CARTA Glossary

Displaying 1 - 26 of 26 defined words for "The Role of Myth in Anthropogeny". To see all CARTA defined words, please view the complete glossary.

Word Definition Related Vocabulary
Agent (in narration)

Any kind of creature that can act within a story.

Agriculture

A subsistence strategy that relies on domesticated species instead of hunting and gathering wild animals and plants.

Culture

Behavior and norms that are shared, learned, and socially transmitted.

Ethnographic analogy

A methodological and analytical process by archaeologists for reconstructing features of a prehistoric society and culture that leaves no direct archaeological imprint.

Evron Quarry, Israel

An archaeological site in Western Galilee, Israel, with evidence for hominin occupation up to 1 million years ago and tools and fire use dating to around 800,000 years ago.

Fiction

Any story where the teller and the listener both know it is untrue and is also not meant to be taken as true. Fiction can be distinguished from true narratives, as well as from myth, lies, mistakes, and unwitting falsehoods. Fiction includes most drama, feature films, comics, and poetry that tells invented stories as well as novels and short stories. But not all fictions need be narratives.

Folklore

Stories, sayings, dances, material culture, and other customs shared by a group of people.

Foraging

Searching for wild food or provisions as opposed to cultivating food crops or breeding livestock.

Hominin

A classification of species comprising humans and our extinct relatives following the divergence from the common ancestor with chimpanzees.

Hunting and gathering

A subsistence strategy in which most or all food is obtained by foraging and is in contrast to agriculture, which rely mainly on domesticated species.

Hunting hypothesis

An explanation for the dietary shift to meat procurement during human evolution as a catalyst favoring a suite of transformative biological and behavioral adaptations.

Ju/’hoansi

An indigenous population of San people in northeastern Namibia and northwestern Kalahari desert region of Botswana.

Lies

Untrue stories the teller wants the listener to believe.

Mimesis

Derived from the Greek word for “imitation” and is used in three different senses:

  1. The imitation of elements of the real world;
  2. The showing or imitation of an action (as opposed to diegesis, or the telling of action in words);
  3. Miming and other forms of imitative action (using facial expression, gesture, posture, and vocal sound) in communication without words, or even the representation to oneself of the stages of an action or process.
Myth

Untrue stories that both the teller and listener usually believe to be true.

Narrative

The factual or fictional representation of a coherent particular sequence of events, usually involving some agency and purpose.

Non-Fiction

Any story purported to tell factual information.

Paleolithic

A broad prehistoric period during which stone was used to make tools and weapons and is synonymous with Stone Age. During the paleolithic, hunting and gathering (foraging) was the primary subsistence method. The period ended with a flourishing of culture, not only in the manufacture of new stone (and bone tools) and other innovations (such spear thrower, bow and arrow, eyed needle, fishing implements), but also the development of splendid cave art paintings and engravings. Subdivisions:

  • Lower Paleolithic: ~3.4 mya - 300 kya.
  • Middle Paleolithic: Consists of use of prepared cores (i.e. Levallois Technique) and hafted tools and weapons. ~300 - 30 kya.
  • Upper Paleolithic: Coincides with behavioral modernity and predates the advent of agriculture. Artifacts include finely crafted stone blades and bone and antler tools, such as harpoons and needles. ~50 - 10 kya.
Relational ontology

Gaining knowledge of one’s own being (ontology) by relating to a being that is – or is held to be – categorically “Other”, and perceiving oneself from its perspective. That Other is usually an animal onto whom personhood is projected through this sort of inter-subjective encounter. Another term for this notion is New Animism.

San People

Members of various Khoisan-speaking indigenous hunter-gatherer and former hunter-gatherer groups that are the first nations of Southern Africa, and whose territories span Botswana, Namibia, Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho and South Africa. mtDNA and Y chromosome studies show that the San carry some of the most divergent (oldest) human haplogroups.

Story

The telling of “what happened” in spoken words, written words, words and pictures, acting or mime, or film, etc. Stories include things that really happened and things that are imagined to have happened. Story is generally equivalent to narrative but can also be used specifically and technically in opposition to discourse. Stories tends to possess an emotional contour of “a beginning, a middle, and an end,” rather than the explanatory contour of narrative.

Therianthrope

From Ancient Greek for “wild beast” and “human” to represent a fantastical hybrid. Examples from myth, folklore, and popular culture are the minotaur, the werewolf and Donald Duck, respectively.

Topology

The arrangement of and relationship between constituent parts.

Trickster

A character in myth and folklore who plays tricks on others or disobeys conventional cultural norms.

Unwitting falsehood

An untrue story erroneously taken to report truth.

Wonderwerk Cave, South Africa

A National Heritage Site in Northern Cape Province, South Africa. Archaeological research has revealed over 2 million years of hominin activity in the cave.