The Neanderthal Art from Brunique Cave. Becaming Human an Inhuman Creation
Santiago Wolnei Ferreira Guimarães*
Federal University fo Pará - Anthropology Graduate Program, Brazil
Submission: March 05, 2017; Published: July 11, 2017
*Corresponding author: Santiago Wolnei Ferreira Guimarães, Federal University fo Pará - Anthropology Graduate Program, Instituto de Filosofia e Ciências Humanas - IFCH, Rua Augusto Corrêa, 01 - Campus Universitário do Guamá. ZIP: 66075-900, Belém - Pará, Brazil, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
How to cite this article: Santiago W. The Neanderthal Art from Brunique Cave. Becaming Human an Inhuman Creation. Glob J Arch & Anthropol. 2017; 1(3): 555563. DOI: 10.19080/GJAA.2017.01.555563
In May 2016, a great discovery brought to light the rearmost evidence about art ever made. The circular structure made with stalagmites and fragments of stalactites fallen to the ground of Brunique Cave, in France, was interpreted as the oldest art ever registered, made 176,000 years ago .
his kind of discovery, although apparently another source in order to think of the birth of symbolic thought and also in other dimensions of the mind, which include the aesthetic world, revealed another problem. In the primordial truth, this problem is constituted as a paradigm perhaps not yet systematized by most scientists involved in such discovery.
The very early age found, together with its insertion within the continental local context, guides all the problems not relative to one of our creations, but indeed, to other species: the Homo neanderthalensis. In this sense, how to make something in short, human, thus made by a being not absolutely human?
The problem is dense and deep, because art would involve categories of thought beyond an event resulting from purely technical nature and manipulation of surroundings. It would be rather, a phenomenon arisen from inside and expose in front of our ears, mouths, hands and including, other input means, in accordance with each culture and its rituals, but also according to each individual.
The prospects that deal with prehistoric art as a means of communication are growing [2-8]. Thus, this term has been used in prehistoric studies as a designation employed, in order to characterize moments and social systems. Therefore, art could not be thought of for the prehistoric period, taking into account that it would only be born in the Renaissance, as an "awareness of individuality" .
This idea is important, in order to think about the integration of the product of a mind to a system of meanings that could be "read" by many. Furthermore, it is also useful to refer us to a way of life in which the group actions were more important for survival than the individual ones. However, this makes us think of a limited human being and devoid of cognitive abilities with regard to the creation and aesthetic sensitivity, when the subject does not present more recent cultural bases.
Is it possible that these or any other psychological characteristics can only arise when these are highlighted by a particular socio-cultural context? However, would it not be the very characteristic of a subject brain to feel the world around it and recreate it according, also to its need? And will this be the most appropriate term for the phenomenon related to art: the need?
Maybe these findings do not answer to the question, but rather bring paths to think about the question by researchers, who presented to the world the "Neanderthal art" of Brunique: "What did they do this for?"
Does this side of the mind - the awareness, the reason - be more appropriate as a way to respond to this? Should there be a necessary condition of functionality for such an "artistic" creation? Perhaps not, provided we can think of the mind side not subject to such rules: the unconscious.
The relation between the unconscious and the aesthetic attitude is direct, since it is known that such an attitude isolates the object, not considering in their causes, effects and consequences, but for yourself, while it is pleasant or unpleasant (Stolnitz apud Talon-Hugon). It constitutes, in fact, as an active perception that puts in alert the imagination and the emotions of an intense awareness, attentive to details and the internal organization of the thing. Notwithstanding, from such emotions, a bridge is created to conceive another mental intensity, this time characterized by a primary instinct, in other words, the unconscious, as thought by Freud.
Once being, a "Neanderthal art", an unconscious phenomenon, it is urgent to ask how it was possible to identify it for us, the Homo sapiens. What would have made a uniquely human apprehension category and the construction of reality be recognized in a different neuro-systemic apparatus? Would it be a misunderstanding of our interpretive abilities? Or in fact, an interpretation based on a convergence of traces relative to the psychic universe, that has developed very similarly in other species of the genus Homo? The question, being still unanswered, shows dependent upon problems related to the study of signs. This as shown by Charles Sanders Pierce, the symbol, which can be only recognized by the members of the group that created it, and may be all kinds of sign , making it impossible for interpretations driven by an external observer to these systems, like an archaeologist, who tries to interpret the "history" supposedly present in the drawings represented on the rock. In this way, if the interpretation of the conscious sign proves to be difficult, how much then would the interpretation of an unconscious sign be?
When Freud  he presents us with the possibility of thinking about the communication between two unconscious persons. But, he might not have imagined the possibility of a non-human unconscious, and even less in the communication between this kind of unconscious and ours.
Obviously, considering the Neanderthal a "not human" requires a lot of care. Although in terms of morphology, the Neanderthals constitute an extinct hominid group known more clearly demarcated, being considered by many a specific species and it has been increasingly difficult to know what are the limits of demarcation, in genetic terms [12-18]. Genetic research has demonstrated the relation between Modern humans and Neanderthals . However, they have been appointed only 04% of the DNA of European human corresponding to the Neanderthal . Therefore, although it can be clearly stated the existence of gene flow between these two groups, it can be conceived a hybridization as a highly unusual practice among them . This fact confirms the conclusion based on morphological analysis, which indicates the Neandertal as a distinct species of Homo sapiens.
The discovery opens a window, in order to think about the possibilities of interaction between two organisms, which although they are very similar, belong to different species. On the other hand, this makes it possible to think about the different forms of communication, conscious as well as unconscious, established not only between humans, but also between these and other living beings [22,23].
Perhaps in this bias, it would be possible to ask whether the signs determined by a more abstract systematization, such as circles formed by stalactites, would have a more universal understanding, or could they only be understood under the pillars of a given culture. More and more we approach ourselves from the "other". This time, this other is not confined only as a subject coming from a different culture of Western, but more as a subject a little further away, who grew up and developed itself on the other side of the mountain, on "the other side of the river":
This era of technological nomadization, has been emphasized in the conversation about the search for other planets, habitable or not. The interaction occurred in prehistoric times are once again present. Meanwhile, we asked ourselves how the communication between beings evolved in worlds would be, different ecosystems, if it is possible to conceive. This is the importance of the discussion that is intended to be presented here.
A problem that is addressed when admitting a future interaction between human and non-human, in this case extraterrestrial, has similar relationship in the past, in the relationship between human and non-human (or almost human, as it could also be said by some), in this case Neanderthals. Hence, the importance for knowledge brought by anthropology and by man's past: is when he knows more about himself, triying to indicate similar reality constructs and intentions to "others". It remains to know what are the limits to believe in such constructions. Maybe they are even possible. Why not?
Conkey M (1990) Experimenting with style and archaeology: some historical and theoretical issues In: The Uses of Style in Archaeology. In: Conkey M & Hastorf C (Eds.), New Directions in Archaeology series. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, London, UK, pp. 5-17.
Sackett J (1986) Style, function, and assemblage variability: a replay to Binford. American Antiquity 51(3): 628-634.
Sackett J (1990) Style and ethnicity in archaeology: The case for isochrestism. In: Conkey M & Hastorf C (Eds.), The Uses of Style in Archaeology. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, London, UK, p.32-43.
Sauvet G (1988) La communication graphique paléolithique (de l'analyse quantitative d'un corpus de données à son interprétation sémiologique). L' Anthropologie 92(1): 3-16.
Sauvet G (1990) Les signes dans l'art mobilier. L'art des objets au Paléolithique, Colloque de Foix 1987. Les voies de la Recherche, p. 8399.
Sauvet G, Wlodarczyk A (1977) Essai de sémiologie préhistorique: pour une théorie des premiers signes graphiques de l'homme In : Bulletin de la Société préhistorique française, tome 74: Etudes et Travaux, fascicule 2.
Sauvet G, Wlodarczyk A (2008) Towards a Formal Grammar of the European Palaeolithic Cave Art. Rock Art Research. The Journal of the Australian Rock Art Research Association (AURA) 25(2): 165-172.
Wiessner P (1989) Is there a unity to style? In: The Uses of Style in Archaeology. In: Conkey M & Hastorf C (Eds.), New Directions in Archaeology series. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, London, UK, pp. 105-112.
Baldellou V (2001) Semiologia y semiótica en la interpretación del arte post-paleolítico In: Semiótica del arte prehistórico. Servicio de Estudios Arqueológicos Valencianos. Série Arqueológica. Valencia: Diputación Provincial de Valencia 18: 25-51.
Freud S (1915) The Unconscious. In: The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, Volume XIV (19141916): On the History of the Psycho-Analytic Movement, Papers on Met psychology and Other Works, p.159-215.?