Cover image for The gods of prehistoric man
The gods of prehistoric man
Maringer, Johannes, 1902-
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Godsdienst der praehistorie. English
Publication Information:
London : Phoenix Press, 2002.

Physical Description:
xviii, 219 pages : illustrations, map ; 24 cm.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
GN799.R4 M32 1960 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
GN799.R4 M32 1960 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Concise, scholarly, and well illustrated, here is a wonderfully accessible introduction to the religious practices of prehistoric man. Follow the countless traces left behind by ancient peoples, extracted from the earth's immense archives: these artifacts--including a hunting scene painted at the Cueva de los Caballos in Spain; clay fertility figures from Czechoslovakia; and the famed monument at Stonehenge--have been woven into an enthralling narrative of the Paleolithic, Mesolithic, and Neolithic periods. Belief in the afterlife, the cult of the dead, ritual cannibalism, sacrificial offerings, burial practices, votive gifts, and fertility goddesses are just a few of the areas uncovered and investigated in this absorbing volume.

Table of Contents

Forewordp. xvii
I The Early Palaeolithic Periodp. 1
Primitive humanity
Neanderthal man
Glacial and interglacial ages
Hand-axe and flake cultures
Primitive man's mentality
Primitive man and his dead
Peking man
Two-stage burials
First true burials
Belief in afterlife
Cult of the dead
Skull cult
Ritual cannibalism
Hunting rites
Cavebear skulls
Comparative modern rituals
Sacrificial offerings
II The Upper Palaeolithic Periodp. 44
The new men and the emergence of art
Last ice age
New human species in Europe
Aurignacian, Solutrean and Magdalenian cultures
Hunting art
Hand impressions and 'macaroni' tracings
Representation of animals
Symbolism and abstraction
Burial practices
Votive gifts
Fear of dead persons
Skull cups
Hunting 'tragedy' of Lascaux
Hunting rites
Bear cult
Role of magic in the last ice age
Cult of 'mother goddesses'
III The Mesolithic Periodp. 115
A transitional stage
Passing of the ice age
Approximate chronology of cultures
Religious practices of the reindeer hunters in northern Europe
Stellmoor finds
Hopfenbach finds
Cult of ancestors and spirits of the dead in western Europe
Azilian pebbles
IV The Neolithic Periodp. 133
The advent of agriculture
Northern Eurasian hunters and fishermen
Magical character of circumpolar art
Danubian farming peoples
Danubian idols
Female fertility principle
Bull cult
Anthropophagous practices
Mediterranean area
Tarxien, Gigantia and Hal Saflieni sites
Chthonian cult
Megalithic culture of western Europe
Dolmens and menhirs
Almeria idols
Sky god
Magical beliefs and practices
Farming peoples of northern Europe
Megalith builders
Solar symbols
V The Religions of Prehistoryp. 189
The religion of the hunters
Reverence towards the dead
Veneration of a supreme being
Beliefs in magic
Role of art
Reindeer hunters
Cult of spirits of the dead
Religion of the farming peoples
Cult of the sky and the sun
Cult of ancestors and spirits of the dead
Fertility goddess
Megalithic structures
Sky and sun god
Cultural and Chronological Tablep. 202
Mapp. 204
Selected Bibliographyp. 207
Indexp. 215