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date: 16 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article discusses the archaeology of religion and ritual in the Lower and Middle Palaeolithic, focusing on the pre-modern hominins of the genera Australopithecus, Paranthropus, and Homo. The history of current world religions carries two major observations for the emergence of extant religions over the course of human evolution. First, these ‘truths’ were ‘revealed’ only to Homo sapiens; and secondly, from the perspective of the longevity of humans on the planet they were revealed suddenly, and very late. The lesson is that religions will, over deep time, come and go, contextualized in specific societal constructs. All of the direct information we have pertaining to religion relates solely to one human species, and it may therefore not be justifiable to draw any specific conclusions from this that has relevance to cognitively pre-modern hominins.

Keywords: archaeology, pre-modern hominins, Australopithecus, Paranthropus, Homo, humans

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