Venus figurines, Indonesian art and the interconnectedness of the Stone Age

The Venus figurines were manufactured across Europe for tens of thousands of years during the stone age. How could ideas like this spread before mass movement, mass media and mass hysteria?

Why did language evolve?

Language is important to us modern humans so asking why it evolved seems like a silly question. After all, surely we can think of numerous benefits of language that drove its evolution in our ancestors. However, idle speculation is not good enough for science. We need data! Which of the many benefits to language we…

Cave art: A creationist hoax

In 1879 Marcelino Sanz de Sautuola was conducting an archaeological excavation of the entrance to Altamira Cave, Spain. He’d just returned from a French conference on prehistory and was determined to make some discoveries of his own. Whilst he uncovered some Magdalenian tools (which we now know date to ~15,000 years ago) it was his daughter who made…

“Christmas parties” of the Upper Palaeolithic

I’ve previously discussed how one of the lesser known reasons forHomo sapienssuccess, particularly at higher latitudes, is our ability to divide a large group into several smaller groups to more efficiently gather resources from an area. However, an even lesser known fact is that these groups are themselves part of a large social structure which…

A brief (pre)history of art

The facts of this post are currently disputed An appreciation of aesthetics seems to be an old trait in hominins. Ironically perhaps it seems to be older than the production of these aesthetics themselves. As early as Australopithecus it seems our ancestors had an appreciation for the look of certain objects since a face-shaped rock…