Deciphering Ancient Minds - D. Lewis-Williams & S. Challis
Deciphering Ancient Minds: The Mystery of San Bushman Rock Art by D. Lewis-Williams & S. Challis looks at how ancient peoples think and whether their thinking patterns were fundamentally different from ours today. Along with the Aborigines of Australia, the indigenous San people of Southern Africa were viewed as either irrational fantasists or childlike, highly spiritual conservationists.
Since the 1960s a new wave of research among the San and their world-famous rock art has overturned these ideas. David Lewis-Williams and Sam Challis reveal how analysis of the rock paintings and engravings can be made to yield vital insights into San beliefs and ways of thought. This is possible because we possess comprehensive transcriptions, made in the nineteenth century, of interviews with San informants who were shown copies of the art and gave their interpretations of it. The picture that emerges is very different from past analysis: this art is not a naïve narrative of daily life but rather is imbued with power and religious depth.