].
[12:18] Corona Anatine: Ethnographic parallels also suggest reasons for some of the burial practices seen.
i) Bones symbolize the final fact of animal and human life, the mould from which flesh continually arises, allowing rebirth. [Eliade M 1958a p92-3]
ii) Red ochre symbolizing this rebirth. The colour relating it to female life, power or renewal of life/birth [Marshack A 1991 p18]
The concept of continuity and renewal possibly also explaining the fetal/sleep-like position in which many dead were buried. [Maringer J 1960 p18]
[12:18] Corona Anatine: B Use and repositioning of animal bone.
In addition to human remains, animal bones were sometimes treated in ways suggestive of ritual.
[12:19] Corona Anatine: for example the recent discovery of a dog buried with a mammoth bone in its mouth and it skull opened
[12:19] Corona Anatine: possibly to allow the release or escape of spirits
[12:20] Corona Anatine: This is also especially true of cave bear (Ursus Speleous) remains. Several examples of repositioning of the skulls are known. Although earlier theories of a mass cave bear cult were negated by most of the arrangements of the skulls being shown to be fortuitously derived from disturbance by hibernating bears in later years; there are still a few instances suggestive of deliberate placement.
[12:20] Corona Anatine: 1 the stone chests at Drachenloch cavern
[12:21] Corona Anatine: where up to seven skulls were discovered covered by stone slabs in stone ‘chests’
[12:22] Corona Anatine: deliberate placing being shown by the fact of their orientation so as to all face the [modern] entrance to the cave
[12:22] Corona Anatine: Presence of some in situ 1st and 2nd vertebra
[12:22] Corona Anatine: shows also that some at least were still flesh covered when placed
[12:23] Corona Anatine: 2 pech Merle cave in France
[12:23] Corona Anatine: where a number of bear skulls were buried beneath small earth mounds
[12:24] Corona Anatine: these are similar to the Montespan bear which may have been covered by a bearskin
[12:24] Corona Anatine: bahn [1991] shows that it was unlikely to have been a target for some form of hunting ritual
[12:25] Corona Anatine: suggesting instead that it was placed as some form of ‘guardian’
[12:25] Corona Anatine: image
[12:25] Corona Anatine: immediately before a ‘special zone’ in the cave
[12:26] Corona Anatine: [assuming the bear statue and the art are of the same date]
[12:26] Corona Anatine: 3 at rigourden , in addition a cave bear burial was actually identified [ Richards 1987]
[12:27] Corona Anatine: All these instances suggest burial with the intention of rebirth in the flesh or as its ‘spirit’ form
[12:28] Corona Anatine: Perhaps to honour the dead or pertition its spirit
[12:28] Corona Anatine: bears were certainly important , this is shown in addition by the representations of bears
[12:29] Corona Anatine: the flint bears are fairly mundane , however the art from
[12:29] Corona Anatine: Trois Freres is more suggestive
[12:29] Corona Anatine: the wounded bears are either a- hunting ritual related
[12:30] Corona Anatine: b- some form of warning /guardian image
[12:30] Corona Anatine: or c shamanic ‘shape shifting images
[12:31] Corona Anatine: shape shifting also being a possible explanation for the wolf headed bear from the same location
[12:31] Corona Anatine: ethnographic parallels for many of these ideas are illustrated by Bahn [ 1991]
[12:32] Corona Anatine: and in Maringer [1960]
[12:32] Corona Anatine: concerning the concept of honouring the bear
[12:32] Corona Anatine: A different sort of ritual is implied by the finds at stellmoor North Germany
[12:33] Corona Anatine: missed the chat box in typing
[12:33] Corona Anatine: where during the ahrenburg period
[12:34] Corona Anatine: as least 45 weighted Reindeer carcasses were sunk in a lake
[12:34] Corona Anatine: above which a brownish part layer separated the deer skeletons form an overlying mesolithic layer.
[12:35] Corona Anatine: this higher layer contained the remains of identical sacrificial rituals
[12:36] Corona Anatine: the whole assemblage indicating continuity of an identical sacrificial practice over a period of at least 10,000 years
[12:36] Corona Anatine: [ Maringer 1960]
[12:36] Corona Anatine: C Red ochre – Haematite
[12:37] Rhiannon of the Birds: yah, I can see Corona finally!
[12:37] Rhiannon of the Birds: oops–sorry
[12:37] Corona Anatine: in addition to human remains red ochre was used to coat , thickly in some cases, numerous artefacts and materials
[12:37] Corona Anatine: from a wide geographic area
[12:38] Corona Anatine: A brief consideration of just some of these will serve to illustrate the wide range of items that were red ochre coated
[12:39] Corona Anatine: The earliest example is a symbolic artefact form the mousterian
[12:39] Corona Anatine: siat of tata dated to 100ka bp
[12:40] Corona Anatine: [ Ucko and Rosenfeld 1987]
[12:40] Corona Anatine: 1 a number of mammoth bones form Mezin with ochre painted designs dated to 22 ka bvp
[12:41] Corona Anatine: they are thought to be percussion musical instrument
[12:41] Corona Anatine: we know that bones and skulls were used in this way because of the use of horse skulls to make threshing floors resonate musically
[12:42] Corona Anatine: 2 the small geissenklosterle anthropomorth
[12:42] Corona Anatine: 3 the vogelherdehohle and sungir horses figurines
[12:43] Corona Anatine: bas reliefs of horses and fish
[12:43] Corona Anatine: 5 a female figure from kastanenski placed upright in a small pit filled with soil mixed with red ochre
[12:44] Corona Anatine: 6 cave surface decoration either being red ochre paint or in engravings showing traces of liberal coating eg the various limestone sculptures form Laussel
[12:45] Corona Anatine: 7 human bodily decoration
[12:46] Corona Anatine: this is implied by the flat cake of ochre from Maz D azil found pitted with holes and associated with sharp bone needles
[12:46] Corona Anatine: possibly tattooing
[12:46] Corona Anatine: a similar practice is recorded form Australian cultures
[12:47] Corona Anatine: human body decoration os likely to have been extensive in societies
[12:47] Corona Anatine: and is known to have been widespread in ethnographic parallels
[12:48] Corona Anatine: However while it is often related to ritual they need not have had any magic-religious connections
[12:48] Corona Anatine: 8 a number of ‘laurel leaf’ shaped objects
[12:48] Corona Anatine: often thickly coated with ochre
[12:49] Corona Anatine: a distinctive implement of the high and middle Solutrean periods
[12:49] Corona Anatine: The objects being very similar to Australian bull roarers
[12:49] Corona Anatine: red ochre also has implications for the bible
[12:49] Corona Anatine: a the name adam
[12:50] Corona Anatine: means ‘red earth or clay’
[12:50] Chraeloos: thanks Paolo, take care
[12:50] Corona Anatine: and may show the antiquity of the legend
[12:50] Corona Anatine: this is also suggested by the similarity between
[12:51] Corona Anatine: the ‘rib removal in sleep that the adam myth relates
[12:51] Corona Anatine: and their replacement of body organs in shamanic ritual
[12:52] Corona Anatine: Red ochre therefore represented a common form of symbolic marking during the upper Palaeolithic probably
[12:52] Corona Anatine: symbolism of blood/ life/ rebirth etc
[12:52] Corona Anatine: attested by numerous ethnographic parallels
[12:53] Corona Anatine: however this was not necessarily the case as parallels also indicate use in hide and skin working or fro protection from insects and or cold
[12:53] Corona Anatine: ok
[12:54] Corona Anatine: i will stop there for this week
[12:54] Rhiannon of the Birds: is someone’s mike on?
[12:54] Corona Anatine: any question
[12:54] Chraeloos: Great job Corona, thank you 🙂
[12:54] Corona Anatine: ty
[12:54] Rhiannon of the Birds: Gilles, don’t you dare ask “What was the lecture on.”
[12:54] Maggie: Have you red clan of the cavebear Corona
[12:54] Rhiannon of the Birds: Great job , Corona
[12:54] Roxie Marten: is there a test on this?
[12:54] Corona Anatine: i will continue next time with more on art and artefacts
[12:54] Corona Anatine: only if you want one
[12:55] Chraeloos: lol Roxie
[12:55] Corona Anatine: it was a university essay
[12:55] Corona Anatine: so does condense a lot of material
[12:55] Rhiannon of the Birds: It has that scholarly flavour, Corona
[12:55] Gilles Kuhn: i
[12:55] Evie: is anyone interested in modern shamanism ?
[12:55] Gilles Kuhn: i
[12:55] Chraeloos: definitely Evie
[12:55] Gilles Kuhn: i am sorry to have been late
[12:55] Corona Anatine: modern shamans?
[12:56] Gilles Kuhn: corona by any chance you have the text in a nc?
[12:56] Chraeloos: no problem Gilles
[12:56] Corona Anatine: they would be I’m sure
[12:56] Evie: here is a good link
[12:56] Chraeloos: If you are interested in keeping up to date feel free to check out our blog, new topics will be posted before the events:
Our website is also a great way to stay up to date:
Event Calendar:
Thanks for coming!
[12:56] Corona Anatine: only some of it
[12:56] Corona Anatine: i can make a nc
[12:56] Maggie: The reason I asked is the author used a lot research material in her book and a lot of it sounded familiar with what you said.
[12:56] Chraeloos: The transcript will be posted on the blog as well
[12:56] Rhiannon of the Birds: Corona, that would be great
[12:56] Corona Anatine: but it will need a bit of preparing
[12:56] Rhiannon of the Birds: hi gevroe
[12:56] Chraeloos: There’s also references and nc from last week if anyone missed it
[12:57] Chraeloos: just ask me and I’ll send them your way
[12:57] Corona Anatine: give me a day or two
[12:57] Evie: but to be a shaman requires radical change inside as it were
[12:57] gevroe: Hi
[12:57] gevroe: 🙂
[12:57] Chraeloos: Hey Gevroe
[12:57] gevroe: 🙂 Hey Chra
[12:57] Corona Anatine: i will be adding the ref to the nc and that will be sent to the groups
[12:58] Corona Anatine: sometimes yes
[12:58] Corona Anatine: some are born shaman
[12:58] Gilles Kuhn: what group will be noticed?
[12:58] Corona Anatine: the literature does suggest
[12:58] Katarina Waco: Thank you, Corona, for the presentation. I gotta go, RL calls. have a nice day all.
[12:58] Chraeloos: Thanks for coming Kat 🙂
[12:58] Evie: there are great changes you to make within your consciousness to become a shaman
[12:58] Corona Anatine: that one of the characteristics of shaman was that they had gender dysphoria
[12:59] Corona Anatine: as cross-dressing is a frequent occurrence
[12:59] Corona Anatine: but that is a worth a whole evening to itself
[12:59] Evie: excuse me
[12:59] Chraeloos: tc Evie 🙂
[13:00] Rhiannon of the Birds: Awesome, Corona, but I need to go. Thanks for this. And you too, Chrae for hosting
[13:00] Chraeloos: thanks Rhia, take care
[13:00] Corona Anatine: yvw
[13:00] Rhiannon of the Birds: u 2
[13:00] Rhiannon of the Birds: Bye birric, Ghilles
[13:00] Maggie: See ya Rhiannon
[13:00] Gilles Kuhn: bye rhi
[13:00] Rhiannon of the Birds: Karl, thank you too; you do a great service


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