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  #151  
Old 06-12-2019, 01:57 PM
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Or maybe it just means that whoever carved the Willendorf figure happened not to have a foot fetish. Or the customer it was carved for, if it was made for someone else. Or maybe the carver liked feet, but had learned from experience that round, fat shapes hold up well, but carved feet tend to break off, so he stopped bothering to try carving them. Or maybe he made another statue that was nothing but an exaggerated pair of feet, but we just happen not to have found that one.
Isn't that figurine supposed by some authorities to be a self-portrait by a pregnant woman? Looking down, all she could see was boobs and belly, with nary a foot in evidence.
  #152  
Old 06-12-2019, 02:00 PM
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Or she - no reason to assume a he, there. In fact, there's a not-too-crazy theory that it doesn't have feet and has some of the proportions it has because it's a self-portrait.

Or was Rob Liefeld's direct ancestor.
  #153  
Old 06-13-2019, 11:53 AM
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I didn't mention the possibility that the carver was a woman, because it wouldn't have changed any of the hypotheticals I came up with. But it hadn't occurred to me that it might be a self-portrait: That would indeed make the carver's sex relevant.
  #154  
Old 06-13-2019, 12:16 PM
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The Venus figurines (there are many similar ones) don't really show modern obesity. More likely a combo of pregnancy and steatopygia through a highly stylized lens.
More particularly, the pregnant appearance denotes fertility, motherhood and life. Widespread female icons are widely agreed to be the earliest religious figures, at least in Europe. Marija Gimbutas has written books about the Old European religion — with manifestations even today. More elaborate religions, featuring at least some male gods, came later, e.g. from near the Euphrates and Volga Rivers.

Last edited by septimus; 06-13-2019 at 12:17 PM.
  #155  
Old 06-13-2019, 01:47 PM
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Isn't that figurine supposed by some authorities to be a self-portrait by a pregnant woman? Looking down, all she could see was boobs and belly, with nary a foot in evidence.

Multiple "Venus" figurines have been discovered, spanning a range of more than a thousand miles and more than 10,000 years. We have no idea what the motive for making them was, or even if it was a single tradition spanning a gigantic span of human history or if the idea was reinvented over and over. Anyone who claims to know what they were for is full of shit.
  #156  
Old 06-13-2019, 03:02 PM
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Multiple "Venus" figurines have been discovered, spanning a range of more than a thousand miles and more than 10,000 years. We have no idea what the motive for making them was, or even if it was a single tradition spanning a gigantic span of human history or if the idea was reinvented over and over. Anyone who claims to know what they were for is full of shit.
I mentioned one specific figurine, and I said "supposed by some authorities...." I'm not sure what you're on about.
  #157  
Old 06-13-2019, 03:16 PM
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I mentioned one specific figurine, and I said "supposed by some authorities...." I'm not sure what you're on about.

Well, then, "some authorities" are making utterly unprovable speculations about one artifact out of a group of similar artifacts. Better?
  #158  
Old 06-13-2019, 03:22 PM
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Well, then, "some authorities" are making utterly unprovable speculations about one artifact out of a group of similar artifacts. Better?
But it's an interesting speculation. What, they shouldn't make any public guesses about an artifact's purpose?
  #159  
Old 06-13-2019, 04:16 PM
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Well, then, "some authorities" are making utterly unprovable speculations about one artifact out of a group of similar artifacts. Better?
Just like every other authority's opinion...so, got a point?
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Old 06-13-2019, 04:41 PM
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Was there a venus at Gobekli Tepe?

Or are we on a side track?
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Old 06-13-2019, 07:40 PM
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We don't have a clue what the "Venus" figures were for?

Tell me: If someone nowadays is producing depictions of naked women with exaggerated sexual characteristics, what are they for? And is there any reason that the purpose would be any different a few thousand years ago? People are people.
  #162  
Old 06-13-2019, 11:50 PM
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If someone nowadays is producing depictions of naked women with exaggerated sexual characteristics, what are they for?
Art? Porn? Advertising? Political statement? Religious Iconography?

No one reason, is my point.
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And is there any reason that the purpose would be any different a few thousand years ago?
You say this like you have one particular purpose in mind. Do you mean porn? Then say porn.

What makes you think people millennia ago had the same thing for nudity we do? Art history shows us non-sexual nudity has been the norm at various periods, and not at others.
  #163  
Old 06-14-2019, 07:52 AM
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They obviously didn't have the same thing we do, because most people nowadays don't find the Venus of Wilendorf shape sexy. But I'm sure they had some sort of porn.
  #164  
Old 06-14-2019, 08:52 AM
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The prehistoric Venus figurines are obviously religious icons, though the term "religious" applied to Paleolithic man may be ill-defined. The consistency of the statues' shapes (as well as the careful workmanship) should make it clear they had some function beyond "porn."

I own a copy of Language of the Goddesses by Marija Gimbutas herself. (I'd quote some relevant passages ... but unfortunately my book collection is in such disarray that just finding the book would be a project! )

Last edited by septimus; 06-14-2019 at 08:53 AM.
  #165  
Old 06-14-2019, 08:57 AM
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I'm sure they had some sort of porn.
Possibly. We don't really have any unambiguous porn from before the Fertile Crescent civilizations, AFAIK. The mindset for it might be a result of civilization, for all we know.

Last edited by MrDibble; 06-14-2019 at 08:58 AM.
  #166  
Old 06-14-2019, 10:36 AM
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Sorry for restarting the hijack. But...

No. The figurine is FAT, not (or not just) pregnant. A thin pregnant woman has a distinctive shape; this figurine displays anatomically correct obesity.

My point in bring up her shape was not to discuss purpose or porn, but to point out that the figure made by and for a nomadic group displays a level of obesity inconsistent with our modern concept of hunter-gatherer nomadic societies. This suggests that in some locales, before agricultural societies pushed HG to the less productive lands, it was possible that some HG societies were sufficiently sedentary and lived in sufficiently bountiful conditions, it appears, that some members of the group could become obese enough that it suggests they were limited in mobility. I can't imagine a 300-lb woman living a nomadic lifestyle, but this suggests the artist had seen one close to that condition. (and she didn't need feet, ha ha)
  #167  
Old 06-14-2019, 11:05 AM
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some HG societies were sufficiently sedentary and lived in sufficiently bountiful conditions, it appears, that some members of the group could become obese enough that it suggests they were limited in mobility. I can't imagine a 300-lb woman living a nomadic lifestyle, but this suggests the artist had seen one close to that condition. (and she didn't need feet, ha ha)
Steatopygian Khoisan women had no problem maintaining a nomadic lifestyle.
  #168  
Old 06-14-2019, 11:24 AM
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Steatopygian Khoisan women had no problem maintaining a nomadic lifestyle.
No, she's beyond steatopygian - she has full-bodied fatness up and down, including huge... tracts of land.

The stomach overflows on the sides as large love handles; not a pregnancy characteristic. She even has fat rolls around the vulva. As I keep saying, this is too true-to-life to be fanciful - it appears to be based on reality.
  #169  
Old 06-14-2019, 01:12 PM
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I own a copy of Language of the Goddesses by Marija Gimbutas herself. (I'd quote some relevant passages ... but unfortunately my book collection is in such disarray that just finding the book would be a project! )
I'm not sure if you're aware of it, but Marija Gimbutas was discredited decades ago, and her 'goddess' theories are not, and have never been, accepted by serious scientists and academics.

RationalWiki:

Goddess movement

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Much of the basis for the claims of an ancient matriarchy are based on the arguments put forth by the late archaeologist Marija Gimbutas (although Gimbutas herself preferred the term "matristic" to denote a sense of egalitarianism).[1] Gimbutas' claims are recycled in many works of Goddess pseudo-scholarship, most famously Riane Eisler's The Chalice and the Blade.[2]

This hypothesis is widely regarded as crackpot within both "mainstream" and gender/feminist archaeology.[3] It relies on a specious interpretation of ancient "Venus" statuettes and figurines. One of the glaring problems with this is that the artifacts range greatly in their depictions -- the "Venus of Willendorf," pictured at right, is a famous example but not wholly typical. Positing a single religion and social structure on this basis would require a massively speculative hypothesis that much of the peoples of the Eurasian landmass shared either a unified or very similar social structure and religious ideology over a period of approximately 30,000 years from the Late Paleolithic to the Neolithic. Besides this tiny complication, there is also no reason to assume that all the figurines represented a goddess. For one, not all the figures are actually female -- many are male figures and a number are ambiguous in terms of sex.

The context that some of the figures were found in (e.g., trash pits) does not suggest that they were sacred items. In fact, there is no definitive consensus on how the various statuettes should be interpreted.[4] In addition, even if they were meant to represent goddesses, that doesn't necessarily imply that these societies were matriarchal or matrifocal. The ancient Greeks and the Catholics produced many depictions of Athena and the Virgin Mary respectively, but neither came out of a matriarchal society. This interpretation also ignores the numerous depictions of animals, violence, and death in Neolithic-period art.[5]
Marija Gimbutas

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Archeologists generally reject these claims of Gimbutas' late work, and generally consider her claims to find evidence of a shared mother-goddess deity, common theologies, and elaborate complexes of cultural values among potsherds, decorative stone carvings, and faceless images to go far beyond the facts on the ground. Ian HodderWikipedia's W.svg of Cambridge has said that "She looks at squiggles on a pot and says it's a primeval egg or a snake, or she looks at female figurines and says they're mother goddesses. I don't really think there's an awful lot of evidence to support that level of interpretation."
  #170  
Old 06-14-2019, 03:40 PM
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Multiple "Venus" figurines have been discovered, spanning a range of more than a thousand miles and more than 10,000 years. We have no idea what the motive for making them was, or even if it was a single tradition spanning a gigantic span of human history or if the idea was reinvented over and over. Anyone who claims to know what they were for is full of shit.
Iím imagining someone stumbling onto a store of Smokey the Bear posters in the far distant future. They might well recognize itís a bear wearing a hat but putting together that it means donít start forest fires would be a bit of a stretch.
  #171  
Old 06-14-2019, 05:52 PM
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Iím imagining someone stumbling onto a store of Smokey the Bear posters in the far distant future. They might well recognize itís a bear wearing a hat but putting together that it means donít start forest fires would be a bit of a stretch.

Further, stumbling on some Smokey the Bear posters in New York and a Clovis-age petroglyph of a bear in Washington State and assuming that both were made by the same culture for the same reason.
  #172  
Old 06-14-2019, 09:34 PM
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Further, stumbling on some Smokey the Bear posters in New York and a Clovis-age petroglyph of a bear in Washington State and assuming that both were made by the same culture for the same reason.
Obvious some kind of Earth Bear God. Shovel as a symbol of crafting the mighty earthworks that date from that period. The hat must be a symbol of authority not unlike the Egyptian Uraeus.
  #173  
Old 06-15-2019, 03:07 AM
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I'm not sure if you're aware of it, but Marija Gimbutas was discredited decades ago, and her 'goddess' theories are not, and have never been, accepted by serious scientists and academics.
I'm not "invested" in all of Gimbutas' theories ó I can't even be bothered to hunt down her book, which is somewhere within 20 yards of me as I type! ó but IIUC she was also ridiculed for her Kurgan hypothesis of I-E origin which is now accepted by all right-minded thinkers.

Of course, the details of Venus figurines will vary in time and space; the changes in material culture are dizzying and lead to several dozens of named prehistoric cultures in Europe alone. But IMHO it is absurd to imagine these icons as universal porn, rather than some sort of "religious" motif.

Throwing out the baby with the bathwater is something I see all too often in the "soft" sciences. Julian Jaynes (who still has expert adherents today) went too far in some of his generalizations? "All his theories should therefore be rejected." Even the revolutionary theories of SDMB's own Lynne Kelly, acclaimed by top archaeologists, were described on this very board as "woo."

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not ... accepted by serious scientists and academics.
Thanks at least for not inserting an "all" before the "serious." In a previous debate on another topic I started naming PhD's that took "my" side and indignant Dopers were outraged that I didn't know "all" meant "most."
  #174  
Old 06-15-2019, 08:12 AM
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I would say quite the opposite. We know that all humans, all over the world, make porn, and when modern humans create depictions of naked women, that's usually why. On the other hand, while all human populations, all over the world, have religions, it's mostly not the same religions, with the same symbols or objects of veneration. It would take extraordinary evidence to rule out the simple explanation of porn.
  #175  
Old 06-15-2019, 08:39 AM
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Even the revolutionary theories of SDMB's own Lynne Kelly, acclaimed by top archaeologists, were described on this very board as "woo."

You mean the revolutionary theory that set the scientific world on fire sank without a ripple?
  #176  
Old 06-15-2019, 11:11 AM
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We know that all humans, all over the world, make porn,
I've never seen Bushman porn. Is there pre-colonial Pacific Islander porn?
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and when modern humans create depictions of naked women, that's usually why.
There's probably nearly as many art nudes as there are porn nudes.
  #177  
Old 06-15-2019, 02:07 PM
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You mean the revolutionary theory that set the scientific world on fire sank without a ripple?
So your criticism is not that the theory isn't plausible and reasonable (it has after all been peer-reviewed and published by Cambridge University Press), but rather that it isn't sensational or earth-shattering enough for you?

In that case, I suppose you can sneer at 99.9% of all scholarly books and papers.

It is, however, an interesting theory. We know that similar memory techniques are currently used by several different indigenous cultures around the world. If they were also used in the past, they may explain certain features of paleolithic structures and artifacts.
  #178  
Old 06-15-2019, 03:50 PM
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It is, however, an interesting theory. We know that similar memory techniques are currently used by several different indigenous cultures around the world. If they were also used in the past, they may explain certain features of paleolithic structures and artifacts.

We know that several different cultures tell stories as a device to remember geography. We don't know cultures that modify geography as a device to remember stories. The "theory" is pure loony-tunes.
  #179  
Old 06-15-2019, 04:39 PM
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When I first saw the Venus, my guess was "child's doll". But a friend who's an amateur archeologist said the Venus figurines represent a huge amount of labor, and were thus probably too valuable to be a child's play thing. So my next guess is porn.
  #180  
Old 06-16-2019, 02:51 AM
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We know that several different cultures tell stories as a device to remember geography. We don't know cultures that modify geography as a device to remember stories. The "theory" is pure loony-tunes.
No, this is not what Lynne Kelly is saying.

My summary:

1. Many indigenous cultures preserve surprisingly large amounts of knowledge, despite having no written language:

* The characteristics, and medicinal, food, and other uses of many hundreds of different species of plants and trees. (e.g the Hanunůo in the Philippines in the 19th century could name, describe, and explain 1,625 plant species.)
* Hundreds of animal and marine species ditto, their defining chatracteristics, habitats, behaviour, life-cycles, hunting techniques, uses, etc.
* Similarly the characteristics of insects. (e.g. North American Navajo have worked with ethnoentomologists to classify and describe over 700 species of insects.)
* Medical knowledge of how to diagnose and treat numerous different illnesses and types of wounds.
* Navigation and 'maps' to numerous locations, often over distances of hundreds or even thousands of miles.
* Knowledge of currents, tides, and winds for cultures connected with sea.
* History of tribes, often covering many centuries.
* Treaties, agreements, borders with other tribes.
* Detailed genealogies and family trees, often going back several centuries.
* Stars and constellations (used for directional purposes as well as to tell time of night), lunar and solar cycles, seasonal variations.
* Dates and places of regular large gatherings.
* Notable historical natural events such as earthquakes, volcanoes, fires, comets.
* What to do in rare events, such as serious droughts and floods that occur once in several generations, when normal food sources are not available.
* Etc, etc.


2. All this knowledge is preserved by the use of memory techniques, which involve, but are not limited to:

* Totem poles, memory boards, small shaped stone, wood, or leather objects of various kinds.
* Abstract or representative paintings and designs.
* Knotted chords.
* Landscape features in 'sacred' spots, and 'ritual' journeys through a number of such landscape features.

And particularly:

* Songs.
* Dances.
* Mnemonic stories.

- All of these may be used in combination or separately.

e.g.
Quote:
John Bradley described this issue when writing about trying to learn an Australian Yanyuwa songline, a kujika:

So much knowledge was being presented to me, at many levels and intricately interrelated. I was struggling to find words for much of the material as it was deeply encoded and dependent on other knowledge. There were many verses describing the myriad species Ė fish, sharks, birds and other animals and plants, whose names in Yanyuwa were so familiar to my informants that I had yet to identify in English. ...

I was amazed by the detail of this kujika, especially of the different species of sea turtles, their life cycle and habitats; it was a biology lesson in sung form.
Lynne Kelly gives a large number of such examples, with citations to published papers.


4. In many cultures this body of knowledge is so large that it takes years of dedicated effort to learn. This results in a special caste of people whose function it is to preserve the knowledge, while most people only memorise a smaller amount of everyday knowledge.

5. It is a category mistake to think that the primary function of songs, dances, rituals, ritual objects and places, and the 'priestly' caste is religion and worship. A small part of it may indeed be religion and worship, but the great bulk of it is about preserving detailed knowledge and facts.

6. It is not a big leap to connect, say, the stone posts at Gobekli Tepe, with North American totem poles and other such objects in other cultures, and guess that they may have served a similar purpose.

7. Usually regular gatherings are held, which in Australia may involve thousands of people, to refresh and remember the songs, dances, etc. which encode the knowledge of the culture. These gatherings are held at places where knowledge is encoded in features of the landscape.

8. We can theorise that larger, more settled and sophisticated cultures may have created purpose-built 'landscape objects' such as stone circles and places like Gobekli Tepe for such gatherings.
  #181  
Old 06-16-2019, 05:21 AM
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So my next guess is porn.
So hot! So sexay! Mmm, baby! Could it be any more smutty? I hear coneheads are the latest fetish!

My point being - many paleolithic figurines are so stylized that it's really hard to see anyone getting off on them. Although - there's a fetish for everyone, I guess (pun intended)

Last edited by MrDibble; 06-16-2019 at 05:26 AM.
  #182  
Old 06-16-2019, 07:22 AM
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Are you saying modern porn is any more realistic? Just because they distorted the female form in a different way than we do, doesn't mean they're distorting it more.
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Old 06-16-2019, 08:51 AM
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Are you saying modern porn is any more realistic?
Not just modern porn, either - everything from the Moche pottery to Edo period shunga to Indian temple sculpture to whatever's on Pornhub is much , much more realistic than what I linked to.
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Just because they distorted the female form in a different way than we do, doesn't mean they're distorting it more.
That's not distorting, that's abstraction. Hyper-abstraction, for a lot of it. Did you actually look at the examples I linked to? Picasso would look at those and go "Errm, maybe a bit tooo abstract..."

Go on, show me some -any - modern abstract porn like that...not art, unquestionable porn.

Last edited by MrDibble; 06-16-2019 at 08:55 AM.
  #184  
Old 06-16-2019, 03:50 PM
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No, this is not what Lynne Kelly is saying.

My summary:

1. Many indigenous cultures preserve surprisingly large amounts of knowledge, despite having no written language:

* The characteristics, and medicinal, food, and other uses of many hundreds of different species of plants and trees. (e.g the Hanunůo in the Philippines in the 19th century could name, describe, and explain 1,625 plant species.)
* Hundreds of animal and marine species ditto, their defining chatracteristics, habitats, behaviour, life-cycles, hunting techniques, uses, etc.
* Similarly the characteristics of insects. (e.g. North American Navajo have worked with ethnoentomologists to classify and describe over 700 species of insects.)
* Medical knowledge of how to diagnose and treat numerous different illnesses and types of wounds.
* Navigation and 'maps' to numerous locations, often over distances of hundreds or even thousands of miles.
* Knowledge of currents, tides, and winds for cultures connected with sea.
* History of tribes, often covering many centuries.
* Treaties, agreements, borders with other tribes.
* Detailed genealogies and family trees, often going back several centuries.
* Stars and constellations (used for directional purposes as well as to tell time of night), lunar and solar cycles, seasonal variations.
* Dates and places of regular large gatherings.
* Notable historical natural events such as earthquakes, volcanoes, fires, comets.
* What to do in rare events, such as serious droughts and floods that occur once in several generations, when normal food sources are not available.
* Etc, etc.


2. All this knowledge is preserved by the use of memory techniques, which involve, but are not limited to:

* Totem poles, memory boards, small shaped stone, wood, or leather objects of various kinds.
* Abstract or representative paintings and designs.
* Knotted chords.
* Landscape features in 'sacred' spots, and 'ritual' journeys through a number of such landscape features.

And particularly:

* Songs.
* Dances.
* Mnemonic stories.

- All of these may be used in combination or separately.

e.g.


Lynne Kelly gives a large number of such examples, with citations to published papers.


4. In many cultures this body of knowledge is so large that it takes years of dedicated effort to learn. This results in a special caste of people whose function it is to preserve the knowledge, while most people only memorise a smaller amount of everyday knowledge.

5. It is a category mistake to think that the primary function of songs, dances, rituals, ritual objects and places, and the 'priestly' caste is religion and worship. A small part of it may indeed be religion and worship, but the great bulk of it is about preserving detailed knowledge and facts.

6. It is not a big leap to connect, say, the stone posts at Gobekli Tepe, with North American totem poles and other such objects in other cultures, and guess that they may have served a similar purpose.

7. Usually regular gatherings are held, which in Australia may involve thousands of people, to refresh and remember the songs, dances, etc. which encode the knowledge of the culture. These gatherings are held at places where knowledge is encoded in features of the landscape.

8. We can theorise that larger, more settled and sophisticated cultures may have created purpose-built 'landscape objects' such as stone circles and places like Gobekli Tepe for such gatherings.
I am with you up to and including point #5 which I especially agree with.

Point 6 is in fact a big leap. Knowing nothing of substance about either culture you have nothing to base even a guess on.

Point 7 assumes that the behaviours of an isolated group of island dwellers can be extrapolated to the wider human population. It can't.

Point 8 is absolutely correct. We can also theorize that gigantic kitty cats buried the structure under so much litter. We can theorize that but theorizing doesn't make it true.
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