Understanding Religion Evolution per Damien’s speculations from the evidence:

Pre-Animism (at least 300,000 years ago) possibly Africa, Middle East, and Eurasia

Animism (at least 100,000 years ago) possibly Southern Africa or maybe Central Africa

Totemism (at least 50,000/45,000 years ago) possibly around Germany, France, or somewhere in West Europe

Shamanism (at least 30,000/35,000 years ago) possibly West Siberia or East Russia

Paganism (at least 12,000/13,000 years ago) Turkey And/or Levant: “Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria”

Progressed organized religion (at least 5,000 years ago), (Egypt, the First Dynasty 5,150 years ago)


I think animism started 100,000 years ago, totemism 50,000-45,000 years ago, and shamanism 30,000-35,000 years ago.

Animism (simplified to me as a belief in a perceived spirit world) passably by at least 100,000 years ago “the primal stage of early religion” To me, Animistic Somethingism: You just feel/think there has to be something supernatural/spirit-world or feel/think things are supernatural/spirit-filled.

Totemism (simplified to me, as a belief that these perceived spirits could be managed or related with by created physical expressions) passably by at least 50,000 years ago “progressed stage of early religion” A totem is a representational spirit being, a sacred object, or symbol of a group of people, clan, or tribe.

Shamanism (simplified to me as a belief that some special person can commune with these perceived spirits on the behalf of others by way of rituals) passably by at least 30,000 years ago Shamanism is an otherworld connection belief thought to heal the sick, communicate with spirits/deities, and escort souls of the dead.

Pre-Animism: Portable Rock Art at least 300,000-year-old

Rock Art Museum’s, Art Collection as well as their take on animism: Link

Here is Rock Art Museum’s, main gallery is here Link

Lower Paleolithic Figure (ANCESTOR?) Stones?

Face made around 450,000 to 300,000 years before present, The Netherlands. ref

Pre-Animism: Portable Rock Art at least 300,000-year-old some possibly up to 500,000 years ago. This Pre-Animism, to me, involves “animistic superstitionism”, I surmise, which leads to the animistic somethingism or animistic supernaturalism that is presented in today’s religions and is a representation of general Animism that is at least 100,000 years old.

Five types of ancient art sculpture

Flint ‘portrait’ from the Ohle gravel pit which is likely 423,000 -524,000 years old Similar profile heads from the Ohle pit. Center is the primary piece which is sometimes called ‘Sorrowful Man.’ Height, 13.2cm; Width, 9.6cm. ref

One of the most productive sites for Early Paleolithic figurines is the Ohle gravel pit, Groß Pampau, near Hamburg, Germany, from Elster glacial moraine basal gravels and the artifacts from these gravels can be dated to 478,000 -524,000 years ago, 423,000 -478,000, or generally about 500,000 to 400,000 years ago. There appears to be some reworking of artifacts suggests a time around 362,000 -423,000 years ago with associated tools from the Middle Acheulian style and early Later Acheulian quality, suggesting that some are around 500,000 years ago or older. The preponderance of Abbevillian and early Later Acheulian type tools at Pampau and their setting in the Elster moraine suggest that the Pampau palaeo-art is basically Later Acheulian period and thus the Ohle Elster gravels palaeo-art might be considered one of the oldest examples of palaeo-art in the world. It at least puts the Ohle site in a time frame comparable to the accepted Later Acheulian figurines from Tan-Tan, Morocco, 300,000 -500,000 years ago or older and Berekhat Ram, from Israel, dates to around 233,000-470,000. ref

The Venus of Berekhat Ram is a seeming female figure, anthropomorphic red tufic pebble, 35 mm (1.4 in) long found at Berekhat Ram on the Golan Heights, Israel between two layers of ash, at least 230,000 years ago and likely 300,000 years ago or older maybe up to 500,000 years ago. Rather than being made by modern humans, it would have been made by Neanderthals or perhaps by Homo erectus, hunter-gatherers and Acheulean tool users. ref

Tan-Tan sculpture from Morocco, North Africa part of the Acheulian stone tool culture, dating to 500,000-300,000 years old, resembling a human figure and was found near stone tools seeming to express its cultural importance. ref

My thoughts on Religion Evolution with external links for more info:

Homo naledi may have lit fires in underground caves at least 236,000 years ago

“Remnants of small fireplaces found in South African cave system, researchers announce. An ancient hominid dubbed Homo naledi may have lit controlled fires in the pitch-dark chambers of an underground cave system, new discoveries hint. Researchers have found remnants of small fireplaces and sooty wall and ceiling smudges in passages and chambers throughout South Africa’s Rising Star cave complex, paleoanthropologist Lee Berger announced in a December 1 lecture hosted by the Carnegie Institution of Science in Washington, D.C. “Signs of fire use are everywhere in this cave system,” said Berger, of the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.” ref

refrefrefrefrefref ,ref ,ref ,ref ,refrefref 

Homo Naledi

Homo Naledi is a species of archaic human discovered in the Rising Star CaveCradle of Humankind, South Africa dating to the Middle Pleistocene 335,000–236,000 years ago. The initial discovery comprises 1,550 specimens, representing 737 different elements, and at least 15 different individuals. Despite this exceptionally high number of specimens, their classification with other Homo remains unclear.” ref

“Along with similarities to contemporary Homo, they share several characteristics with the ancestral Australopithecus and early Homo as well (mosaic anatomy), most notably a small cranial capacity of 465–610 cm3 (28.4–37.2 cu in), compared to 1,270–1,330 cm3 (78–81 cu in) in modern humans. They are estimated to have averaged 143.6 cm (4 ft 9 in) in height and 39.7 kg (88 lb) in weight, yielding a small encephalization quotient of 4.5. Nonetheless, Homo Naledi’s brain anatomy seems to have been similar to contemporary Homo, which could indicate equatable cognitive complexity. The persistence of small-brained humans for so long in the midst of bigger-brained contemporaries revises the previous conception that a larger brain would necessarily lead to an evolutionary advantage, and their mosaic anatomy greatly expands the known range of variation for the genus.” ref

“Homo Naledi anatomy indicates that, though they were capable of long-distance travel with a humanlike stride and gait, they were more arboreal than other Homo, better adapted to climbing and suspensory behavior in trees than endurance running. Tooth anatomy suggests consumption of gritty foods covered in particulates such as dust or dirt. Though they have not been associated with stone tools or any indication of material culture, they appear to have been dextrous enough to produce and handle tools, and likely manufactured Early or Middle Stone Age industries. It has also been controversially postulated that these individuals were given funerary rites, and were carried into and placed in the chamber.” ref

Pre-Animism: Portable Rock Art at least 300,000-year-old

“Ancient Art History Lecture”

Pre-Animism: Portable Rock Art at least 300,000-year-old some possibly up to 500,000 years ago.

This Pre-Animism, to me, involves “animistic superstitionism”, I surmise, which leads to the animistic somethingism or animistic supernaturalism that is presented in today’s religions and is a representation of general Animism that is at least 100,000 years old.

Pre-Animism (at least 300,000 years ago)

Around a million years ago, I surmise that Pre-Animism, “animistic superstitionism”, began, Around 400,000 Years ago shows Sociocultural Evolution, and then led to the animistic somethingism or animistic supernaturalism, which is at least 300,000 years old and about 100,00 years ago, it evolves to a representation of general Animism, which is present in today’s religions. There is also Homo Naledi and an Intentional Cemetery “Pre-Animism” dating to around 250,000 years ago. And, Neanderthals “Primal Religion (Pre-Animism/Animism?)” Mystery Cave Rings 175,000 Years Ago. Neanderthals were the first humans to intentionally bury the dead, around 130,000 years ago at sites such as Krapina in Croatia.

Pre-animism ideas can be seen in rock art such as that expressed in portable anthropomorphic art, which may be related to some kind of ancestor veneration. This magical thinking may stem from a social or non-religious function of ancestor veneration, which cultivates kinship values such as filial piety, family loyalty, and continuity of the family lineage. Ancestor veneration occurs in societies with every degree of social, political, and technological complexity and it remains an important component of various religious practices in modern times.

Humans are not the only species, which bury their dead. The practice has been observed in chimpanzees, elephants, and possibly dogs. Intentional burial, particularly with grave goods, signify a “concern for the dead” and Neanderthals were the first human species to practice burial behavior and intentionally bury their dead, doing so in shallow graves along with stone tools and animal bones. Exemplary sites include Shanidar in Iraq, Kebara Cave in Israel and Krapina in Croatia. The earliest undisputed human burial dates back 100,000 years ago with remains stained with red ochre, which show ritual intentionality similar to the Neanderthals before them. refref

Animism (such as that seen in Africa: 100,000 years ago)

Did Neanderthals teach us “Primal Religion (Pre-Animism/Animism?)” 120,000 Years Ago? Homo sapiens – is known to have reached the Levant between 120,000 and 90,000 years ago, but that exit from Africa evidently went extinct. 100,000 years ago, in Qafzeh, Israel, the oldest intentional burial had 15 African individuals covered in red ocher was from a group who visited and returned back to Africa. 100,000 to 74,000 years ago, at Border Cave in Africa, an intentional burial of an infant with red ochre and a shell ornament, which may have possible connections to the Africans buried in Qafzeh.

Animism is approximately a 100,000-year-old belief system and believe in spirit-filled life and/or afterlife. If you believe like this, regardless of your faith, you are a hidden animist.

The following is evidence of Animism: 100,000 years ago, in Qafzeh, Israel, the oldest intentional burial had 15 African individuals covered in red ocher was from a group who visited and returned back to Africa. 100,000 to 74,000 years ago, at Border Cave in Africa, an intentional burial of an infant with red ochre and a shell ornament, which may have possible connections to the Africans buried in Qafzeh, Israel. 120,000 years ago, did Neanderthals teach us Primal Religion (Pre-Animism/Animism) as they too used red ocher and burials? refref

It seems to me, it may be the Neanderthals who may have transmitted a “Primal Religion (Animism)” or at least burial and thoughts of an afterlife. The Neanderthals seem to express what could be perceived as a Primal “type of” Religion, which could have come first and is supported in how 250,000 years ago, the Neanderthals used red ochre, and 230,000 years ago shows evidence of Neanderthal burial with grave goods and possibly a belief in the afterlife. ref

Do you think it is crazy that the Neanderthals may have transmitted a “Primal Religion”? Consider this, it appears that 175,000 years ago, the Neanderthals built mysterious underground circles with broken-off stalactites. This evidence suggests that the Neanderthals were the first humans to intentionally bury the dead, doing so in shallow graves along with stone tools and animal bones. Exemplary sites include Shanidar in Iraq, Kebara Cave in Israel, and Krapina in Croatia. Other evidence may suggest the  Neanderthals had it transmitted to them by Homo heidelbergensis, 350,000 years ago, by their earliest burial in a shaft pit grave in a cave that had a pink stone ax on the top of 27 Homo heidelbergensis individuals and 250,000 years ago, Homo Naledi had an intentional cemetery in South Africa cave.  refrefrefrefref


Anthropomorphic Pre-animism “Human Face” Art

Figure-stones present in additional objects from the same context as the Belgian Kempen, Belgium, like these stone faces dated to around 450,000 to 300,000 years old. They indicate the eye concavities are natural features but the overall shape of the piece possibly was worked to the final head shape. ref 

ref, ref, ref, ref

Pre-Animism Emergence is No Accident at Least by 300,000-year Ago Was Aided by Evolution
Pre-Animism: “animistic superstitionism”, I surmise, leads to the animistic somethingism, or animistic supernatralism is presented in today’s religions and is a representation of general Animism that is at least 100,000 years old. ref
The Blue on the outside references the size difference between modern human brains and the inside to illustrate regions with surface size increase associated with this gradual shape changes. ref
300,000-year-old Moroccan, North African skulls look shockingly that of Modern Humans and these skulls hold a combination of advanced and archaic features suggesting that these skulls may represent the very root of our Modern Human species. This is further supported in how all Homo sapiens ever found even far beyond Africa trace their ancestral linkages to the Moroccan, North African skulls or at least point as it where in that direction. And seemingly Homo sapiens could have been living across Africa and sem9ingly engaging in extensive movement, which could have involved exchange both in ideas, technology as well as even genetics. ref
300,000-year-old wolf tooth pendant from Repolust Cave, Austria. ref
Pre-animism: Anthropology; “A stage of religious development supposed to have preceded animism, in which material objects were believed to contain spiritual energy.” ref

“Primal Religion (Pre-Animism/Animism?)” or at least burial and thoughts of an afterlife may have been transferred from Neanderthals to arcane humans when they bread with them. Neanderthals, also interbred with Homo erectus, the “upright walking man,” Homo habilis, the “tool-using man,” and possibly others which means they could have possibly learned some pre-animism ideas from one of them like that expressed in portable anthropomorphic art that could have related to so kind of ancestor veneration as well. ref

The earliest European hominin crania associated with Acheulean handaxes are at the sites of Arago, Atapuerca Sima de los Huesos, and Swanscombe, dating to around 500,000 to 400,000 years ago. The Atapuerca fossils and the Swanscombe cranium belong to the Neandertal clade, whereas the Arago hominins have been attributed to an incipient stage of Neandertal evolution, to Homo heidelbergensis, or to a subspecies of Homo erectus A recently discovered cranium (Aroeira 3) from the Gruta da Aroeira (Almonda karst system, Portugal) dating to 436,000 to 390,000 years ago provides important evidence on the earliest European Acheulean-bearing hominins as well as could show a transfer of ideas. ref

Homo erectus, the “upright walking man,” Lived: Between about 1.89 million and 143,000 years ago, whereas, early African Homo erectus fossils (sometimes called Homo ergaster) are the oldest known early humans to have possessed modern human-like. The earliest evidence of hearths (campfires) occur during the time range of Homo erectus. While we have evidence that hearths were used for cooking (and probably sharing) food, they are likely to have been places for social interaction, and also used for warmth and to keep away large predators, possibly even relating to Primal Religion “Pre-Animism, which may have included Fire Sacralizing and/or Worshipref

Neanderthals used fire 400,000 years ago and there is evidence of a 300,000-year-old ‘campfire’ from  Israel not that surprising after our human ancestors controlled fire from 1.5 million to 300,000 years ago and beyond. The benefits of fire are not only to cook food and fend off predators, but also extended their day and added to the community by how a fire in the middle of the darkness mellows and also flames excite people, possibly inspiring pre-animism’s “animistic superstitionism.” Sun-worshipping baboons rise early to catch the African sunrise and race each other to the top for the best spots. Thus, we may rightly ponder how much did fireside tales aid to the socio-cultural-religious transformations or evolution. In the dark under flickering lights both above and below, was the scene a mix of wonder, fear, and mystery that superstition was expanded and religion further imagined? It would seem that superstition was expanded and religion further imagined because both heavenly lights and flickering fire have been sacralized. Which does seem to be somewhat supported by a researcher who spent 40 years studying African Bushmen who gathered evidence of the importance of gathering around a nighttime campfire might be a universally applicable time for bonding, social information, many shared emotions, in fireside tales if we can ascertain a correlation that our prehistoric ancestors likely lived in a similar way to how the Bushmen current do.

Although, we cannot directly peer into the past, or fully know the past from the indigenous Bushmen, these people do live in a way that our ancient ancestors lived for around 99% of our evolution. Therefore, we can somewhat draw some reasonable parallels such as how daytime conversations focused mainly on social relationships with only a small percentage of stories, whereas the evening conversations around campfires centered on storytelling, especially the adding of stories about the spirit world adding possible credence to the thinking that nighttime and its darkness full of fear and or wonder in the flickering lights of fireside allows for more mystical thinking and the tales such an environment can produce which could have aided in socio-cultural-religious transformations or evolution. The importance of water and fire can be a set of hidden factors to human evolution and socio-cultural-religious transformations and involved in many religious themes; lingering primitive animism still seen in current religions.

Fire as sacred or magic can be seen in consuming fire, volcanos/lightning as gods power/vengeance, holy fire, fire as a means of transformation or magical purification or just a magical being itself as well as used in fire worship/worshiping the sun or punishment (hell: lake of  fire which could be seen as mixing fire and water if only symbolically) used in ceremonies like bonfires, eternal flames, or sacred candles/incense/lights/lamps are in one form or another incorporated in many faiths such as Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Bahaism, Shintoism, Taoism, etc. All this worship of fire/sun are hardly special certain primates worship thunderstorms, others fire or sunrises. We have forgotten how nature worship, animistic superstitionism, animistic somethingism, or animistic supernatralism is presented in today’s religion. The mega religions now think they are removed from animistic superstitionism, which they have not. Their rituals, beliefs, and prayers have a connection to animism nature worship but are more hidden or stylized, such as burning candles which is worshipping fire. refrefrefrefrefrefrefrefref,  ref

 Animism (from Latin anima, “breath, spirit, life”) is the religious belief that objects, places, and creatures all possess a distinct spiritual essence. Potentially, animism perceives all things—animals, plants, rocks, rivers, weather systems, human handiwork and perhaps even words—as animated and alive. Animism is the oldest known type of belief system in the world that even predates paganism. It is still practiced in a variety of forms in many traditional societies. Animism is used in the anthropology of religion as a term for the belief system of many indigenous tribal peoples, especially in contrast to the relatively more recent development of organized religions. Although each culture has its own different mythologies and rituals, “animism” is said to describe the most common, foundational thread of indigenous peoples’ “spiritual” or “supernatural” perspectives. The animistic perspective is so widely held and inherent to most animistic indigenous peoples that they often do not even have a word in their languages that corresponds to “animism” (or even “religion”); the term is an anthropological construct. ref

* “animist” Believe in spirit-filled life and/or afterlife (you are a hidden animist/Animism : an approximately 100,000-year-old belief system 

Qafzeh: Oldest Intentional Burial of 15 individuals with red ocher and Border Cave: intentional burial of an infant with red ochre and a shell ornament (possibly extending to or from Did Neanderthals teach us “Primal Religion (Animism?)” 120,000 Years Ago, as they too used red ocher? 

Well it seems to me it may be Neanderthals who may have transmitted a “Primal Religion (Animism?)” or at least burial and thoughts of an afterlife they seem to express what could be perceived as a Primal “type of” Religion.

Which could have come first is supported in how 250,000 years ago Neanderthals used red ochre and 230,000 years ago shows evidence of Neanderthal burial with grave goods and possibly a belief in the afterlife. Think the idea that Neanderthals who may have transmitted a “Primal Religion” as crazy then consider this, it appears that Neanderthals built mystery underground circles 175,000 years ago. 

Evidence suggests that the Neanderthals were the first humans to intentionally bury the dead, doing so in shallow graves along with stone tools and animal bones. Exemplary sites include Shanidar in Iraq, Kebara Cave in Israel and Krapina in Croatia. Or maybe Neanderthals had it transmitted to them Evidence of earliest burial: a 350,000-year-old pink stone axe with 27 Homo heidelbergensis. As well as the fact that the oldest Stone Age Art dates to around 500,000 to 233,000 Years Old and it could be of a female possibly with magical believed qualities or representing something that was believed to) 

Pre-Animism: Portable Rock Art Figure Stones

Neanderthal figure stone, Fontmaure, France, around 150,000 to 50,000 years ago. refref

Hamburg, Germany around 200,000 years ago with the common primal theme of one eye open, one eye closed or partly closed. ref

Ancient handaxe figure stone Niger, around 800,000 to 300,000 years ago. ref

“Right eye open, left eye missing”a common theme in Paleolithic art motif found in the Netherlands context around 300,000 years ago. ref

The world’s oldest sculpture

The world’s oldest sculpture; archaeology reveals the earliest sculptures discovered and enhanced by hominid hand. To date, the oldest known human three-dimensional representation is the Tan-Tan sculpture (above left), discovered in Morocco, in an open site in ancient river deposits of the Draa river. It is Acheulian, and has been dated between 500,000 to 300,000 years old. It is almost 6 cms in height and just over 1 cm wide. The overall shape of this small quartzite pebble resembles a human figure. Found near stone tools, it is possible that the pebble was simply collected and kept by someone who noticed its human shape. It is entirely natural yet appears to have been modified by human action; examination under a microscope suggests this shape may have been emphasised by deliberate alteration of the natural grooves which run across the body. It was found at the Berekhat Ram site on the Golan Heights, a pebble of volcanic rock 35mm in length. The pebble was noticeable because it resembled a female human form. ref

The Berekhat Ram sculpture (above right) has a groove around the neck and on the sides which have been shown to be deliberate modifications absent from other scoria found in the area. The archaeologist Alexander Marshak examined the pebble using an electron microscope. He concluded that it had been made, or enhanced, by hominid hand, the hominins who found and worked on their respective pieces would have been unaware of their future significance. The Venus of Berekhat Ram is a pebble found at Berekhat Ram on the Golan Heights, Israel. The base object is an anthropomorphic red tufic pebble, 35 mm (1.4 in) long, which has had at least three grooves, possibly incised on it by a sharp-edged stone. One is a deep groove that encircles the narrower, more rounded end of the pebble, two shallower, curved grooves run down the sides. These grooves can be interpreted as marking the neck and arms of a figure. Because it was found between two layers of ash, it has been dated by tephrochronology to at least 230,000 years before the present but is at a range of 500,000 – 233,000 Years Ago.

The venus of Berekhat Ram is a red stone figure with symbolic intent and possibly intended to represent an anthropomorphic female figure. The surface is a bright high red with a large hole lined with black volcanic glass is at the approximate position of a ‘navel.’ Venus figurines are often found in different elements or mediums from limestone, serpentine, ivory, clay, and bone ash and are dispersed from western Europe to Siberia. These figurines are often faceless with downturned heads, large breasts, buttocks (many-extreme fat), some possibly pregnant, several stuck into the ground, and found near cave walls or in hearths. So what are the possible explanations of venus figurines? They could be some kind of good luck charms (evidence of polish), symbols of fertility, cult objects, art, Paleolithic porn, or representations of women by women or men (some look like modern pregnant bodies and some very skinny) but overall there may be no one reason. These figurines may have been created for several different reasons depending on time, place, and people but we just do not know.

Though calling them all goddesses or venus is at least misleading if not outright uncalled for because of mythologizing motivated by current projections and this is true even if a few were seen as some kind of goddesses. However, the venus of Berekhat Ram even if just anthropomorphic art (i.e. ascribing human form or attributes to a thing not human) could be seen as possibly the earliest known archaeological manifestations of any kind of elements that later become more defined religious belief systems. This is reasonable because anthropomorphic character design in art is a symbolic use of design to portray personality and thus, natural objects resembling the human body (or parts of it) which have received minor amounts of intentional modification in order to bring out the similarity further for a desired purpose. One could possibly even surmise that for some, there may have been a character that can play a possible part in telling stories. Thus, anthropomorphic art, such as venus figurines, may connect or be a larger growing fantasy of symbolism, superstitions, and supernaturalism thus to socio-cultural-religious transformations or evolution.

Although one cannot at present rule out a purely fortuitous association with the venus of Berekhat Ram and the piece can hardly be described as artistic, the possibility remains that it can be placed in the figures category as unambiguous indicators of early symbolism, let alone ritual, and we should not write it off as casual ‘lithic art’. Instead, the appearance of precocious lithic technologies such as end-scrapers and stone chisels at Berekhat Ram, symbolism (and by extension perhaps ritual) drifted in and out of use over evolutionary time. refrefrefrefref

Ref: Insoll, T. (2012). The Oxford handbook of the archaeology of ritual and religion. Oxford, United Kingdom. Oxford University Press.

Read more in the Art of the Ice Age section: Link

Are these “Art Pieces” just art or a form of Ancestor Veneration?

Pre-animism ideas seen in rock art, such as that expressed in portable anthropomorphic art that could have related to so kind of ancestor veneration, which may be a magical thinking but stem from social or non-religious function of ancestor veneration is to cultivate kinship values, such as filial piety, family loyalty, and continuity of the family lineage. Ancestor veneration occurs in societies with every degree of social, political, and technological complexity, and it remains an important component of various religious practices in modern times.

Ancestor reverence is not the same as the worship of a deity or deities. In some Afro-diasporic cultures, ancestors are seen as being able to intercede on behalf of the living, often as messengers between humans and the gods. As spirits who were once human themselves, they are seen as being better able to understand human needs than would a divine being. In other cultures, the purpose of ancestor veneration is not to ask for favors but to do one’s filial duty. Some cultures believe that their ancestors actually need to be provided for by their descendants, and their practices include offerings of food and other provisions.

Others do not believe that the ancestors are even aware of what their descendants do for them, but that the expression of filial piety is what is important. Although there is no generally accepted theory concerning the origins of ancestor veneration, this social phenomenon appears in some form in all human cultures documented so far. David-Barrett and Carney claim that ancestor veneration might have served a group coordination role during human evolutionand thus it was the mechanism that led to religious representation fostering group cohesion. Humans are not the only species which bury their dead; the practice has been observed in chimpanzeeselephants, and possibly dogs.

Intentional burial, particularly with grave goods, signify a “concern for the dead” and Neanderthals were the first human species to practice burial behavior and intentionally bury their dead, doing so in shallow graves along with stone tools and animal bones. Exemplary sites include Shanidar in Iraq, Kebara Cave in Israel and Krapina in Croatia. The earliest undisputed human burial dates back 100,000 years with remains stained with red ochre showing ritual intentionality similar to the Neanderthals before them. refref

Animism (“magical thinking supernatural/superstitious spirit/spiritual” religious beliefs”)
Anthropomorphism (attribution of human characteristics or behavior to non-things)

Chimpanzees Sacralizing Trees?

There is evidence currently limited to West Africa where chimpanzees mainly adult males but also females or juveniles are observed creating a kind of shrine of accumulated stone piles beside, or inside trees as well as regularly visiting these trees picking up these stones and then throwing them at these trees accompanied with vocalization “performativity” which is (speech, gestures) to communicate an action.

Chimpanzees have been observed engaging in “social learning,” both teaching and learning such as tool use as well as communication signals: vocal and gestures. Such social learning is seen as playing an important and unique role in the development of human language, culture, and mythologizing. Altogether such things observed in these West Africa where chimpanzees could indicate some kind of what could be perceived as magical thinking or at least quasi-magical thinking in the sacralizing of trees as it does not seem connected to some utilitarian or food foraging practice of which rocks or tools would make sense.

This at first may sound too complex for a nonhuman animal but what needs to be understood is that chimpanzees have been known to exhibit “metacognition,” or think about thinking. Also, chimpanzees have the greatest variation in tool-use behaviors of any animal, second only to humans, where humans seem to have magical thinking or irrational beliefs are hardwired in our brains at a very ancient level because they involve mentally-fabricated patterns of thinking.

Moreover, such processing abilities are somewhat common among non-human primates if not lower mammals as well to some extent and can be seen as a part of evolutionary survival fitness and thus not uniquely human. It can be thought that different emotions evolved at different times with fear being ancient care for offspring relatively next later followed likely by extended social emotions, such as guilt and pride, evolved among social primates. Why this could be important is it is believed that emotions evolved to reinforce memories of patterns adding to survival and reproduction as well as responses to internal or external events and in such remapping facilitated by emotions could involve mentally-fabricated patterns of thinking which could superstitionize things in the world that do not truly limit it to the way it is possibly adding a kind of animism or the like involving some amount of magical thinking such as sacralizing of trees.

Magical thinking such as beliefs that there are relationships between behaviors or sounds thought to have the ability to directly affect other events in the world. Whereas quasi-magical thinking is acting as if there is a false belief that action influences the outcome, even though they may not really actualize or intentionally hold such a belief. Now I doubt West African chimpanzees are fully mythologizing the trees to a human magical thinking extent but we can see some possibilities of what about them could be inspired by magical thinking.

Magical thinking may lead to a type of causal reasoning or causal fallacy that looks for meaningful relationships of grouped phenomena (coincidence) between acts and events. Moreover, magical thinking when applied to trees are significant as believed sacred totems and natural sacred representations in many of the world’s oldest myths possibly because of using magical thinking when observing the growth and annual death and then revival of their foliage, seen them as symbolic representations of growth, death, and rebirth. As well as trees may be conceived as existing in three realms the underworld or death with the roots the world of the living the trunk existing in our world above the ground and its branches reaching to the heavens thus existing in the realm of the spirits, ancestors or gods. 1234567891011

An Old Branch of Religion Still Giving Fruit: Sacred Trees

 The motivation of “Primal Religion (Pre-Animism/Animism)” is to some part, Anthropomorphism.
Religion Progression to me:

 *Pre-Animism (belief in objects containing spiritual energy: magical Anthropomorphism thinking/possibly a form of Ancestor worship/Veneration of the dead) possibly by at least 300,000 years ago “the most primal stage before Animism’s early religion”

  1. Animism (belief in a perceived spirit world) possibly by at least 100,000 years ago “the primal stage of early religion”
  2. Totemism (belief that these perceived spirits could be managed with created physical expressions) possibly by at least 50,000 years ago “progressed stage of early religion”
  3. Shamanism (belief that some special person can commune with these perceived spirits on the behalf of others by way rituals) possibly by at least 30,000 years ago
  4. Paganism “Early organized nature-based religion” mainly like an evolved shamanism with gods (possibly by at least 13,000 years ago).
  5. Institutional religion “organized religion” as a social institution with official dogma usually set in a hierarchical/bureaucratic structure that contains strict rules and practices dominating the believer’s life. And to me paganism and Institutional religion categorized into the following stages:

*primal stage of organized religion is 13,000 years ago.

*proto-stage of organized religion is around 10,000 years ago.

*progressed stage of organized religion is around 7,000 years ago.

*developed stage of organized “Institutional” religion is around 5,000 years ago.

Anthropomorphism is the attribution of human traits, emotions, or intentions to non-human entities. It is considered to be an innate tendency of human psychology. Personification is the related attribution of human form and characteristics to abstract concepts such as nationsemotions and natural forces like seasons and the weather. Both have ancient roots as storytelling and artistic devices, and most cultures have traditional fables with anthropomorphized animals as characters. People have also routinely attributed human emotions and behavioral traits to wild as well as domestic animals. Ref

From the beginnings of human behavioral modernity in the Upper Paleolithic, about 40,000 years ago, examples of zoomorphic (animal-shaped) works of art occur that may represent the earliest evidence we have of anthropomorphism. One of the oldest known is an ivory sculpture, the Löwenmensch figurine, Germany, a human-shaped figurine with the head of a lioness or lion, determined to be about 32,000 years old. It is not possible to say what these prehistoric artworks represent. A more recent example is The Sorcerer, an enigmatic cave painting from the Trois-Frères Cave, Ariège, France: the figure’s significance is unknown, but it is usually interpreted as some kind of great spirit or master of the animals. Ref

In either case, there is an element of anthropomorphism. This anthropomorphic art has been linked by archaeologist Steven Mithen with the emergence of more systematic hunting practices in the Upper Palaeolithic (Mithen 1998). He proposes that these are the product of a change in the architecture of the human mind, an increasing fluidity between the natural history and social intelligences, where anthropomorphism allowed hunters to identify empathetically with hunted animals and better predict their movements. The Upper Paleolithic (or Upper PalaeolithicLate Stone Age) is the third and last subdivision of the Paleolithic or Old Stone Age. Very broadly, it dates to between 50,000 and 10,000 years ago (the beginning Holocene), roughly coinciding with the appearance of behavioral modernity and before the advent of agricultureAnatomically modern humans (i.e. Homo sapiens) are believed to have emerged around 200,000 years ago, although these lifestyles changed very little from that of archaic humans of the Middle Paleolithic, until about 50,000 years ago, when there was a marked increase in the diversity of artifactsRef

This period coincides with the expansion of modern humans throughout Eurasia, which contributed to the extinction of the Neanderthals. The Upper Paleolithic has the earliest known evidence of organized settlements, in the form of campsites, some with storage pits. Artistic work blossomed, with cave painting, petroglyphs, carvings and engravings on bone or ivory. The first evidence of human fishing is also noted, from artifacts in places such as Blombos cave in South Africa. More complex social groupings emerged, supported by more varied and reliable food sources and specialized tool types. This probably contributed to increasing group identification or ethnicityBy 50,000–40,000 BP, the first humans set foot in Australia. By 45,000 BP, humans lived at 61° north latitude in Europe. By 30,000 BP, Japan was reached, and by 27,000 BP humans were present in Siberia above the Arctic Circle. At the end of the Upper Paleolithic, a group of humans crossed the Bering land bridge and quickly expanded throughout North and South AmericaRef

Both Homo erectus and Neanderthals used the same crude stone tools. Archaeologist Richard G. Klein, who has worked extensively on ancient stone tools, describes the stone tool kit of archaic hominids as impossible to categorize. It was as if the Neanderthals made stone tools, and were not much concerned about their final forms. He argues that almost everywhere, whether Asia, Africa or Europe, before 50,000 years ago all the stone tools are much alike and unsophisticated. Firstly among the artifacts of Africa, archeologists found they could differentiate and classify those of less than 50,000 years into many different categories, such as projectile points, engraving tools, knife blades, and drilling and piercing tools. These new stone-tool types have been described as being distinctly differentiated from each other; each tool had a specific purpose. The invaders commonly referred to as the Cro-Magnons, left many sophisticated stone tools, carved and engraved pieces on bone, ivory and antlercave paintings and Venus figurinesRef

The Neanderthals continued to use Mousterian stone tool technology and possibly Chatelperronian technology. These tools disappeared from the archeological record at around the same time the Neanderthals themselves disappeared from the fossil record, about 40,000 years ago. Settlements were often located in narrow valley bottoms, possibly associated with the hunting of passing herds of animals. Some of them may have been occupied year round, though more commonly they appear to have been used seasonally; people moved between the sites to exploit different food sources at different times of the year. Ref

Hunting was important, and caribou/wild reindeer “may well be the species of single greatest importance in the entire anthropological literature on hunting.” Technological advances included significant developments in flint tool manufacturing, with industries based on fine blades rather than simpler and shorter flakesBurins and racloirs were used to work bone, antler, and hides. Advanced darts and harpoons also appear in this period, along with the fish hook, the oil lamprope, and the eyed needle. The changes in human behavior have been attributed to the changes in climate during the period, which encompasses a number of global temperature drops. Ref

This meant a worsening of the already bitter climate of the last glacial period (popularly but incorrectly called the last ice age). Such changes may have reduced the supply of usable timber and forced people to look at other materials. In addition, flint becomes brittle at low temperatures and may not have functioned as a tool. Some scholars have argued that the appearance of complex or abstract language made these behavior changes possible. The complexity of the new human capabilities hints that humans were less capable of planning or foresight before 40,000 years, while the emergence of cooperative and coherent communication marked a new era of cultural development. In religion and mythology, anthropomorphism refers to the perception of a divine being or beings in human form or the recognition of human qualities in these beings. Ancient mythologies frequently represented the divine as deities with human forms and qualities. Ref

They resemble human beings not only in appearance and personality; they exhibited many human behaviors that were used to explain natural phenomena, creation, and historical events. The deities fell in love, married, had children, fought battles, wielded weapons, and rode horses and chariots. They feasted on special foods and sometimes required sacrifices of food, beverage, and sacred objects to be made by human beings. Some anthropomorphic deities represented specific human concepts, such as love, war, fertility, beauty, or the seasons. Anthropomorphic deities exhibited human qualities such as beauty, wisdom, and power, and sometimes human weaknesses such as greed, hatredjealousy, and uncontrollable anger. Greek deities such as Zeus and Apollo often were depicted in human form exhibiting both commendable and despicable human traits. Anthropomorphism in this case is referred to as anthropotheismRef

From the perspective of adherents to religions in which humans were created in the form of the divine, the phenomenon may be considered theomorphism, or the giving of divine qualities to humans. Anthropomorphism has cropped up as a Christian heresy, particularly prominently with the Audians in third century Syria, but also in fourth-century Egypt and tenth century Italy. This often was based on a literal interpretation of Genesis 1:27: “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them”. Ref

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

ref, ref, ref

“Two parallel marks that look like cut marks on a 3.4-million-year-old bone from a buffalo-sized creature from Ethiopia in East Africa. Along with scores of crude stone tools discovered at Lomekwi 3 in Kenya are East Africa that date back 3.3 million years. And more interesting is Kenyanthropus a hominin genus identified from the Lomekwi site by Lake Turkana, Kenya, dated to 3.3 to 3.2 million years ago.” ref, ref, ref, ref, ref

“Statistical assessment of the temporal and cultural relationship between the Lomekwian 3 dates to 3.3 million years ago and Oldowan 2.58 million years ago to 1.6 stone tool cultures. Results suggest the Lomekwian and Oldoan result from the same cultural process. Both should currently be considered part of the same cultural evolutionary process.”

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref

Early Stone Age (Lower Paleolithic): “The Lower Paleolithic is the earliest subdivision of the Paleolithic or Old Stone Age. It spans the time from around 3 million years ago when the first evidence for stone tool production and use by hominins appears in the current archaeological record, until around 300,000 years ago, spanning the Oldowan (“mode 1”) and Acheulean (“mode 2”) lithics industries. In African archaeology, the time period roughly corresponds to the Early Stone Age, the earliest finds dating back to 3.3 million years ago, with Lomekwian stone tool technology, spanning Mode 1 stone tool technology, which begins roughly 2.6 million years ago and ends between 400,000 and 250,000 years ago, with Mode 2 technology.” ref

Middle Stone Age (Middle Paleolithic): “The Middle Paleolithic (or Middle Palaeolithic) is the second subdivision of the Paleolithic or Old Stone Age as it is understood in EuropeAfrica, and Asia. The term Middle Stone Age is used as an equivalent or a synonym for the Middle Paleolithic in African archeology. The Middle Paleolithic broadly spanned from 300,000 to 30,000 years ago. There are considerable dating differences between regions. The Middle Paleolithic was succeeded by the Upper Paleolithic subdivision which first began between 50,000 and 40,000 years ago. Pettit and White date the Early Middle Paleolithic in Great Britain to about 325,000 to 180,000 years ago (late Marine Isotope Stage 9 to late Marine Isotope Stage 7), and the Late Middle Paleolithic as about 60,000 to 35,000 years ago. According to the theory of the recent African origin of modern humansanatomically modern humans began migrating out of Africa during the Middle Stone Age/Middle Paleolithic around 125,000 years ago and began to replace earlier pre-existent Homo species such as the Neanderthals and Homo erectus.” ref

“Middle Paleolithic burials at sites such as Krapina in Croatia (dated to c. 130,000 BP) and the Qafzeh and Es Skhul caves in Israel (c. 100,000 BP) have led some anthropologists and archeologists (such as Philip Lieberman) to believe that Middle Paleolithic cultures may have possessed a developing religious ideology which included concepts such as an afterlife; other scholars suggest the bodies were buried for secular reasons. According to recent archeological findings from Homo heidelbergensis sites in the Atapuerca Mountains, the practice of intentional burial may have begun much earlier during the late Lower Paleolithic, but this theory is widely questioned in the scientific community.” ref

“The earliest undisputed evidence of artistic expression during the Paleolithic period comes from Middle Paleolithic/Middle Stone Age sites such as Blombos Cave in the form of bracelets, beads, art rock, ochre used as body paint and perhaps in ritual, though earlier examples of artistic expression such as the Venus of Tan-Tan and the patterns found on elephant bones from Bilzingsleben in Thuringia may have been produced by Acheulean tool-users such as Homo erectus prior to the start of the Middle Paleolithic period. Activities such as catching large fish and hunting large game animals with specialized tools indicate increased group-wide cooperation and more elaborate social organization. In addition to developing advanced cultural traits, humans also first began to take part in long-distance trade between groups for rare commodities (such as ochre (which was often used for religious purposes such as ritual) and raw materials during the Middle Paleolithic as early as 120,000 years ago. Inter-group trade may have appeared during the Middle Paleolithic because trade between bands would have helped ensure their survival by allowing them to exchange resources and commodities such as raw materials during times of relative scarcity (i.e., famine or drought).” ref

Later Stone Age (Upper Paleolithic): “The Upper Paleolithic (or Upper Palaeolithic) is the third and last subdivision of the Paleolithic or Old Stone Age. Very broadly, it dates to between 50,000 and 12,000 years ago (the beginning of the Holocene), according to some theories coinciding with the appearance of behavioral modernity in early modern humans, until the advent of the Neolithic Revolution and agriculture. Anatomically modern humans (i.e. Homo sapiens) are believed to have emerged in Africa around 300,000 years ago, it has been argued by some that their ways of life changed relatively little from that of archaic humans of the Middle Paleolithic, until about 50,000 years ago, when there was a marked increase in the diversity of artifacts found associated with modern human remains. This period coincides with the most common date assigned to an expansion of modern humans from Africa throughout Asia and Eurasia, which contributed to the extinction of the Neanderthals. The Upper Paleolithic has the earliest known evidence of organized settlements, in the form of campsites, some with storage pits. Artistic work blossomed, with cave paintings, petroglyphs, carvings, and engravings on bone or ivory.” ref

“The first evidence of human fishing is also found, from artifacts in places such as Blombos cave in South Africa. More complex social groupings emerged, supported by more varied and reliable food sources and specialized tool types. This probably contributed to increasing group identification or ethnicity. The peopling of Australia most likely took place before c. 60,000 years ago. Europe was peopled after c. 45,000 years ago. Anatomically modern humans are known to have expanded northward into Siberia as far as the 58th parallel by about 45 ka (Ust’-Ishim man). The Upper Paleolithic is divided by the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), from about 25,000 to 15,000 years ago. The peopling of the Americas occurred during this time, with East and Central Asia populations reaching the Bering land bridge after about 35 ka, and expanding into the Americas by about 15,000 years ago. In Western Eurasia, the Paleolithic eases into the so-called Epipaleolithic or Mesolithic from the end of the LGM, beginning 15 ka. The Holocene glacial retreat begins 11.7,00 years ago (10th millennium BCE), falling well into the Old World Epipaleolithic, and marking the beginning of the earliest forms of farming in the Fertile Crescent.” ref

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art


Acheulean Stone Tools

Acheulean tools date to about 1.76 million to 130,000 years ago, are typically found with Homo erectus remains and were produced during the Lower Palaeolithic era across Africa and much of West Asia, South Asia, and Europe, and are typically found with Homo erectus remains. It is thought that Acheulean technologies developed from the more primitive Oldowan technology associated with Homo habilis. ref

Homo ergaster or early Homo erectus is the likely the earliest user of Acheulean tools. It appears that Acheulean originated in Africa and spread to Asian, Middle Eastern, and European areas sometime between 1.5 million years ago and about 800 thousand years ago. Later, used by Homo heidelbergensis (the common ancestor of both Neanderthals and Homo sapiens). ref

Tool types found in Acheulean assemblages include pointed, cordate, ovate, ficron, and bout-coupé hand-axes (referring to the shapes of the final tool), cleavers, retouched flakes, scrapers, and segmental chopping tools. Materials used were determined by available local stone types; flint is most often associated with the tools but its use is concentrated in Western Europe; in Africa sedimentary and igneous rock such as mudstone and basalt were most widely used, for example. Other source materials include chalcedonyquartziteandesitesandstonechert, and shale. Even relatively soft rock such as limestone could be exploited. In all cases the toolmakers worked their handaxes close to the source of their raw materials, suggesting that the Acheulean was a set of skills passed between individual groups. ref

The symmetry of the hand-axes has been used to suggest that Acheulean tool users possessed the ability to use language; the parts of the brain connected with fine control and movement are located in the same region that controls speech. The wider variety of tool types compared to earlier industries and their aesthetically as well as functionally pleasing form could indicate a higher intellectual level in Acheulean tool users than in earlier homininesref

Acheulean artifacts, such as the Venus of Berekhat Ram, have been used to argue for artistic expression among this Acheulean stone tool culture users. The incised elephant tibia from Bilzingsleben in Germany, and ochre finds from Kapthurin in Kenya and Duinefonteinin South Africa, are sometimes cited as being some of the earliest examples of an aesthetic sensibility in human history. There are numerous other explanations put forward for the creation of these artefacts, however; and there is no unequivocal evidence of human art until around 50,000 years ago, after the emergence of modern Homo sapiensref

Ethnographic study of flint-knapping populations of the Irian Jaya, demonstrated it require long-term memory, spatial or procedural cognition, advanced planning, and procedural ‘know-how’ or social cognition. Other research contends that higher order cognitive function is tied to motor action and that these processes and must be in order to make an Acheulean tool. Therefore, Homo erectus may have had an enlargement of neural areas relevant to tool-making cognitive processes. Thus, the Acheulean actually could signal both innovations in social cognition and technological creativity. ref

Acheulean culture spread throughout Europe, Africa, and Asia. It flourished around 400,000–100,000 years ago. The Homo erectus and early Homo sapiens of the Acheulean culture lived in primitive communities in caves and in the open. They were hunters and gatherers who had discovered the use of fire. Known Acheulean sites in Ukraine are the Kiik-KobaZhytomyr, and Luka-Vrublivetskaref

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

ref, ref

Wonderwerk Cave is an archaeological site, in the Kuruman Hills, situated between Danielskuil and Kuruman in the Northern Cape Province, South Africa, dating suggests that basal sediment entered the cave some 2 million years ago. Evidence within Wonderwerk cave has been called the oldest controlled fire with what is thought to be Fire-Making by about 1.7 Million Years Ago. Moreover, evidence for fire-making ranges from the end of the Later Stone Age to the very base of the Acheulean. That discovery is seen to be in accord with findings from four other regional sites, which together provide evidence that can be construed as support for fire-making over almost the same time span.” ref, ref

“A handaxe (or hand ax) is a prehistoric stone tool with two faces that is the longest-used tool in human history. Hand axe tools were possibly used to butcher animals; to dig for tubers, animals, and water; to chop wood and remove tree bark; and/or process vegetal materials. Other scholars have proposed that hand axes were used to throw at prey; for a ritual or social purpose; or possibly as a source for flake tools. Moreover, No academic consensus describes their use, but it is commonly agreed that the hand axe was some form of unhafted all-purpose tool. The pioneers of Palaeolithic tool studies first suggested that bifaces were used as axes despite the fact that they have a sharp border all around. Other uses seem to show that hand axes were a multi-functional tool, leading some to describe them as the “Acheulean Swiss Army knife“. Other academics have suggested that the hand axe was simply a byproduct of being used as a core to make other tools, a weapon, and/or was perhaps used ritually.” ref

“Evidence for unusual symbolic activity in Wonderwerk date to around 400,000–500,000 years ago, which predates Middle Stone Age sites like Blombos Cave deposits that currently date at between c. 100,000 and 70,000 years ago.” ref, ref

Figure-stones present in additional objects from the same context as the Belgian Kempen, Belgium, like these stone faces dated to around 450,000 to 300,000 years old. They indicate the eye concavities are natural features but the overall shape of the piece possibly was worked to the final head shape. ref

Figure Stones

A shell etched by Homo erectus is by far the oldest engraving ever found, challenging what we know about the origin of art and complex human thought. A right-handed individual and used a shark’s tooth. They had a remarkably steady hand and a strong arm. Half a million years ago, on the banks of a calm river in central Java, they scored a deep zigzag into a fossilised freshwater clam, by far the oldest engraving ever found. The date also means it was made two to three hundred thousand years before our own species evolved, by a more ancient hominin, Homo erectus.” ref

If the artifact was intended to replicate a female figure, it would be the earliest example of representational art in the archaeological record. Rather than being made by modern humans, it would have been made by Homo erectus, hunter-gatherers and Acheulean tool users. There is some other evidence of an aesthetic sensibility during the period although compelling examples do not appear in the archaeological record until the emergence of behaviorally modern humans around 50,000 years ago. ref

Subjectivity in Stone Age art works such as figure stones, engravings, sculptures, effigies and curated manuports. See how images and icons have been realized in portable rock media since the dawn of humanity. Here, archaeologists and art historians are becoming aware of these forsaken artifacts. “And this our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in every thing.” -in W. Shakespeare, As You Like It, 1599.

One common primal theme of one eye open, one eye closed or partly closed on stones. Below, compare the eyes and the shape of the mouth of the German figure with those on a sandstone petroglyph at Day’s Knob. Ursel Benekendorff’s Stone Age Art website displays some of her extensive collection of Figure Stones from northern Germany and the Canary Islands.  Many of the motifs characterizing this material closely resemble those in the artifacts from the much more recent 33GU218 site in Ohio, in some cases almost to the point of being identical, although of different lithic material.  In addition to anthropomorphic imagery, a readily identifiable bird motif is well represented. Figure Stones and Acheulean handaxes, some of which have now been confirmed as artifacts by professional archaeologists and by Dr. Eric Law, petrologist and professor of geology, who examined the Venus figure at Muskingum University in Ohio. Faces on customized stones seem to indicate it had symbolic significance. To me the nose and eyes look like possible fire starting holes but then there is the mouth and the odd hole at the top. Maby it represents a loved one or ancestor or magical significance…is it an idol of some sort or symbol of something? Homo erectus was the first to use fire and sophisticated tools. Unlike earlier hominids that developed crude choppers and flakes,

Homo erectus produced sophisticated stone axes and used sharp stone cleavers and finger-size scrapers used slice off chewable sizes of meat. “Tools gave them access to elephants, wildebeest—bonanzas so big they couldn’t eat it all,” Nick Toth, an archaeologist from Indiana University told National Geographic. Blades dated to 240,000 year ago made from long slivers of stones in the Rift Valley are so skillfully crafted from difficult-to-work obsidian and lava, that some anthropologists argue that they required abstract thought to make. Some tools associated with Homo erectus however were also relatively primitive. The tools found at sites Dmanisi, Georgia consisted of rock “cores” and primitive choppers, not much sophisticated than those made by Homo habilis and possibly Australopithecus. Hand axes are usually associated with Homo erectus. Ones found at Konso-Gardula, Ethiopia are believed to be between 1.37 and 1.7 million year old.

Describing a primitive 1.5- to 1.7-million-year-old ax, Ethiopian archaeologist Yonas Beyene told National Geographic, “You don’t see much refinement here. They’ve only been knapped away a few flakes to make the edge sharp.” After displaying a beautifully-crafted ax from a perhaps a 100,000 year later he said, “See how refined and straight the cutting edge has become. It was an artform for them. It wasn’t just for cutting. Making these is time-consuming working.” Thousands of primitive hand 1.5-million- to 1.4-million-year-old hand axes have been Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania and Ubeidya, Israel. Carefully-crafted, sophisticated 780,000-year-old hand axes have been unearthed in Olorgesaile, near the Kenya and Tanzania border. Scientists believe they were used to butcher, dismember and deflesh large animals like elephants. Sophisticated Homo erectus teardrop-shaped stone axes that fit snugly in the hand and had a sharp edged created by careful shearing of the rock on both sides.

The tool could be used to cut, smash and beat. Big symmetrical hand axes, known as Acheulan tools, endured for more than 1 million years little changed from the earliest versions found. Since few advances were made one anthropologists described the period in which Homo erectus lived as a time of “almost unimaginable monotony.” Acheulan tools are named after 300,000-year-old hand axes and other tools found in St. Acheul, France. In Eastern sites in China, India and Indonesia, numerous choppers and flakes have been discovered but no hand axes. This has lead scientists to speculate that larger tools may have been made from bamboo or wood. The oldest tools found in Asia include a 1.7-million-year-old flakes found in Nihewan, near Beijing and a crude 600,000-year-old biface found in Yuxian, China.

Homo erectus learned to control fire about one million years ago. Sophisticated stone tools found at the 780,000-year-old site of Bose Basin in southern China near the Vietnam border seems to indicate that homonids in Asia developed tools just as advanced as tools made by their cousins in Africa and Europe. For a long time Asian homonids were depicted as being inferior and less sophisticated than homonids in Africa and Europe but the teardrop-shaped tools with double sharp edges found at Bose basin are as developed as this made 500,000 years ago in Europe. A 116,000-year-old core tool has been found in Jimminum, north Australia. Skulls dated to be 500,000 years old found in caves in Longgushan China appear to have been severed from the body and preserved, presumably as trophies. The purpose of this may have been to obtain the strength of the deceased. Critics of these claim say the marks made on the skulls were more likely made by giant hyenas than other hominids. Cut marks made on human bones, similar to those made with Homo erectus tools on butchered animals, have been found in sites ranging from South Africa to Croatia.

Homo Erectus ritual/culture and thinking: At the 350,000-year-old site in Bilzingsleben, archaeologists found pieces of bone and smooth stones arranged in a 27-foot-wide circle. “They intentionally paved this area for cultural activities,” Dietrich Mania off the University of Jena, told National Geographic. “We found here a large anvil of quartzite set between the horns of a huge bison. Near it were fractured human skulls.” Describing an elephant tibia engraved with a series a regular lines found at Bilzingsleben, Mania said, “Seven lines go in one direction, 21 go in the other. We have found other pieces of bone with cut lines that are also too regular to be accidental. They are graphic symbols. To us they are evidence of abstract thinking and human language.” The tibia was dated at around 400,000 years ago. Scientists debate whether 400,000-year-old hominids were capable of symbolic thinking, often regarded as hallmark of language. If Mania’s conjectures are correct, then ancient hominids could have been much more advanced than previously thought.

In Zambia, scientists found what they said were 350,000-year-old ocher crayons. If these crayons had in fact been used to make drawings or markings they could be regarded as the oldest known attempt to paint, suggests that early man attempted create art much earlier than people thought. Some scientists have theorized that Homo erectus must have possessed some form of rudimentary language because it needed to communicate to organize hunts and pass on information about tool making. The parts of the Homo erectus brain associated with reasoning, symbolism and imagination though were relatively undeveloped. The frontal lobe, where complex thinking takes place in modern humans, was relatively small. The small hole in its vertebrae probably meant that not enough information was transferred from the brain to the lungs, neck and mouth to make speech possible. Ann MacLarson, an anthropologist at Roehampton Institute in London, told National Geographic: “With simple grunts you can communicate a lot. But he couldn’t have produced anything like modern speech.”

Scientists believe that man may have been able to speak as early as 400,000 years based on studies of the hypoglossal canal, an opening on the skull through which nerve fibers pass from the brain to the tongue. Humans have a larger hypoglossal canal than chimpanzees and evidence from 400,000 fossils seems to indicate that early man had a canal closer in size to a human canal than a chimpanzee canal. ref, ref, ref, ref, ref

My thoughts on Religion Evolution with external links for more info:

“Religion is an Evolved Product” and Yes, Religion is Like Fear Given Wings…

Atheists talk about gods and religions for the same reason doctors talk about cancer, they are looking for a cure, or a firefighter talks about fires because they burn people and they care to stop them. We atheists too often feel a need to help the victims of mental slavery, held in the bondage that is the false beliefs of gods and the conspiracy theories of reality found in religions.

“Understanding Religion Evolution: Animism, Totemism, Shamanism, Paganism & Progressed organized religion”

Understanding Religion Evolution:

“An Archaeological/Anthropological Understanding of Religion Evolution”

It seems ancient peoples had to survived amazing threats in a “dangerous universe (by superstition perceived as good and evil),” and human “immorality or imperfection of the soul” which was thought to affect the still living, leading to ancestor worship. This ancestor worship presumably led to the belief in supernatural beings, and then some of these were turned into the belief in gods. This feeble myth called gods were just a human conceived “made from nothing into something over and over, changing, again and again, taking on more as they evolve, all the while they are thought to be special,” but it is just supernatural animistic spirit-belief perceived as sacred.


Quick Evolution of Religion?

Pre-Animism (at least 300,000 years ago) pre-religion is a beginning that evolves into later Animism. So, Religion as we think of it, to me, all starts in a general way with Animism (Africa: 100,000 years ago) (theoretical belief in supernatural powers/spirits), then this is physically expressed in or with Totemism (Europe: 50,000 years ago) (theoretical belief in mythical relationship with powers/spirits through a totem item), which then enlists a full-time specific person to do this worship and believed interacting Shamanism (Siberia/Russia: 30,000 years ago) (theoretical belief in access and influence with spirits through ritual), and then there is the further employment of myths and gods added to all the above giving you Paganism (Turkey: 12,000 years ago) (often a lot more nature-based than most current top world religions, thus hinting to their close link to more ancient religious thinking it stems from). My hypothesis is expressed with an explanation of the building of a theatrical house (modern religions development). Progressed organized religion (Egypt: 5,000 years ago)  with CURRENT “World” RELIGIONS (after 4,000 years ago).

Historically, in large city-state societies (such as Egypt or Iraq) starting around 5,000 years ago culminated to make religion something kind of new, a sociocultural-governmental-religious monarchy, where all or at least many of the people of such large city-state societies seem familiar with and committed to the existence of “religion” as the integrated life identity package of control dynamics with a fixed closed magical doctrine, but this juggernaut integrated religion identity package of Dogmatic-Propaganda certainly did not exist or if developed to an extent it was highly limited in most smaller prehistoric societies as they seem to lack most of the strong control dynamics with a fixed closed magical doctrine (magical beliefs could be at times be added or removed). Many people just want to see developed religious dynamics everywhere even if it is not. Instead, all that is found is largely fragments until the domestication of religion.

Religions, as we think of them today, are a new fad, even if they go back to around 6,000 years in the timeline of human existence, this amounts to almost nothing when seen in the long slow evolution of religion at least around 70,000 years ago with one of the oldest ritual worship. Stone Snake of South Africa: “first human worship” 70,000 years ago. This message of how religion and gods among them are clearly a man-made thing that was developed slowly as it was invented and then implemented peace by peace discrediting them all. Which seems to be a simple point some are just not grasping how devastating to any claims of truth when we can see the lie clearly in the archeological sites.

I wish people fought as hard for the actual values as they fight for the group/clan names political or otherwise they think support values. Every amount spent on war is theft to children in need of food or the homeless kept from shelter.

Here are several of my blog posts on history:

I am not an academic. I am a revolutionary that teaches in public, in places like social media, and in the streets. I am not a leader by some title given but from my commanding leadership style of simply to start teaching everywhere to everyone, all manner of positive education. 

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

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Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

While hallucinogens are associated with shamanism, it is alcohol that is associated with paganism.

The Atheist-Humanist-Leftist Revolutionaries Shows in the prehistory series:

Show one: Prehistory: related to “Anarchism and Socialism” the division of labor, power, rights, and recourses.

Show two: Pre-animism 300,000 years old and animism 100,000 years old: related to “Anarchism and Socialism”

Show tree: Totemism 50,000 years old: related to “Anarchism and Socialism”

Show four: Shamanism 30,000 years old: related to “Anarchism and Socialism”

Show five: Paganism 12,000 years old: related to “Anarchism and Socialism”

Show six: Emergence of hierarchy, sexism, slavery, and the new male god dominance: Paganism 7,000-5,000 years old: related to “Anarchism and Socialism” (Capitalism) (World War 0) Elite and their slaves!

Show seven: Paganism 5,000 years old: progressed organized religion and the state: related to “Anarchism and Socialism” (Kings and the Rise of the State)

Show eight: Paganism 4,000 years old: Moralistic gods after the rise of Statism and often support Statism/Kings: related to “Anarchism and Socialism” (First Moralistic gods, then the Origin time of Monotheism)

Prehistory: related to “Anarchism and Socialism” the division of labor, power, rights, and recourses: VIDEO

Pre-animism 300,000 years old and animism 100,000 years old: related to “Anarchism and Socialism”: VIDEO

Totemism 50,000 years old: related to “Anarchism and Socialism”: VIDEO

Shamanism 30,000 years old: related to “Anarchism and Socialism”: VIDEO

Paganism 12,000 years old: related to “Anarchism and Socialism” (Pre-Capitalism): VIDEO

Paganism 7,000-5,000 years old: related to “Anarchism and Socialism” (Capitalism) (World War 0) Elite and their slaves: VIEDO

Paganism 5,000 years old: progressed organized religion and the state: related to “Anarchism and Socialism” (Kings and the Rise of the State): VIEDO

Paganism 4,000 years old: related to “Anarchism and Socialism” (First Moralistic gods, then the Origin time of Monotheism): VIEDO

I do not hate simply because I challenge and expose myths or lies any more than others being thought of as loving simply because of the protection and hiding from challenge their favored myths or lies.

The truth is best championed in the sunlight of challenge.

An archaeologist once said to me “Damien religion and culture are very different”

My response, So are you saying that was always that way, such as would you say Native Americans’ cultures are separate from their religions? And do you think it always was the way you believe?

I had said that religion was a cultural product. That is still how I see it and there are other archaeologists that think close to me as well. Gods too are the myths of cultures that did not understand science or the world around them, seeing magic/supernatural everywhere.

I personally think there is a goddess and not enough evidence to support a male god at Çatalhöyük but if there was both a male and female god and goddess then I know the kind of gods they were like Proto-Indo-European mythology.

This series idea was addressed in, Anarchist Teaching as Free Public Education or Free Education in the Public: VIDEO

Our 12 video series: Organized Oppression: Mesopotamian State Force and the Politics of power (9,000-4,000 years ago), is adapted from: The Complete and Concise History of the Sumerians and Early Bronze Age Mesopotamia (7000-2000 BC): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=szFjxmY7jQA by “History with Cy

Show #1: Mesopotamian State Force and the Politics of Power (Samarra, Halaf, Ubaid)

Show #2: Mesopotamian State Force and the Politics of Power (Eridu “Tell Abu Shahrain”)

Show #3: Mesopotamian State Force and the Politics of Power (Uruk and the First Cities)

Show #4: Mesopotamian State Force and the Politics of Power (First Kings)

Show #5: Mesopotamian State Force and the Politics of Power (Early Dynastic Period)

Show #6: Mesopotamian State Force and the Politics of Power (King/Ruler Lugalzagesi)

Show #7: Mesopotamian State Force and the Politics of Power (Sargon and Akkadian Rule)

Show #8: Mesopotamian State Force and the Politics of Power (Naram-Sin, Post-Akkadian Rule, and the Gutians)

Show #9: Mesopotamian State Force and the Politics of Power (Gudea of Lagash and Utu-hegal)

Show #10: Mesopotamian State Force and the Politics of Power (Third Dynasty of Ur / Neo-Sumerian Empire)

Show #11: Mesopotamian State Force and the Politics of Power (Amorites, Elamites, and the End of an Era)

Show #12: Mesopotamian State Force and the Politics of Power (Aftermath and Legacy of Sumer)

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

The “Atheist-Humanist-Leftist Revolutionaries”

Cory Johnston ☭ Ⓐ Atheist Leftist @Skepticallefty & I (Damien Marie AtHope) @AthopeMarie (my YouTube & related blog) are working jointly in atheist, antitheist, antireligionist, antifascist, anarchist, socialist, and humanist endeavors in our videos together, generally, every other Saturday.

Why Does Power Bring Responsibility?

Think, how often is it the powerless that start wars, oppress others, or commit genocide? So, I guess the question is to us all, to ask, how can power not carry responsibility in a humanity concept? I know I see the deep ethical responsibility that if there is power their must be a humanistic responsibility of ethical and empathic stewardship of that power. Will I be brave enough to be kind? Will I possess enough courage to be compassionate? Will my valor reach its height of empathy? I as everyone, earns our justified respect by our actions, that are good, ethical, just, protecting, and kind. Do I have enough self-respect to put my love for humanity’s flushing, over being brought down by some of its bad actors? May we all be the ones doing good actions in the world, to help human flourishing.

I create the world I want to live in, striving for flourishing. Which is not a place but a positive potential involvement and promotion; a life of humanist goal precision. To master oneself, also means mastering positive prosocial behaviors needed for human flourishing. I may have lost a god myth as an atheist, but I am happy to tell you, my friend, it is exactly because of that, leaving the mental terrorizer, god belief, that I truly regained my connected ethical as well as kind humanity.

Cory and I will talk about prehistory and theism, addressing the relevance to atheism, anarchism, and socialism.

At the same time as the rise of the male god, 7,000 years ago, there was also the very time there was the rise of violence, war, and clans to kingdoms, then empires, then states. It is all connected back to 7,000 years ago, and it moved across the world.

Cory Johnston: https://damienmarieathope.com/2021/04/cory-johnston-mind-of-a-skeptical-leftist/?v=32aec8db952d  

The Mind of a Skeptical Leftist (YouTube)

Cory Johnston: Mind of a Skeptical Leftist @Skepticallefty

The Mind of a Skeptical Leftist By Cory Johnston: “Promoting critical thinking, social justice, and left-wing politics by covering current events and talking to a variety of people. Cory Johnston has been thoughtfully talking to people and attempting to promote critical thinking, social justice, and left-wing politics.” http://anchor.fm/skepticalleft

Cory needs our support. We rise by helping each other.

Cory Johnston ☭ Ⓐ @Skepticallefty Evidence-based atheist leftist (he/him) Producer, host, and co-host of 4 podcasts @skeptarchy @skpoliticspod and @AthopeMarie

Damien Marie AtHope (“At Hope”) Axiological Atheist, Anti-theist, Anti-religionist, Secular Humanist. Rationalist, Writer, Artist, Poet, Philosopher, Advocate, Activist, Psychology, and Armchair Archaeology/Anthropology/Historian.

Damien is interested in: Freedom, Liberty, Justice, Equality, Ethics, Humanism, Science, Atheism, Antiteism, Antireligionism, Ignosticism, Left-Libertarianism, Anarchism, Socialism, Mutualism, Axiology, Metaphysics, LGBTQI, Philosophy, Advocacy, Activism, Mental Health, Psychology, Archaeology, Social Work, Sexual Rights, Marriage Rights, Woman’s Rights, Gender Rights, Child Rights, Secular Rights, Race Equality, Ageism/Disability Equality, Etc. And a far-leftist, “Anarcho-Humanist.”

I am not a good fit in the atheist movement that is mostly pro-capitalist, I am anti-capitalist. Mostly pro-skeptic, I am a rationalist not valuing skepticism. Mostly pro-agnostic, I am anti-agnostic. Mostly limited to anti-Abrahamic religions, I am an anti-religionist. 

To me, the “male god” seems to have either emerged or become prominent around 7,000 years ago, whereas the now favored monotheism “male god” is more like 4,000 years ago or so. To me, the “female goddess” seems to have either emerged or become prominent around 11,000-10,000 years ago or so, losing the majority of its once prominence around 2,000 years ago due largely to the now favored monotheism “male god” that grow in prominence after 4,000 years ago or so. 

My Thought on the Evolution of Gods?

Animal protector deities from old totems/spirit animal beliefs come first to me, 13,000/12,000 years ago, then women as deities 11,000/10,000 years ago, then male gods around 7,000/8,000 years ago. Moralistic gods around 5,000/4,000 years ago, and monotheistic gods around 4,000/3,000 years ago. 

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

Damien Marie AtHope (Said as “At” “Hope”)/(Autodidact Polymath but not good at math):

Axiological Atheist, Anti-theist, Anti-religionist, Secular Humanist, Rationalist, Writer, Artist, Jeweler, Poet, “autodidact” Philosopher, schooled in Psychology, and “autodidact” Armchair Archaeology/Anthropology/Pre-Historian (Knowledgeable in the range of: 1 million to 5,000/4,000 years ago). I am an anarchist socialist politically. Reasons for or Types of Atheism

My Website, My Blog, & Short-writing or QuotesMy YouTube, Twitter: @AthopeMarie, and My Email: damien.marie.athope@gmail.com

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