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Customer Review

on 4 January 2007
This text is a folow on from The Mind in the Cave where Lewis Wiliams showed how neuorological elements in the human brain, combined with different levels of consciousness, give rise to religious experiences and belief systems. Taking this model on to the neolithic sites of Catal Huyuk in Turkey and the Boyne Bend monuments in northern Ireland, the authors attempt to explain the structures in terms of belief systems that may have been held by the builders. The great strenght of this thesis is that it has flexibility built around a core of basic ideas. This does allow different interpretations to be made, but based upon a relatively simple model. The interpretative powers are of course limited - we cannot replay the past - but we now have the best window found yet into the minds of those ancient builders and their belief systems. No extravagant claims are made by the authors (though that wil not stop others), but it does offer an opportunity to think constructively about an area of archaeology and ancient history that has been far too neglected until now. Religion simply cannot be ignored when attempting to understand ancient societies - this is an invaluable contribution to our attempts to understand the people and the contexts in which they built their structures and the ways in which their societies may have functioned.
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