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Metaphor and Materiality in Early Prehistory.

Coward, F. and Gamble, C., 2010. Metaphor and Materiality in Early Prehistory. In: Malafouris, L. and Renfrew, C., eds. Cognitive Life of Things: recasting the boundaries of the mind. Cambridge, England: McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research.

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Coward & Gamble 2010 metaphor.pdf - Published Version



In this paper we argue for a relational perspective based on metaphorical rather than semiotic understandings of human and hominin1 material culture. The corporeality of material culture and thus its role as solid metaphors for a shared experience of embodiment precedes language in the archaeological record. While arguments continue as to both the cognitive abilities that underpin symbolism and the necessary and sufficient evidence for the identification of symbolic material culture in the archaeological record, a symbolic approach will inevitably restrict the available data to sapiens or even to literate societies. However, a focus on material culture as material metaphor allows the consideration of the ways in which even the very earliest archaeological record reflects hominins’ embodied, distributed relationships with heterogeneous forms of agent, as will be demonstrated by two case studies.

Item Type:Book Section
Series Name:McDonald Institute Monographs
Number of Pages:208
Uncontrolled Keywords:Cognitive evolution ; Stone tool manufacture ; Prehistoric subsistence ; Palaeolithic
Group:Faculty of Science & Technology
ID Code:20595
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:04 Feb 2013 11:09
Last Modified:14 Mar 2022 13:46


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