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Do., 27. Jan.



Webinar by Chris Low (!Khwa ttu San Heritage Centre, Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford)

Title: Rethinking symbolism and human origins - with relation to the San


27. Jan. 2022, 15:00 MEZ



Miss the talk? To watch this webinar click here.

In the search for origins answers, it has become common practice to link  the arrival of people who think like us to the arrival of a suite of  characteristics, most prominent of which is symbolic thinking. The  significance of symbolism is further emphasised by some archaeologists  who recognise symbolic behaviour as a proxy for syntactical language. In  recent decades archaeologists in South Africa have repeatedly  recognised beads from certain key South African sites as some of the  earliest examples of 'explicitly symbolic ornaments'. In  this talk I draw on over 20 years of working with the San on issues of  medicine and human environmental relationships to argue that the  arguments archaeolgists make around beads and symbolism make little  sense in San contexts. This leads me to question, firstly, whether we  need more nuanced discussion of symbolism and secondly, just who the  'we' is when archaeologist look for people who think 'like us' in the  archaeolgocial record.

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