Middle palaeolithic ‘creativity’: Reflections on an oxymoron?

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


When the editor of this volume first proposed the idea of writing a chapter on Neanderthal creativity, the initial reaction was that it would be a very short chapter indeed. The archaeological record of Neanderthals seems at first glance to provide little raw material for an essay on innovation. The Mousterian of Eurasia, the cultural period associated with the Neanderthals, is conspicuously bereft of evidence for artistic or aesthetic expression. Moreover, compared to later time periods, both artefacts and technology are remarkably uniform across space and stable over time during the Mousterian (Klein 1989:296; Mellars 1989). Innovation is not usually the first word that comes to mind when one thinks of the Mousterian, but this makes the Mousterian all the more interesting from the perspective of the current volume. Attempting to account for the apparent absence of creativity in the material culture of the Neanderthals and other archaic hominids begs an examination of the general conditions that foster and encourage such creativity among later humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCreativity in Human Evolution and Prehistory
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)0203978625, 9781134720132
ISBN (Print)0415160960, 9780415160964
StatePublished - Jan 1 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Arts and Humanities(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Middle palaeolithic ‘creativity’: Reflections on an oxymoron?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this