Weaving modern minds: A cognitive approach to basketry in prehistory

 

Dr Helen Anderson (University of East Anglia)

Weaving modern minds: A cognitive approach to basketry in prehistory

Basketry does not preserve well in the archaeological record and so our knowledge of when and where basket-making processes first emerge is unclear. Impressions in clay at the site of Dolni Vestonice in the Czech Republic shows evidence of sophisticated textile production and basketry at around 26,000 BP. However, due to the very specific conditions in which organic materials survive, basketry may be much older. Therefore, this paper focuses on indirect evidence, such as particular behaviours and artefacts visible in the archaeological record, which may suggest the practice of basketry has its roots much earlier. The enquiry has implications for our understanding of the early cognitive abilities of modern humans. Basketry may appear a simple technology, but incorporates a synthesis of neural processes engaging visuo-motor skills, as well capacities involved in numeracy, learning, memory, and imitation. Understanding the neural correlates of basket-making has the potential to inform our model of the development of human cognition in prehistory.

 





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