MDSA02H3 Midterm: MDSA02 - Midterm Study Guide

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10 Jul 2012

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Different symbols and signs used in the lower, middle paleolithic and upper paleolithic period. The use of symbols is a characteristic of human behavior. Humans have also communicated by signs as well. Symbols are ephemeral (lasting a very short time), so they do not survive the societies that create them. The meaning they carry is arbitrary (determined by chance). Ex: colour black which reminds us of death in our culture may as well stand for life in another culture. In the upper paleolithic and the mesolithic the same symbolic tradition continued. The function of the paleolithic and mesolithic incised (engraved) bones and animal representations can only be hypothesized (theorized). Andre leroi-gourhan (french archaeologist) argued that these animal figures were symbols loaded with a deep meaning. Early days of archaeology, the notched bones have been interpreted as tallies, each notch representing one item of which to keep track.

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