Paleolithic Art: Ecological Interpretations Analytical Essay by Nicky

An analytical essay on the various modes of ecological interpretation of paleolithic art.
# 150012 | 1,765 words | 5 sources | APA | 2012 | US
Published on Jan 18, 2012 in Art (History) , Archaeology (General)

$19.95 Buy and instantly download this paper now


This article provides an analysis on the archeological perspectives taken towards paleolithic art. Pulling largely from an essay by Steven Mithen's, the writer posits the meaning and value of many of Mithen's observations on the study of paleolithic art. Using many examples and quotes from the essays text, the reader concludes that Mithen's is correct in the belief that understanding and interpreting such era's of art cannot be subject to conventional or modern analysis. Rather, the writer follows Mithen's argument that a holistic interpretation is necessary.

Mithen's Ecological Approach
Discussion and Comparisons

From the Paper:

"In the sense that Mithen interprets ecology it refers to the connections between, for example, the social patterning in the culture and art creation and production. He directly links human adaptation to social interaction. Mithen expands on this view and envisages the term ecology as encompassing a wide web or network of interactions and relationships within the society. In other words the ecological model is one that can be extremely useful in the interpretation of ancient cultural artifacts and creations.
"Mithen goes on to state that we can use the ecological models to understand the fact that there was no real division in Paleolithic culture between art, society and economy. He asserts that such distinctions are essentiality "artificial". (Mithen, 1996, p. 80) This stance tends to contradict to a certain extent other theoretical views, such as the Marxist mode of interpretation, where divisions in society are used as a basis of understanding and interpretation. In contrast, the ecological model that Mithen suggests is one that is extremely holistic and inclusive in its interactive intention. The author continually emphasizes the importance of understanding connections and interconnections between different aspects or parts of a culture and their significance in the interpretations of the archeological art."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Hodder, I., & Hutson, S., 2003, Reading the Past: Current Approaches to Interpretation in Archaeology (3rd ed.), Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.
  • Faris, J., 1983, 'From Form to Content in the Structural Study of Aesthetic Systems', in D. Washburn (ed.), Structure and Cognition in Art, Cambridge University Press, London.
  • Flannery, K. V, and Marcus, J., 1976, 'Formative Oaxaca and the Zapotec Cosmos', American Scientist, volume 64, pp.374-83.
  • Mithen, S, 1996, 'Ecological interpretations of Paleolithic Art' in Robert Preucel and Ian Hodder (eds.) Contemporary Archaeology in Theory: A reader, Blackwell, Oxford.
  • Rappaport, R. A., 1971, 'Ritual, Sanctity, and Cybernetics', American Anthropologist, volume 73, pp. 59-76.

Cite this Analytical Essay:

APA Format

Paleolithic Art: Ecological Interpretations (2012, January 18) Retrieved February 27, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Paleolithic Art: Ecological Interpretations" 18 January 2012. Web. 27 February. 2021. <>