55 books like Les Hommes aux Temps de Lascaux

By Sophie A. de Beaune,

Here are 55 books that Les Hommes aux Temps de Lascaux fans have personally recommended if you like Les Hommes aux Temps de Lascaux. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Shamans of Prehistory: Trance and Magic in the Painted Caves

Brian D. Hayden Author Of The Eyes of the Leopard

From my list on prehistory and what life was like in the Stone Age.

Why am I passionate about this?

I became intrigued by Upper Paleolithic societies when I studied prehistory at the University of Bordeaux. Over time, I became more and more involved in trying to understand why some Upper Paleolithic societies produced such great art – both painted and carved. After years of studying hunter-gatherer cultures, I concluded that the Upper Paleolithic groups producing fine art were not simple egalitarian groups, but were almost certainly more complex types of hunter-gatherers like the ethnographic groups in California and the Northwest Coast with striking economic and social inequalities – and great art. I decided to put all these ideas into an adventure novel for young readers: The Eyes of the Leopard.  

Brian's book list on prehistory and what life was like in the Stone Age

Brian D. Hayden Why did Brian love this book?

The use of deep caves for rituals and creating extraordinary paintings has provoked many discussions on why people did this so long ago. There are many theories, but one of the most discussed ideas is that the paintings were produced by shamans as records of their spiritual visions, or to connect with their animal spirit helpers. Lewis-Williams and Clottes are the leading proponents of this interpretation. They rely on comparisons of the Stone Age art with art produced in historic times by Bushman shamans in South Africa. This is an excellent introduction to Paleolithic art and arguments about the art. My own explanation shares some aspects of their model, but focuses on secret societies (shamans were usually members). This is also a main feature in my own book.

By Jean Clottes, David Lewis-Williams, Sophie Hawkes (translator)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Shamans of Prehistory as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: French


Book cover of Underground Religion: Cult and Culture in Prehistoric Italy

Brian D. Hayden Author Of The Eyes of the Leopard

From my list on prehistory and what life was like in the Stone Age.

Why am I passionate about this?

I became intrigued by Upper Paleolithic societies when I studied prehistory at the University of Bordeaux. Over time, I became more and more involved in trying to understand why some Upper Paleolithic societies produced such great art – both painted and carved. After years of studying hunter-gatherer cultures, I concluded that the Upper Paleolithic groups producing fine art were not simple egalitarian groups, but were almost certainly more complex types of hunter-gatherers like the ethnographic groups in California and the Northwest Coast with striking economic and social inequalities – and great art. I decided to put all these ideas into an adventure novel for young readers: The Eyes of the Leopard.  

Brian's book list on prehistory and what life was like in the Stone Age

Brian D. Hayden Why did Brian love this book?

This is a bit more of a technical archaeology book dealing with the archaeological interpretation of prehistoric cave use, but focusing on the Grotta di Porto Badisco and its Upper Paleolithic use by secret societies (in Whitehouse's interpretation). But it ranges far wider, looking at related finds from other areas and times in Upper Paleolithic Europe. Ruth Whitehouse places the use of this cave and others in their ritual and prehistoric contexts, but also examines their social, psychological, and even structuralist relationships. It is a unique and important publication from these perspectives and has been very influential in my own publications.

Book cover of Social Inequality Before Farming?

Brian D. Hayden Author Of The Eyes of the Leopard

From my list on prehistory and what life was like in the Stone Age.

Why am I passionate about this?

I became intrigued by Upper Paleolithic societies when I studied prehistory at the University of Bordeaux. Over time, I became more and more involved in trying to understand why some Upper Paleolithic societies produced such great art – both painted and carved. After years of studying hunter-gatherer cultures, I concluded that the Upper Paleolithic groups producing fine art were not simple egalitarian groups, but were almost certainly more complex types of hunter-gatherers like the ethnographic groups in California and the Northwest Coast with striking economic and social inequalities – and great art. I decided to put all these ideas into an adventure novel for young readers: The Eyes of the Leopard.  

Brian's book list on prehistory and what life was like in the Stone Age

Brian D. Hayden Why did Brian love this book?

This is actually an edited book of papers dealing with the social organization among prehistoric and ethnographic hunter-gatherers. It is one of the few publications that discusses issues like inequality from a variety of different viewpoints, including diametrically opposed views about Upper Paleolithic societies – whether they were egalitarian or non-egalitarian. Another important aspect of this volume is the inclusion of ethnographic hunter-gatherers to generate insights into how prehistoric hunter-gatherers could have organized themselves. Some unique features include the examination of dogs as indicators of inequalities and the nature of the cave paintings as indicators of inequalities. Mobility, population densities, surpluses, and many other factors all create a heady brew of debate and intriguing ideas. This book is highly recommended, even if a bit technical.

Book cover of Ce que l'art préhistorique dit de nos origines

Brian D. Hayden Author Of The Eyes of the Leopard

From my list on prehistory and what life was like in the Stone Age.

Why am I passionate about this?

I became intrigued by Upper Paleolithic societies when I studied prehistory at the University of Bordeaux. Over time, I became more and more involved in trying to understand why some Upper Paleolithic societies produced such great art – both painted and carved. After years of studying hunter-gatherer cultures, I concluded that the Upper Paleolithic groups producing fine art were not simple egalitarian groups, but were almost certainly more complex types of hunter-gatherers like the ethnographic groups in California and the Northwest Coast with striking economic and social inequalities – and great art. I decided to put all these ideas into an adventure novel for young readers: The Eyes of the Leopard.  

Brian's book list on prehistory and what life was like in the Stone Age

Brian D. Hayden Why did Brian love this book?

Although this book is in French, it is the most detailed defense to date of the view that at least some Upper Paleolithic societies were non-egalitarian, i.e. that they had significant wealth and power differences between individuals or families. The title emphasizes art, but this is really just a point of departure for understanding the entire economic, social, and political organization of certain Upper Paleolithic groups and why the great works of art were produced. It uses the initial arguments that I developed in an earlier book (in French) to structure the supporting data. So, naturally, I am favorably disposed towards it. But it is a good book as well! If you can read French, this is highly recommended.

By Emmanuel Guy,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ce que l'art préhistorique dit de nos origines as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Que nous dit l’art préhistorique des sociétés qui l’ont produit ? À distance des interprétations religieuses communément admises, ce livre suggère d’en repenser la valeur sociale.
Ce n’est pas sans raison, en effet, que l’art des grottes se signale, dès ses origines, par un goût marqué pour l’imitation. L’histoire de l’art nous rappelle à juste titre que le prestige suscité par l’imitation sert toujours les intérêts politiques d’une élite (voir la Grèce athénienne ou la Renaissance florentine). Mais plus encore, le savoir-faire exceptionnel qui est mis en œuvre dans les grottes révèlerait déjà des statuts différenciés entre les individus ;…


Book cover of Imaginary Animals: The Monstrous, the Wondrous and the Human

Joseph Nigg Author Of The Book of Fabulous Beasts: A Treasury of Writings from Ancient Times to the Present

From my list on following mythical beasts through time.

Why am I passionate about this?

Ancient mythical animals are all around us in words and images. Following the transformations of such animals through literature and art across millennia has been my passion since the early ’80s. It was then, after years of writing and teaching, that I became intrigued by a winged and fishtailed lion figure on an antique oil lamp hanging in my study. That hybrid creature led me to the eagle-lion griffin and my first published book, The Book of Gryphons. I have followed a host of mythical beasts ever since. My most recent book, The Phoenix: An Unnatural Biography of a Mythical Beast, was published in a 2021 Chinese translation.

Joseph's book list on following mythical beasts through time

Joseph Nigg Why did Joseph love this book?

I love this lavishly produced 2013 book. It overarches my other recommended “best books for following mythical beasts through time.” Titles of early chapters—“What is an Imaginary Animal?” “Every Real Animal is Imaginary,” and “Every Imaginary Animal is Real”—encompass the book’s interplay between nature’s animals, imaginary ones, and human beings.

Open Imaginary Animals anywhere to get a glimpse of its variety and scope. Boria Sax’s interdisciplinary, learned, and conversational text sweeps across folklore, legends, myths, and natural history of worldwide cultures from antiquity to today. Accompanying art, much in color, spans a Lascaux cave painting and a photograph of a human-looking robot; throughout are fantastic creatures in paintings, early natural history engravings, and other pictorial forms.

As Dr. Sax writes, “Imaginary creatures can be overwhelming in their multiplicity.”

By Boria Sax,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Imaginary Animals as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Tales throughout the world generally place fabulous beasts in marginal locations - deserts, deep woods, remote islands, glaciers, ocean depths, mountain peaks, caves, swamps, heavenly bodies and alternate universes. Legends tell us that imaginary animals belong to a primordial time, before we had encompassed the world with names, categories and scientific knowledge.
This book traces the history of imaginary animals from Palaeolithic art to the Harry Potter stories, and beyond. It shows how imagined creatures help us psychologically, giving form to our subconscious fears as 'monsters', as well as embodying our hopes as 'wonders'. Nevertheless, their greatest service may be…


Book cover of The Short Story of Art: A Pocket Guide to Key Movements, Works, Themes, & Techniques (Art History Introduction, a Guide to Art)

Jennifer Dasal Author Of ArtCurious: Stories of the Unexpected, Slightly Odd, and Strangely Wonderful in Art History

From my list on art newbies.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an art historian, author, and the former curator of modern and contemporary art at the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh, North Carolina—so art is my thing! I’m the host of the independent podcast ArtCurious, which I started in 2016 and which was named one of the best podcasts by O, The Oprah Magazine and PC Magazine, among other outlets. I’m also the author of a book called ArtCurious, which was lauded in Publisher’s Weekly, BookPage, and Booklist. I’ve got advanced degrees in art history and love to share all my enthusiasm for art whenever I can (also: travel!). 

Jennifer's book list on art newbies

Jennifer Dasal Why did Jennifer love this book?

I love this book! Like the idea of The Annotated Mona Lisa but don’t want quite so much detail? This one is great— let’s take 50 works of art throughout art history and tell you exactly why they are important. Easy peasy, and filled with humor and joy, too. 

By Susie Hodge,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Short Story of Art as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Short Story of Art is a new and innovative introduction to the subject of art. Simply constructed, the book explores 50 key works, from the wall paintings of Lascaux to contemporary installations, and then links these to sections on art movements, themes and techniques.

The design of the book allows the student or art enthusiast to easily navigate their way around key periods, artists and styles. Accessible and concise, it simplifies and explains the most important and influential concepts in art, and shows how they are connected.

The book explains how, why and when art changed, who introduced certain…


Book cover of The Human Cosmos: Civilization and the Stars

Sarah Scoles Author Of Astronomical Mindfulness: Your Cosmic Guide to Reconnecting with the Sun, Moon, Stars, and Planets

From my list on making night sky your new BFF.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up intending to become an astronaut. The cosmos always felt within reach of my backyard, from where I could watch the Space Shuttle launch. As I grew up, I began to realize that the space our rockets reached was exceedingly close compared to the rest of the universe. And I became obsessed with what else was out there. I went on to study radio astronomy, fascinated by the parts of the cosmos that our senses can’t detect. After that, I became a science journalist, writing about how space influences Earth and vice versa.

Sarah's book list on making night sky your new BFF

Sarah Scoles Why did Sarah love this book?

This book helped me understand the history of humans’ relationship to the sky, and how our connection to it has in a lot of ways decreased, while civilizational knowledge of what’s actually going on up there has increased. It provides both the means and the motivation for the people of the modern world to act a bit more like the people of the past.

By Jo Marchant,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Human Cosmos as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Best Book of 2020 (NPR)
A Best Book of 2020 (The Economist)
A Top Ten Best Science Book of 2020 (Smithsonian)
A Best Science and Technology Book of 2020 (Library Journal)
A Must-Read Book to Escape the Chaos of 2020 (Newsweek)
Starred review (Booklist)
Starred review (Publishers Weekly)

A historically unprecedented disconnect between humanity and the heavens has opened. Jo Marchant's book can begin to heal it.

For at least 20,000 years, we have led not just an earthly existence but a cosmic one. Celestial cycles drove every aspect of our daily lives. Our innate relationship with the stars…


Book cover of The Lost Upland: Stories of Southwestern France

Helen Martin Author Of Lot: Travels Through a Limestone Landscape in Southwest France

From my list on the Lot department of Southwest France.

Why am I passionate about this?

A francophile and a researcher. I ran the research department of The Guardian newspaper for many years. I decided to write my book after it became apparent that there were no English language guidebooks devoted to the Lot alone (and not many in French either). I have been travelling all over France since I was a child in the 50s and discovered the Lot, en route to Spain, in about 1956. I have visited every year since. Pretty well all my interests in life are centred around my passion for this area, but extend beyond it -- history, ecclesiastical architecture, vernacular architecture of Quercy, gastronomy, cave art, the Resistance.

Helen's book list on the Lot department of Southwest France

Helen Martin Why did Helen love this book?

W.S. Merwin was an American Poet Laureate and ecologist manqué. Travelling around Europe after university, by the time he reached the Lot he was already something of a linguist and also a Buddhist. He settled into a simple life in a house near Loubressac, exploring the Causse de Gramat until he knew it intimately. He conversed with the shepherdesses in Occitan, the language of his beloved troubadours, exploring the ancient transhumance trails, the unique flora, fauna, and culture of the limestone causse. This is a poet’s book and he knew and understood the causse as few outsiders ever do. The Lost Upland is a book about the causse.

By W.S. Merwin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Lost Upland as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In The Lost Upland, W. S. Merwin vividly conveys his intimate knowledge of the people and the countryside in this ancient part of France (home of the Lascaux caves). In three narratives of small-town life, Merwin shows with matchless poetic and narrative power how the past is still palpably present.

On its original publication in 1992 Jane Kramer wrote, "These stories are a gift from one of the great poets of the English language, a chronicle of the heart-stopping seasons of one small corner of La France Profonde and of its stubborn and illusive characters. Merwin’s French peasants are a…


Book cover of The Flounder

Crystal King Author Of Feast of Sorrow: A Novel of Ancient Rome

From my list on novels about food.

Why am I passionate about this?

Crystal King is the author of The Chef’s Secret and Feast of Sorrow, which was long-listed for the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize and was a Must-Read for the MassBook Awards. She is an author, culinary enthusiast, and marketing expert. Her writing is fueled by a love of history and a passion for the food, language, and culture of Italy. She has taught classes in writing, creativity, and social media at GrubStreet, Harvard Extension School, and Boston University, among others. She resides in Boston.

Crystal's book list on novels about food

Crystal King Why did Crystal love this book?

An epic feast of a book, The Flounder winds the reader from the Stone Age to the present day, mixing fantasy and history with dashes of actual recipes here and there. This novel is a long meal, full of the strangest stories including talking fish and three-breasted women, but in every era and every chapter, there is a woman who is master of both man and kitchen.

By Günter Grass,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Flounder as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Gunter Grass, says The Times, 'is on his own as an artist', and indeed this extraordinary, provoking and joyously Rabelaisian celebration of life, food and sex is unique.

Lifted from their ancient fairytale, the fisherman and his wife are still living today. During the months of Ilsebill's pregnancy, the fisherman tells her of his adventures through time with the Flounder, constituting a complete reworking of social, political and gastronomic history.


Book cover of Stone Age Economics

Thomas Hylland Eriksen Author Of Small Places, Large Issues: An Introduction to Social and Cultural Anthropology

From my list on economic anthropology.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an anthropologist and writer who has published more than fifty books, ranging from novels and essays to academic monographs and textbooks. I am passionate about trying to make the world a slightly better place, and I am convinced that we need to think differently about the good life and the economy in order to get out of the corner we’ve painted ourselves into. Economic anthropology offers alternative perspectives on the world and the human condition. It's far less obscure than it sounds.

Thomas' book list on economic anthropology

Thomas Hylland Eriksen Why did Thomas love this book?

Building on Mauss, Polanyi, and others, Sahlins described, in 1972, societies without money, without states or formal power, but which nevertheless did well. The most famous essay in the book is titled, appropriately, "The Original Affluent Society" and describes the lives of hunter and gatherers before they were overrun by farmers and armies. Very thought-provoking. Sometimes, less is more.

By Marshall Sahlins,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Stone Age Economics as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Since its first publication over forty years ago Marshall Sahlins's Stone Age Economics has established itself as a classic of modern anthropology and arguably one of the founding works of anthropological economics. Ambitiously tackling the nature of economic life and how to study it comparatively, Sahlins radically revises traditional views of the hunter-gatherer and so-called primitive societies, revealing them to be the original "affluent society."

Sahlins examines notions of production, distribution and exchange in early communities and examines the link between economics and cultural and social factors. A radical study of tribal economies, domestic production for livelihood, and of the…


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