The origin, significance, and development of the earliest geometric patterns in the archaeological record
The growing corpus of non-functional geometric marks produced by different hominins has spawned considerable debate as to their significance. Some authorities claim the marks are in some way representational or symbolic while others are more cautious and view them as pre-symbolic in that they may derive from a proto-aesthetic bias linked to how the early visual cortex functions. Recent neuroscanning techniques have allowed these competing claims to be tested. This paper considers the implications of current neuroscanning data to understanding the derivation and import of the earliest geometric patterns. After considering the relevant neuroscientific research, it is concluded that the first nonfunctional marks may not be representational or symbolic but are closely tied to the way the early visual cortex processes visual information.