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Landscape of the MindHuman Evolution and the Archaeology of Thought$
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John Hoffecker

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780231147040

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231147040.001.0001

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The Upper Paleolithic as History

The Upper Paleolithic as History

(p.104) 4 The Upper Paleolithic as History
Landscape of the Mind

John F. Hoffecker

Columbia University Press

This chapter begins by illustrating V. Gordon Childe's role in shifting the subject of archaeology from artifacts to people. In his book Society and Knowledge, Childe presents a theory of progress based on the observation that human societies increase their mastery of the environment by creating new technologies. The book's central theme is human creativity, which Childe used as framework for interpreting archaeological records as a historical narrative. The archaeological record of the first 40,000 years of the modern mind is referred to as the Upper Paleolithic. The chapter reviews how Upper Paleolithic history recognizes the accumulation of knowledge as the essence of the historical process. By the later stages of the period, humans came to understand more about biology, chemistry, and physics, while artifacts have progressed over time—all of which provide a record of how knowledge was developed during the Upper Paleolithic.

Keywords:   Upper Paleolithic, V. Gordon Childe, Society and Knowledge, human creativity, archaeological records, historical narrative

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