Chapter

Excavating the Prehistoric Mind: The Brain as a Cultural Artefact and Material Culture as Biological Extension

Steven Mithen

in Social Brain, Distributed Mind

Published by British Academy

Published in print April 2010 | ISBN: 9780197264522
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734724 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5871/bacad/9780197264522.003.0022

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

Excavating the Prehistoric Mind: The Brain as a Cultural Artefact and Material Culture as Biological Extension

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The adoption of an explicitly cognitive approach has become prominent in archaeological research during the last decade, helping to place Palaeolithic archaeology into a driving role in the development of archaeological theory and developing inter-disciplinarity with the cognitive sciences. Two prominent approaches have emerged: the social brain hypothesis and the distributed mind. Precisely how these can be integrated into a single, unified approach for the study of the evolution and nature of the human mind remains unclear, if indeed it is desirable to do so. This chapter reflects on the emergence of these approaches within archaeology and comments upon their relative strengths and weakness.

Keywords: archaeological research; Palaeolithic archaeology; social brain hypothesis; distributed mind; human mind

Chapter.  5817 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Psychology

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