Which cerebral regions are involved in the perception of archaeological abstract engravings?

Archaeologists have proposed that the earliest graphic traces made by Human (up to 500,000 years before the present) resulted of an intention and that these abstract engravings corresponded to the emergence of symbolic production in the behavioral repertoire of Hominines. For some researchers, the origin of this emergence is based on the evolution of the visual cortical system and the involvement of regions and motor and premotor in visual analysis (Theory of neurovisual resonance).

Engraving on ocher dating back 75 000 years (Blombos cave, South Africa) © PACEA, CNRS


The ArcheoNeuro project aims to provide a neural support for this hypothesis. The objective is to characterize the networks involved in the perception of these traces in modern human. It is conducted in collaboration with the GIN-IMN (N. Tzourio-Mazoyer, E. Mellet), which provides expertise in neuroscience and neuroimaging and the PACEA archeology laboratory (F. D’Errico, PACEA, UMR 5199) whose research concerns the emergence of symbolic behaviour and productions in the Palaeolithic period.