“The Mind in the Cave”

The book behind explaining Lascaux

A public lecture by Sam Challis

as part of the Public Lecture Series Rock Art & Symbolic Expression. A Southern Africa – France Dialogue


Thursday 28 June 2018

18.00 for 18.30 | Sci-Bono Discovery Centre

Sci-Bono Discovery Centre Auditorium, Miriam Makeba St & Helen Joseph Street, Newtown, Johannesburg

The lecture will discuss Prof. David Lewis-WilliamsThe Mind in the Cave: Consciousness and the Origins of Art (Thames & Hudson Ltd, 2004). This book is a study of Upper Palaeolithic European rock art, and it details the various approaches to rock art analysis and interpretation. In the light of the Wonders of Rock Art. Lascaux Cave and Africa exhibition, Sam Challis aims to link David Lewis-Williams’ theses to the cave paintings which can be observed at Sci-Bono Discovery Centre until October 1st, 2018.



Sam Challis is a Senior Researcher at the Rock Art Research Institute of Wits University in Johannesburg. His research focuses on deciphering San and other rock art from an indigenous perspective. He also does ethnographic analysis, especially about the new animisms.

His interests include archaeological contact between hunter-gatherers, pastoralists, farmers and Europeans, dealing with issues of indigeneity, cultural creolisation, ethnogenesis and entanglement. In these contexts, his rock art research aims to offer a “reverse gaze”. His work often involves working with and training local collectives.



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