The NYU Center for Ancient Studies, the Center for the Study of Human Origins, the University Arts Council, the Department of Anthropology, and the Centre Cartailhac, Maison des Sciences de l'Homme et de la Société, Université de Toulouse Jean Jaurès present
The Ranieri Colloquium on Ancient Studies
Understanding the Origins of the Arts: Expressive Culture of Early Homo sapiens
Thursday and Friday, April 26-27, 2018
Silver Center for Arts and Science, Hemmerdinger Hall
32 Waverly Place or 31 Washington Place (wheelchair access)
Like an old-fashioned photograph, our archaeological knowledge of art origins has been “developing” over the past century with some elements being clearly in focus and others still emerging. Until recently, intense scholarly interest has been forced to rely on an archaeological record recovered decades ago when most sites relevant to an understanding of this important cultural/biological threshold were excavated by pre-modern techniques.
The situation has dramatically changed in recent years, both conceptually and methodologically. There is an emerging recognition that the arts, far from being epiphenomenal, have played a key role in the recent evolution of our species. Several sites yielding the earliest known engravings, paintings, sculptures, personal ornaments and musical instruments have now been excavated using the finegrained methods of modern prehistoric archaeology. Moreover, there has been significant progress in the neural sciences, allowing a much better understanding of the neurological processes accompanying artistic creation and esthetic response.
Traditionally, the focus of such research has been on the western Eurasian record, and that rich record will certainly be a highlight of the Colloquium. However, we now know that modern people of African origin had dispersed to SE Asia and Australia as early as 50,000 years ago. Consequently, the conference will take into account the archaeological records for the arts of those areas, as well as that of the African homeland of our species.
Program to be announced.
For more information, contact the NYU Center for Ancient Studies at 212.992.7978 or at email@example.com