Paleolithic Art: Ecological Interpretations Mithen's Thesis

Excerpt from Thesis :

This interpretation would therefore tend to suggest a view of the art that shows cultural and social disparities between classes and social groups in the society.

3. Conclusion

In the final analysis what is clear that Mithen's approach holds a great deal of potential for an understanding of past cultures and societies from an archeological perspective. This interpretive stance is valuable in that it takes into account a wide ranging and inclusive understanding of the concept of ecology. Mithen's view is both logical and consistent with contemporary approaches in other disciplines in its emphasis on holistic and integrative views and interpretations of reality. Another benefit of this stance is that it brings to bear a host of different disciplines and perspectives that can help to unravel the mysteries encapsulated in the artifacts of the past.

However, while holistic thinking and integration are useful conceptual tools for research one should not discount other approaches that may provide useful insights into the past -- such as the Marxist approach put forward by Faris and others. On the one hand the Marxist view may be critiqued as being too biased towards criteria of modern societal analysis that may distort the past. As postmodern analysis and deconstruction have pointed out, a perennial problem in research is that the past is re-presented and distorted in terms of the concepts and thinking of today. Mithens' stance may also be critiqued in the same way. On balance however, Mithen's ecological interpretation offers a wide range of possibilities and is a theoretical stance that is more open and amenable to various possibilities of analysis. It is therefore a very useful analytical tool in research of this nature.

Bibliography

Hodder, I., & Hutson, S., 2003, Reading the Past: Current Approaches to Interpretation in Archaeology (3rd ed.), Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.

Faris, J., 1983, 'From Form to Content in the Structural Study of Aesthetic Systems', in D. Washburn (ed.), Structure and Cognition in Art, Cambridge University Press, London.

Flannery, K. V, and Marcus, J., 1976, 'Formative Oaxaca and the Zapotec…

Sources Used in Document:

Bibliography

Hodder, I., & Hutson, S., 2003, Reading the Past: Current Approaches to Interpretation in Archaeology (3rd ed.), Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.

Faris, J., 1983, 'From Form to Content in the Structural Study of Aesthetic Systems', in D. Washburn (ed.), Structure and Cognition in Art, Cambridge University Press, London.

Flannery, K. V, and Marcus, J., 1976, 'Formative Oaxaca and the Zapotec Cosmos',

American Scientist, volume 64, pp.374-83.

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