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By John R. Hinnells

Historical civilisations workout an extreme fascination for individuals across the world. This instruction manual offers a bright, scholarly, and eminently readable account of historic cultures world wide, from China to India, the center East, Egypt, Europe, and the Americas. It examines the advance of spiritual trust from the time of the Palaeolithic cave work to the Aztecs and Incas. protecting the entire of society not only the elite, the guide outlines the historical past of the various societies in order that their faith and tradition will be understood in context. each one bankruptcy comprises dialogue of the large box of appropriate reviews alerting the reader to wider debates on each one topic. a global crew of students show their very own deep enthusiasm for his or her topic and supply a different examine of either renowned and 'official' faith within the old global.

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Paint was almost certainly much more than purely the technical substance that westerners consider it to be. It probably had its own power, a suggestion supported by some ethnographic accounts of rock painting. The ritual sequence of which the making of handprints was only a part probably began with the collection of the ingredients of the paint, mixing them, taking them ritually underground, and then using the paint for ‘sealing’ someone’s hand into the rock. Whether this sequence was part of a vision quest or another ritual altogether is hard to say.

Other remains clearly cannot be explained as the result of ‘practical’ activities. Deposits of objects, such as bear teeth or teeth of other animals, shells, flints or antlers, in small cavities in the walls almost certainly testify to ritual practices. After attention had been drawn to them in some Pyrenean caves (B´egou¨en and Clottes 1981), such discoveries became common. In the Magdalenian caves 22 Jean Clottes and David Lewis-Williams of Enl`ene, Montespan, Troubat, B´edeilhac, Portel, Tuc d’Audoubert, all in the Pyrenees, many small pieces of bone were found forcibly thrust into cracks in the cave wall.

Finally, the Apse is situated over the Shaft, at the bottom of which is the celebrated group comprising an apparently bird-headed anthropomorph, a ‘wounded’ bison, what may be a bird-headed staff and other images. There is some debate about the location of the prehistoric entrance to Lascaux and as to whether the Shaft was accessible from the Apse in ancient times. Comparing Lascaux with Gabillou brings out a number of significant points about Upper Palaeolithic religion. We note but a few. Both caves have chambers where communal rituals probably took place.

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