Image systems form a major component of our species’ cultural heritage. Most likely, their use extends back further into our evolutionary past than the earliest surviving traces of image-making in the archaeological record. Yet the capacity of image systems to serve as complex intellectual devices in their own right is often overshadowed by their perception as “merely illustrating” propositions expressed in language or writing. In this lecture, presented by the SAGE Center for the Study of the Mind, Wengrow, a professor of comparative archaeology at University College London, will offer a reappraisal of the status of image systems in human cognition and history, highlighting their role in the development of human societies across the divide of “oral” and “literate” cultures.


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