Pearson brings a cogent, well-argued case for the understanding of much prehistoric art as shamanistic practice. Using the theoretical premises of cognitive archaeology and a careful examination of rock art worldwide, Pearson is able to dismiss other theories of why ancient peoples produced art_totemism, art-for-art's sake, structuralism, hunting magic. Then examining both ethnographic and neuropsychological evidence, he makes a strong case for the use of shamanistic ritual and hallucinogenic substances as the genesis of much prehistoric art. Bolstered with examples from contemporary cultures and archaeological sites around the world, Pearson's thesis should be of interest not only to archaeologists, but art historians, psychologists, cultural anthropologist, and the general public.
James L. Pearson has a Ph.D. in archaeology from University of California, Santa Barbara. He became an archaeologist after a long career as a business executive and is now working toward bringing archaeology to the general public.
Chapter 1 Foreword by Brian Fagan Chapter 2 Introduction Chapter 3 Antecedents to Cognitive Archaeology Chapter 4 The Roots of Cognitive Archaeology Chapter 5 The Tools of Cognitive Archaeology Chapter 6 The Evolution of Rock Art Research Chapter 7 Rock Art Research in the Americas Chapter 8 Shamanism Chapter 9 Using the Tools of Cognitive Archaeology Chapter 10 The Non-Archaeological Case for Shamanism Chapter 11 The Archaeological Evidence for Shamanism Chapter 12 Summary and Conclusions