On the Origin of Mathematics and Art in Prehistoric Times

An London Knowledge Lab Maths-Art Seminar
by Francisco González Redondo
Thursday 14th February 2013, 6.00 – 7.30pm

According to the standard view, the history of Art begins in the Upper Palaeolithic era, in the Aurignacian period in Europe, roughly 40,000 years ago. By that time, our ancestors had developed the capability of symbolic thinking, an indicator of behavioural modernity that constituted a significant revolution. But together with horses, deer, goats, bison and mammoths painted on walls (Parietal Art), carved on stone or engraved on bone artifacts (Portable Art), we also find abstract paintings and engravings which contain non-representational graphic marks which can only be understood from a very specific point of view: Mathematics. Indeed, the interpretation of such symbolic register as tallies, calendars, astronomical notations, mnemonic devices and, even, cardinal and ordinal numbers, is experiencing increasing acceptance among archaeologists. In this Seminar we will witness how those first artists, members of our same species, with our same mental capabilities, registered both their artistic and mathematical thinking.

FRANCISCO A. GONZÁLEZ REDONDO is qualified in mathematics, philosophy of science (PhD 1992), and history of mathematics, science and technology (PhD 2000). He has published more than 100 articles and books in the historical field. Since 1993 he is Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education at Madrid’s Complutense University.

TIME: 6.00 to 7.30pm
PLACE: London Knowledge Lab, 23-29 Emerald St,
London, WC1N 3QS
[Travel information & maps at: http://bit.ly/LKL-MathsArt-venue ]

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