The arts provide a key avenue of insight into ancient human behavior and symbolic evolution. In this lecture we will review some of the evidence and analysis of how our ancestors of the later Ice Age used the material and visual world to create meanings, to develop and solidify social relationships, and to become “effective world settlers.” The scope of what we call “Paleolithic art” will be a focus because it is such a well-preserved collection of material and so many new and exciting ways of studying it have developed over the past years.
Margaret W. Conkey, Ph.D., is Professor Emerita at the University of California, Berkeley, where she has taught for more than thirty years. She has worked primarily in southwest Europe and currently co-directs the excavations at a unique open air site (Peyre Blanque) dating to 17,000 years ago in the French Pyrénées. She has served as president of the Society for American Archaeology and the Archaeology Division of the Association for Feminist Anthropology section of the American Anthropological Association. Dr. Conkey has been engaged in the interpretation of Paleolithic art for more than 40 years, including her own detailed analyses of the portable art of our Ice Age ancestors. Dr. Conkey is the 2016 recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Society for American Archaeology, and will receive the Huxley Medal of the Royal Anthropological Society in 2017. She received her MA and PhD degrees in anthropology from the University of Chicago.
This program presented in partnership with The Leakey Foundation, and with generous support from Columbia College Chicago.