"This volume is a compilation of David Lewis-Williams' seminal papers. Though his data are primarily the rock art of the San (bushmen) of southern Africa and the cave art of the European Paleolithic, this book equally is about archaeological method and especially theory. Even more, it represents an intellectual achievement of the greatest historical importance. In these papers Lewis-Williams bridges the longest-lived divide in our western intellectual tradition, the opposition between science, religion and art, showing how science is necessary to understand art and religion, and how any apprehension of human social life likewise must foreground the importance of religion and art." — David S. Whitley
J. David Lewis-Williams is world renowned for his work on the rock art of Southern Africa. In this volume, he describes the key steps in his evolving journey to understand these images painted on stone. A Cosmos in Stone traces the development of technical methods of interpreting rock paintings in the 1970s, shows how a growing understanding of San mythology, cosmology, and ethnography helped decode the complex paintings, and traces the development of neuropsychological models for understanding the relationship between belief systems and rock art. The author also applies his theories to the famous rock paintings of prehistoric Western Europe in an attempt to develop a comprehensive theory of rock art. For students of rock art, archaeology, ethnography, comparative religion, and art history, Lewis-Williams' book is a provocative read and an important reference.
J. David Lewis-Williams is Director of the Rock Art Research Institute at University of Witwatersrand, South Africa, and is known internationally for his studies of South African rock art.