Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 02 December 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter traces early expressions of symbolic behaviour:—rock art, personal ornaments, occurrences of ochre, notational pieces, and mortuary practices—across the southern arc dispersal route of modern humans out of Africa to Sahul, from some 70–60,000 years ago. These aspects of symbolic behaviour do not display a consistent pattern of appearance along the southern arc, and dates for their appearance/preservation do not become progressively more recent as modern humans moved east out of Africa. These results are explained using the demographic, social, and symbolic framework proposed to account for geographical and chronological patterning observed in the ‘package’ of traits reflecting modern human behaviour. In this model, the appearance of symbolic behaviour is determined by levels of local/regional population pressure necessitating (or not) the need for identity signalling, ‘bonding’ behaviour/open social networks, and ‘bounding’ or emblemic behaviour/closed social networks.

Keywords: Southern arc – symbolic behaviour – rock art – mortuary practices – ochre – personal ornaments

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.