Origins of Human Innovation and Creativity


  • Scott Elias, Department of Geography, Royal Holloway, Egham, Surrey, UK Royal Holloway, University of London, U.K. Department of Geography, Royal Holloway, Egham, Surrey, UK

Innovation and creativity are two of the key characteristics that distinguish cultural transmission from biological transmission. This book explores a number of questions concerning the nature and timing of the origins of human creativity. What were the driving factors in the development of new technologies? What caused the stasis in stone tool technological innovation in the Early Pleistocene? Were there specific regions and episodes of enhanced technological development, or did it occur at a steady pace where ancestral humans lived? The authors are archaeologists who address these questions, armed with data from ancient artefacts such as shell beads used as jewelry, primitive musical instruments, and sophisticated techniques required to fashion certain kinds of stone into tools.

Providing ‘state of art’ discussions that step back from the usual archaeological publications that focus mainly on individual site discoveries, this book presents the full picture on how and why creativity in Middle to Late Pleistocene archeology/anthropology evolved.

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quaternary scientists, palaeoanthropologists, archeologists


Book information

  • Published: July 2012
  • Imprint: ELSEVIER
  • ISBN: 978-0-444-53821-5

Table of Contents

Origins of human innovation and creativity: breaking old paradigms, Scott Elias
The problem of stasis in stone tool technology during the Early Pleistocene, Clive Gamble
North African origins of symbolically mediated behaviour and the Aterian, Francesco D’Errico & Nick Barton
Personal ornaments and symbolism among the Neanderthals, Zoão Zilhão
Invention, re-invention and innovation: the makings of Oldowan lithic technology, Erella Hovers
Emergent patterns of creativity and innovation in early technologies, Steven L. Kuhn
Evolutionary ecology of creativity, John Hoffecker
Climate, creativity and competition: evaluating the Neanderthal ‘glass ceiling’,  William Davies