Researching the Origins of Art. Religion, and Mind
About OriginsNet

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About OriginsNet

Theory and Methods

Overview of Four Eras of Evolution
of Art, Religion, Mind and Psyche


,,,,,Early Paleolithic

,,,,,Middle Paleolithic

.....Upper Paleolithic

Publications and Studies (PDF files)

OriginsNet BLOG - New Discoveries, New Theories

What is the earliest human art?
What are the most primordial forms of human religion and spirituality?
What were the first human symbols and metaphors?
What are the stages in the evolution of mind?
What are the deep strata of the human psyche?

The purpose of this website is to catalog the extensive archaeological evidence supporting the hypothesis that the origins, emergence and prehistory of 'art', 'religion', 'language' and other symbolic behaviors begin over 2 million years ago in human evolution. This catalog challenges any theory that believes such behaviors only began in the Middle Paleolithic after around 80,000 years ago or in some sort of 'creative explosion' after about 50,000 years ago and testified to by the Eurocentric ice age cave art of France and Spain.

On the basis of recent discoveries in palaeoanthropology, protolinguistics and related sciences, OriginsNet argues for a new paradigm. We believe that the archaeological record provides evidence that art-making, religion, and language have been evolving throughout the almost 3,000,000 years of hominid evolution. The evidence indicates that there were four major stages of human physical, technological, art, and mind evolution--four diasporas out of Africa--during the three million year evolution of human consciousness.

Some of the artifacts presented here are well-known; many were published in peer-reviewed journals but overlooked by those holding to the short-chronologies.

We believe that palaeoart, including petroglyphs, rock paintings, engraved portable art, stone sculptures and stone arrangements, constitutes the shared heritage of humanity and offers humanity a potential source for hope and revisioning symbols for our emergent planetary society.

The OriginsNet Website

The OriginsNet website has over 30 galleries and over 500 images of Paleolithic art ('palaeoart') covering all four eras of the Paleolithic. The site contains basic information about the four Paleolithic eras and their respective key sites and technologies. The site has a Publications page with research writings on the origins and evolution of art, religion and language. They are provided in PDF and MS Word formats.

Interpreting and understanding the significance and meaning of palaeoart objects will require new interdisciplinary theories and models which draw upon archaeology, paleontology, anthropology, linguistics, semiotics, art history, history of religions, mythology, psychology and neurobiology.

OriginsNet is currently highlighting the work of OriginsNet's manager and webmaster, James Harrod, Ph.D., and others around the world who are researching the origins of art, religion, and symbolic meaning deep in the Paleolithic.

OriginsNet seeks to promote international communication and collaboration among origins researchers by hosting a clearinghouse, an image bulletin board and forum for identifying and interpreting examples of palaeoart and protolanguage.

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