Talk:Prehistoric religion

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Prehistoric Skin Dyeing[edit]

Seems logical that maybe that if the use of Red Ochre was used on the bones that it was to signify the fact that that person had tinted his skin with Red Ochre which is mostly iron oxide which is used in dyeing bricks in modern times and has been shown to dye the skin to even be used for tattoo's. The complete covering of the body to fully tattoo it a Red Ochre hue is seen in some indigenous tribes today. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Rhodeder (talkcontribs) 03:09, 11 September 2008 (UTC)

AID Nominations[edit]

The nomination has been removed (Only 3 votes, needed 6). ~ Ghelæ talkcontribs 18:08, 22 February 2006 (UTC)


I want to say that I went through the trouble of renominating this article in hopes of that more people will take interest in is and vote for it, since it is far to interesting and, currently, lacking in info to be left behind. Satanael 20:16, 22 February 2006 (UTC)

Neolithic religion is interesting but this article is total, irredeemable bollocks. adamsan 22:54, 22 February 2006 (UTC)

I'd say I disagree, this article isn't that bad, especially not if it gets some context to it. There are now 3 votes, and if only those three that voted last time votes this time, we can get the nomination through. Satanael 12:22, 24 February 2006 (UTC)

2 more who voted last time to go now… ~ Ghelæ talkcontribs 07:08, 25 February 2006 (UTC)


I think that this page (and related pages such as Semitic gods and Proto-Indo-European religion) go into the Religion WikiProject or another WikiProject such as, for example, WikiProject Pimal Religions. Any comments? ~ Ghelæ talkcontribs 17:26, 25 February 2006 (UTC) Never mind. ~ Ghelæ talkcontribs 17:37, 11 August 2006 (UTC)

Starting source material[edit]

Moved from article.

Some of the info used to create the stub of this article came from these internal sources: (for the record)

Linear Pottery culture#Religion
Proto-Indo-European religion#Mythology
Semitic gods#Proto-Semitic Gods
ike9898 08:33, 4 March 2006 (UTC)

Fundamentally flawed[edit]

I'm afraid I have to concur somewhat with adamsan's analysis above, for there are many problems apparent. As presently written the whole article appears to conflate a good deal of neopaganist speculations with highly-conjectural linguistic reconstructions, to come up with a belief system supposed to be cohesive. It seems not to recognise that neolithic actually describes a particular set of traits and technologies found in different cultures, regions and time periods, and does not refer to some specific, unified culture who might have possessed "the neolithic religion". No-one is denying the likelihood that some forms of religious belief systems featured in Neolithic peoples' lives, but if these are to be accurately discussed at all it can only be in the most general of terms given the extreme paucity of data. At least the Proto-Indo-European religion article makes some effort to stress the conjectural nature of the linguistic reconstructions; this article however presents linkages between cultural (proto-)deities with an unwarranted confidence.

If an article on this topic is to have any value at all (in which case it might better be titled Neolithic religions, belief systems in Neolithic Europe, or some such), it needs firstly to decide upon and define who the Neolithic peoples may be, identify (by the various Neolithic cultures) any archaeological sites and artefacts for which some religious significance has been proposed, and separate these out from reconstructions which are based on purely theoretical linguistic grounds. It also needs to take care not to rely upon what may be termed "neopaganist" applications and sources, which are really modern syntheses and are in no way justified as terms and beliefs practiced by hypothetical or actual Neolithic peoples themselves. Above all, conjectural statements need to be clearly identified as such.--cjllw | TALK 07:58, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

I suppose we could move the page to one of those titles, but in my opinion we need to find parts from other language families, such as Uralic, Altaic, and the other Afro-Asiatic languages, in which case we could move the page to Nostratic religion, as it would be the hypothetical religion of the hypothetical language. ~ Ghelæ talkcontribs 16:39, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

Ghetae, given the Nostratic hypothesis has only a minority of adherents, I don't think that presenting a belief system based on a reconstructed proto-proto-language would be a useful or informative exercise, even if you were to explicitly note it was hypothetical. It seems to me that there are two possible encyclopaedic topics here, which however need to be treated separately:

(A) There were real, not hypothetical, societies, who have variously been characterised as Neolithic by virtue of their technology, practices, location, time period, or some combination of these factors. About these peoples' beliefs (note the plural, there was not a unitary Neolithic society) we actually know very little, and we certainly are almost completely ignorant as to what languages they spoke. For all we know any given one of these societies spoke a language which is unrelated to any that we know of today. It may be supposed that certain of these peoples spoke languages which were antecedant to languages found only later in the region, but this remains a supposition, so linguistic reconstruction techniques won't be much help. We do however have some clues, in the form of artefacts and the like, which can and have been (cautiously) used to frame some ideas about their possible belief systems. But these ideas are necessarily restricted to a high level by the archaeological record, and we certainly cannot pretend that we know the names by which they called their deities, or even just who their deities were.

(B) Some neopaganists, general authors and even a few scholars have amused themselves by coming up with various proto-names for deities, by using (and sometimes abusing) linguistic techniques. This is all very well as an intellectual exercise or diversion, but there is really no hope of establishing the reality of these reconstructions. If scholarship (leaving aside pseudoscholarship) cannot agree on where the hypothetical PIE-speakers lived, there's no way to associate any of these supposed names with any real culture, even less so for Nostratic.

So, if you want to write about (A), which the present title suggests, then I'd suggest the course of action per above- decide on the scope (whether 'Neolithic' in Europe only, or further afield), identify the cultures which have been called Neolithic, survey and describe the relevant portions of the archaeological record from these cultures which might provide some insight as to their belief systems, and discuss whatever notable theories have been produced based on this. For example, the ideas of Marija Gimbutas could be reviewed, but also those of her critics. However, strip away completely the linguistic conjectures and so-called deities' names.

If however you are more interested in (B), then the article definitely needs to be retitled (to what, I'm not sure- hypothetical proto-language reconstructions of deities' names?), and to clearly identify that it is about a linguistic exercise only, and not an account of any real society's beliefs. Assumptions and conjectures need to be made explicit, and care needs to be taken (refer WP:RS) that modern neopaganist syntheses are not relied upon, or if used that they are identified as such and not mis-attributed. Personally I'm not that convinced as to the need for this kind of article, and the proto-Indo-European religion article covers similar ground in any event (I think it too ought to be retitled, but that's another matter).--cjllw | TALK 00:22, 8 March 2006 (UTC)

It does say in the introduction that it is about the religion from the Levant and Europe, but yes, it does need a title rename. But why do you say that the article suggests that we are trying to reconstruct the names for these deities? Anyway, I think that, if the article is renamed, it would be renamed (list of) hypothetical neolithic deities, or something like that. ~ Ghelæ talkcontribs 16:06, 8 March 2006 (UTC)

I say that Ghelae because that is what the majority of the article consists of. For example, *Dg'hōm as a Proto-Indo-European word for "mother goddess" is precisely that: a linguistic reconstruction. We obviously have no direct evidence for what PIE-speaking peoples called this deity, or even if they acknowledged such a deity, or even when, where or whether an actual discrete society which spoke PIE ever existed. The techniques of Historical linguistics can at most hope to produce an account which might be regarded as plausible at best, but cannot recover the actual. There are several different techniques, and even within the comparative method itself there are many different ways one could go about the reconstruction, each yielding a potentially different result. Thus it is misleading to say or imply (for example) that "*Dg'hōm was the Proto-Indo-European word for "mother goddess"; all that can accurately be said is that *Dg'hōm has been proposed as a PIE word by some particular model, based on some particular technique, perhaps another technique would yield another result anyway. "hypothetical proto-language reconstructions of deities' names" is actually more accurate (if lengthy) descriptive title for most of the present article's contents.

And again, even if restricted to just Neolithic Europe and the Levant, calling it "the Neolithic religion" is not a justifiable statement. There is no basis for supposing all Neolithic societies shared the same belief system, just as there is no basis for supposing that all (or indeed, any) Neolithic peoples were PIE-speakers. --cjllw | TALK 02:10, 10 March 2006 (UTC)

One more point: many researchers in fact appear to associate the hypothetical PIE-speakers with a later technology than the Neolithic, and so their inclusion here could be seen as somewhat anachronistic.--cjllw | TALK 02:38, 10 March 2006 (UTC)

yes, the article as it is is fundamentally flawed. It presents a hodge-podge of concepts, lumped together as "Neolithic religion" in Wikipedia's voice. What it should do instead is present an overview of authors who have an opinion on the subject (Marija Gimbutas, Walter Burkert etc.) BTW, we have a few articles on reconstructed deities, Dyeus, Hausos, Perkwunos, Proto-Indo-European religion, but these are not Neolithic, they are Bronze Age, and maybe Chalcolithic. There is bird goddess, but most of the deities mentioned here have no case for being Neolithic. dab () 08:16, 10 March 2006 (UTC) dab () 08:09, 10 March 2006 (UTC)

Over the weekend I will put in some material re significance of ancestors and theories about ritual monuments - no names of gods though or other whacky stuff. I have also removed the Palaeolithic references in the article as it is difficult to say the least to demonstrate religious continuity anywhere over a period of 200,000 years. adamsan 16:06, 10 March 2006 (UTC)

Merger Proposal[edit]

I just found a page with significant content overlap, so I've tagged it as a merger. If those of you in the know about these articles can decide what to do, that would be much appreciated. 99of9 (talk) 06:23, 27 November 2007 (UTC)

The term "prehistoric religion" only appears in titles of 8 articles on google scholar [1] Muntuwandi (talk) 07:02, 27 November 2007 (UTC)
  • Merge content since Muntuwandi tries creating a similar entry every month even though they have been AfDed god knows how many times. In the meantime he shows no interest editing the entries in which the information he is peddling would be most relevant.PelleSmith (talk) 00:15, 29 November 2007 (UTC)
The reason why the term prehistoric religion only appears 8 times in google scholar is because the term is not used at all. At least in the context of the content that is proposed. Therefore it is original research to insinuate that this content should be in the article prehistoric religion. google scholar search. Muntuwandi (talk) 03:03, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

If you read the discussions above, you will clearly see that there was no discussion on the evolutionary origins of religion. There was discussion about renaming this article "neolithic religion in europe". I have restored it to that version because including the material in this article is equally contentious. Dbachmann introduced the material. But that does not mean that Dbachmann is the ultimate authority on everything. Users such as PelleSmith blindly follow every action by Dbachmann. Unfortunately several editors have been complaining about him at Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Dbachmann 3. So I recommend some independence of thought. As mentioned earlier this title "prehistoric religion" is not used in science, it only turns up 8 articles in total. As such I would probable recommend either deleting the title and redirecting the content to an article that is more relevant. Muntuwandi (talk) 05:22, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

wow, so people are after my hide in this RfC, suddenly anyone wishing to argue against me in questions of content feels compelled to point to this "case" with knotted brows? argumentum ad hominem anyone? I recommend exerting some good faith, Muntuwandi and some application of common sense. Your editing is extremely erratic, and it is very difficult to second-guess what you may be trying to acheive. Please try to deliver quality, not belligerence. I have no idea why you suddenly wich to blank the paleolithic material you used to be pushing. your "Evolutionary theories on the origin of religion" is just another one of your pov forks of origin of religion. Do stop this. I have no interest in prancing around with you any longer. Try to remember that we are trying to write an encyclopedia. dab (𒁳) 11:50, 29 November 2007 (UTC)
Muntuwandi, I don't blindly follow Dbachmann. In fact I was unfortunate enough to come into contact with this information when you kept on trying to add it to Religion months before Dbachmann got involved in the Origin of religion fiasco. Those who were present then also know that Dbachmann initially tried very hard to retain the entry Origin of religion and to work with you on improving it, only to be met with your relentless attempts to add content that violates basic Wiki policies such as WP:SYNTH, and WP:OR. BTW, the title of the latest entry you have decided to create is also rather misleading. Evolutionary theories of religious development are nothing new (but the classic examples differ very much from what you are peddling since they were focused on cultural and psychological evolution). In the contemporary climate when one thinks of notable applications of evolutionary biology to theories of the origin and function of religion one thinks of the theories of Lewis Wolpert, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, and Pascal Boyer. Of course I am sure that in that vein there are much less popular works as well, but I'm no expert in evolutionary biology or psychology. The long and the short of it is that you're not interested in really writing an entry that deals with these theories, but simply in finding a new roof for your own pet project since it keeps on getting evicted from all the other shelters you try to cram it into.PelleSmith (talk) 15:18, 29 November 2007 (UTC)
Well at least I have a pet project, instead of going around chasing scholarly material to delete. You are just fortunate that most people of the people on wikipedia have little knowledge of the subject. Just because 1000 people jump off a cliff does not mean they are right. We have guidelines, unfortunately you and dab do not seem to want to follow these guidelines and using the so called "consensus" to side step this issue. So what is going on here is a very childish clash of egos not of reason. Whatever I write will always be wrong in your eyes, regardless of its merits. This is what happened with the article for Steven Mithen, you indicated the same thing that he is not notable simply because I created the article, not based on the merits of the content. Therefore attempts to delete the article were unsuccessful. In that case other reasonable editors disagreed.
In this case, everyone is following around Dbachmann when his reasoning is flawed. The material mentioned is never included in the topic of "prehistoric religion". The term "prehistoric" is now mainly used in cartoons and childrens movies and is also a by-word for primitive. Hence it is a poor choice for this topic. the article prehistory mentions that the term has largely fallen out of favor in anthropological circles. To place material which is from articles entitled "origin of religion" and place them in "prehistoric religion" is thus original research. But I know that you don't care about these flaws, as long as the material is tucked away in some nonsensically titled article. Muntuwandi (talk) 20:45, 29 November 2007 (UTC)
Again no one is following around Dbachmann. The Mithen situation is different and I never suggested deleting the entry nor did I vote to delete it. I suggested that you made the entry simply to aid your efforts on another entry. In this case you are readding the exact same information in the exact formatting as you did in the past ... which resulted in deletion more than once. You are the one trying to game the system by renaming deleted content. Please do us all a favor and revert yourself there and here. Thanks.PelleSmith (talk) 01:53, 30 November 2007 (UTC)
The problem is you think the afd is the holy grail. I have seen articles go for deletion three times before finally getting deleted. This entails that if an article survives AFD, it is not a guarantee that it will never be deleted. Conversly if content is deleted it doesn't mean that it is permanently banned from wikipedia. Consensus is ongoing. All it means is that the editors reviewing the case thought so. Unfortunately the editors did not address any concerns and just used the strength of numbers. Furthermore being the editor most interested in this topic, consensus should also include me. I am a reasonable editor and will accept if a case does not have merit. Unfortunately I cannot do so with this case because several reputable scholars such as Steve Mithen or Philip Lieberman have studied this material and produced the same results. Any consensus has yet to justify why studies from reputable scholars should be deleted. Muntuwandi (talk) 04:06, 30 November 2007 (UTC)
PelleSmith and dab on this censorship crusade are just wasting everyones energy. All this energy would have been better spent improving the article. I know that you simply do not like the content because it is controversial but everything in the article is factual and accurately sourced. Muntuwandi (talk) 04:15, 30 November 2007 (UTC)
Oh I get it, you're right and everyone else is wrong. Why didn't I think of that? You are quite plainly not a reasonable editor and you are editing disruptively. This is seriously getting out of hand.PelleSmith (talk) 04:44, 30 November 2007 (UTC)


As mentioned earlier google scholar produces only 8 articles with which the term is used as a title, only 3 of them were created after 1990. Basically scientists are not using the term "prehistoric religion". What say you. Muntuwandi (talk) 18:21, 18 December 2007 (UTC)

What title do you propose for an entry that deals with evidence of religious and/or proto-religious behavior dating back prior to the age of history?PelleSmith (talk) 18:47, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
Also, please stop using the term "scientist" as if the only scholars that have anything to say about prehistoric religion are "scientists." Many, or perhaps most, are social scientists (and not evolutionary biologists for instance).PelleSmith (talk) 18:49, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
Prehistory deals with a time period before writing. It could refer to Australia 500 years ago, or Japan 5000 years ago, or Europe in the Neolithic, America 5000 years ago. This is why it is poor choice. Whereas the material you propose to add is mainly from an evolutionary perspective in the context of religious origins. Because prehistory is such and ambiguous general term, scientists have not used it. This is why google scholar provides only 8 results in the title of which half are from after 1990. Once again this is an arbitrary decision not based on the consensus in the scientific community.Muntuwandi (talk) 18:56, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
Just because you have support of the bureacratic admins now you believe you have free reign to make whatever decisions you want. Don't engage in original research by making stuff up. Follow what other scholars are doing. Muntuwandi (talk) 19:00, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
"Prehistoric religion" gets 147 hits on JSTOR. You have suggested no alternative title at all. Please suggestry is important to precisely the type of research that produces the type of evidence this entry works with. I'm glad to see that you don't just quote selectively when you edit entries but also when you make arguments on talk pages. Cheers.PelleSmith (talk) 19:28, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
You still haven't addressed the why scholars are not using the term. Wikipedia should reflect the consensus of the scientific community not our own personal interpretations. Currently the consensus as per google scholar results shows that the term is used infrequently. Isn't this "thumbing one's nose" at scientific consensus. Muntuwandi (talk) 19:51, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
Not at all. What term are they using? I see 147 hits on JSTOR in reference to evidence of religious belief and practice within this timeframe of human development. What other term is more prevalent? "Early human religion"? What? I'm asking you to provide a more accurate and notable term.PelleSmith (talk) 20:03, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
When this article was created it was done with the intention of studying European neolithic religions. The article neolithic religion redirects here. At present I see no study of prehistoric religion in general. If someone is willing to create such an article and research this in detail, I have no problem with that. However shifting material that is not associated with the title prehistoric religion is incorrect, because the authors of the study did not use the term in connection with the title. My own opinion is that the title is too general and too broad, a possible suggestion would be to use it as a disambiguation page that redirects users to different time periods or different geographic regions instead of trying to discuss the intricate details of every religion from the past. Muntuwandi (talk) 20:16, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
"When this article was created" ... is completely besides the point of how this article is best served. By the way the very people you rely on in your references use the term prehistoric (or prehistory) in their own writings. Mithen's book is even titled "The Prehistory of the Mind." It is entirely false to claim that since they don't use the term "prehistoric religion" in that combination all over their books that it is a useless term. In fact, again I ask if there is any other term that serves us better? All of the material included here is specifically about human religion in the eras commonly referred to as prehistoric. There are no theories of religions origin (evolutionary or otherwise) being presented here. Of course there weren't in your original entry either, which I'm assuming is what's causing your knee jerk reaction here to my suggestion that some of your old entry's material is clearly better served on this page, which is simply about evidence of religious like practice in pre-historical periods. We don't have "intricate details" about every religion from this period, btw. That's a red herring if I ever saw one.PelleSmith (talk) 20:26, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
I am not saying that the word prehistory is not used, it is used extensively. However the topic "prehistoric religion" is not. This is why i searched for entries that have the term in the title not in the body of the text. If you do a JSTOR search for the title it only all you get is 5 articles 3 of which are the same. JSTOR search. Titles should reflect scientific consensus. Take a look at the Talk:Recent_single_origin_hypothesis#Article_name. We are doing the same thing. This article was entitled Neolithic religion before Dbachmann changed the name because he felt it had limited scope. However the original content remained the same. Without any structure, anybody will be free to add anything on religion from before recorded history and the article will have no direction. Muntuwandi (talk) 20:37, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
Where do you see a lack of structure and why do you forsee chaos? Regarding the title think its safe to use this one until a better, more accurate, or more notable one is presented. Until then, this is the most accurate and notable title available. Specific entries on Neolithic religion and Paleolithic religion are more than welcome and if they are created those periods can simply be paraphrased here with links to the parent entries. The fact that no one expanded the entry after someone renamed it shouldn't prevent us from expanding it now.PelleSmith (talk) 21:25, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
Well it is a general and ambiguous title just as the article "Development of religion" or "Anthropology of religion". Together all these articles constitute an arbitrary collection of related information that is an eyesore to read. potential topics include Prehistoric African religion, prehistoric middle eastern religion, prehistoric asian religion, prehistoric australian religion, preshitoric american religion, prehistoric arctic religion, prehistoric polynesian religion and prehistoric european religion. Then we would have to divide these religions into various time periods, iron age, neolithic, upper paleolithic, middle paleolithic. But these time periods do not correspond to every region. Some regions only have a neolithic for example. Finally, all this information would result in a massive amount of unrelated info. What would prehistoric australian religions have in common with prehistoric arctic religions that they should warrant being in the same article. Furthermore, what will be discussed, the names, practices, deities, rituals. All that is just to unrelated and unspecific. Muntuwandi (talk) 21:53, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
If you really insisted on that logic then you would not want to have an entry on anything. Pick and entry and I can subdivide the subject matter further into more specific categories ... that's pretty much the nature of anything and everything under the sun and it really doesn't prove anything. Also please stop projecting about "what will happen." Problems are dealt with as they happen. Cheers.PelleSmith (talk) 23:00, 18 December 2007 (UTC)

Read WP:BIAS, when DBachmann changed the article name, he did not change the content, which largely reflected european religions. If we have a general name, then it should have general content because prehistory has existed on all continents. And because it is a general name, it should reflect general details rather than anything specific. This is basically why the term prehistoric religion is not used, because it is too general. Muntuwandi (talk) 23:22, 18 December 2007 (UTC)

Oh yeah and origin of religion is very precise. I'm still waiting for a better title.PelleSmith (talk) 23:37, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
yes origin of religion is not precise, this is why I changed the name to "Evolutionary theories on the origin of religion". However if evolution is accepted as fact, then teleological arguments on the origin of religion cannot be considered scientific, in which case the evolutionary theories on the origin of religion and "origin of religion" are the same. Muntuwandi (talk) 03:57, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
First of all I have told you a thousand times already that actual evolutionary theories on the origin of religion are like those of Boyer, Wolpert and Dawkins and they are miles away from what you have been writing about. Also the logic you present above is simply not correct at all. The fact that human physiology is a product of biological evolution does not mean that the origin of religion can be explained through evolutionary mechanisms or as a product of biological evolution. Perhaps without the evolution of certain cognitive capacities human practices like religion would not be possible, but the origin of religion itself may be entirely "social" or "cultural" given a certain state of cognitive evolution. If that were the case then theories of religion's origin would not be evolutionary theories at all, yet they would be equally "scientific" and clearly non-religious in nature. That is to say biological evolution itself is not necessarily causal of religion, even if it may be necessary to create a certain precondition (e.g. a capacity for symbolic thought) for religious belief.PelleSmith (talk) 04:43, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

content dispute[edit]

We have a content dispute that is mainly between myself and you. Dbachmann occasionaly gets involved switching between sides. But essentially this is between me and you. This is why we are not making progress, because we do not have any editors who are willing to dedicate the time and effort to work on this this. Consequently you are taking advantage of this lack of editors and you are using an old AFD as your leverage, because you can run to any admin, who only know the rules and know little about content. This is unfair and unacademic and is very political. Dbachmann knows very well that the articles I created are valid. He has admitted that he agrees in principal with the ideas I have presented, but simply disagrees with me because he dislikes my demeanor User_talk:Dbachmann#origin_of_religion. I had worked on the article "Origin of language" using the same approach. Before I started working on the origin of language, the topic was approached from a psychological or sociological perspective filled with archaic fringe and opinionated theories. I proceeded to add the evolutionary perspective to the article, after which Dbachmann reviewed the article with some refactoring he upgraded the article to B-class. I used the same approach on the origin of religion only to be met with some of the worst hostility to knowledge. As I often mention, you had even disputed the out of Africa hypothesis, or that grave goods are considered evidence of a belief in the afterlife [2]. Here you are seen to be making up your own theories. So I do feel justified to doubt the credibility of some of your assertions and also some of the other editors. I have always asked admins and a lot of other editors to assist in dispute resolution, but many seem content with pushing buttons and chasing after vandals and boosting their egos by blocking people, they have no interest in content. So I propose to go for dispute resolution, if you think you have a case, you should opt for it. If you are afraid and want to continue using the archaic AFD as your silver bullet, then this dispute will needlessly continue. Of course the result will be blocks of which I am the top candidate, but what a waste that would be. Who would be there to provide education on grave goods. Muntuwandi (talk) 03:38, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

You've not described a content dispute but simply congratulated yourself, dismissed the behavioral policing of admins, and fabricated behavior on my part. I have not and do not dispute the fact that homo sapiens originated in Africa from where mass dispersal took place sometime between 55,000 and 60,000 years ago--please show me where I have disputed this. I have disputed the relevance of mentioning this fact twenty thousand times in an entry that has nothing to do with migration but everything to do with religion. Likewise I have not disputed that "grave goods are considered evidence of a belief in [an] afterlife." They are clearly considered evidence of such belief by several scholars. However, this is only a likely hypothesis when the only evidence at hand is the co-existence of cultural artifacts and human remains. What I disputed, at the time, was your naive insistence that it was simply fact. Again, I see no content dispute described above in your long rant under the heading "content dispute." What exactly is the dispute you would like to get resolved? It can't be about the title since you don't have a more appropriate title, and if you do you have resisted providing it despite my begging. So what is the dispute about? Not providing information about evidence of religion in the paleolithic in an entry about prehistoric religion (you know since you kept on deleting that information this is the closest thing to a dispute that I can see here)? Or do you want dispute resolution about your deleted entry ... because that clearly isn't a dispute between the two of us and can't be resolved in dispute resolution.PelleSmith (talk) 04:31, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
You did dispute the out of Africa hypothesis, it is on the talk page of the deleted article origin of religion, so unfortunately I cannot retrieve it.
What you have said is completely speculative. What if burying people with goods was a means of settling disputes over inheritance? What if burying people with goods was done because the surviving members of the group believed a dead person's tools were cursed (btw superstition and or belief in something akin to "magic" does not = the existence of "religion")? What if burying someone with their goods was done because early humans weren't sure initially about death and in case the lifeless body presented them were in fact not dead it may become angry to find out its possessions had gone missing? And the list could go on and on and on. There is no way to factually claim that burial or the existence of grave goods means a belief in the after life.

From the horses mouth. Muntuwandi (talk) 04:39, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

Exactly what I explained above: "There is no way to factually claim that burial or the existence of grave goods means a belief in the after life." Thanks for exemplifying the precise explanation I just gave. So where is the content dispute in this entry again?PelleSmith (talk) 04:46, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
What you were doing is disputing the consensus of the scientific community with your own personal speculations. Based on Ancient Egyptian texts on the burial rituals it is basically factual to claim that grave goods represent a belief in the afterlife. So you were disputing this because you did not know. thats all. Now you know so you have stopped disputing. Same with out of Africa. But that is all thanks to my efforts. Without the information I added these articles would have been completely static. Development of religion is basically the same as it was one year ago with no footnotes. I am basically adding life to these articles. Muntuwandi (talk) 05:00, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
You are entirely wrong. Burial of human remains with cultural artifacts does not necessarily mean belief in the afterlife, and you clearly don't know what you are talking about. Does it most probably correspond with beliefs in some form of afterlife ... sure, and I have never denied this probability. Do the two always equate, and can we possible know for sure if finding human remains with other artifacts in the same location means a belief in the afterlife ... not a chance. There is no such scientific consensus, that's simply a fantasy. You don't understand basic principles of the scientific method and of empiricism which is clearly why you try to make these outrageous claims about "factual" interpretations of cultural practices thousands of years ago. Egyptian burial customs are clearly not a universal template for all burial customs so that is a ridiculous suggestion. Stop congratulating yourself and show me where the dispute between us in this entry is. Also please show me where I denied that homo sapiens originated in Africa or else stop mentioning that none sense.PelleSmith (talk) 05:06, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
Aside from Dbachmann, I don't see any consensus on the edits you make. Muntuwandi (talk) 05:22, 19 December 2007 (UTC)


There has never been any consensus regarding this particular article because all the disputes have been about other articles. There was discussion on those other articles about moving some content to this article, but there has never been any particular discussion concerning this article. My belief is that this article is flawed and I think the name is inappropriate. My reason for this is that in every day language, the word prehistoric is somewhat derogatory. Its another word for "backward" "old fashioned" or "primitive". This is confirmed in the dictionary entries, dictionary Thesaurus where the word is used to describe as old fashioned and outdated. Therefore, I think it is a poor choice of a title and from the get go gives an air of condescension to the material being studied. Scientifically, it simply means before recorded history, but if you ask the average person, they don't know this. Muntuwandi (talk) 17:09, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

If you believe this AfD the entry and suggest that the pertinent content be moved to a different page titled Neolithic religions. When you clearly know that there is opposition to your opinion the proper way to go about the matter is to engage consensus building processes like AfD. BTW, there is nothing derogatory in referring to the peoples of the Paleolithic and Neolithic as prehistoric. Its derogatory to call someone in present eras prehistoric exactly because doing so makes a comparison to peoples of the Paleolithic or Neolithic. Cheers.PelleSmith (talk) 17:13, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
It is factual to have concerns about the usage of the term prehistoric, as mentioned earlier the dictionary gives examples

Slang. outdated; passé: My mom has these prehistoric ideas about proper dress.dictionary It is a synonym for primitive,

  • old-fashioned: primitive ideas and habits.
  • simple; unsophisticated: a primitive farm implement. crude;
  • unrefined: primitive living conditions.

definitions of primitive These are words that initially there was nothing wrong scientifically, but in common language are derogatory and condescending. This is one of the major reasons why it is not used as a title in scientific literature because scientists avoid the negative connotations associated with it. As mentioned earlier it only appears in the title of google scholar 8 times of which only half are after 1990. google scholar search.

Because of these connotations I believe the title violates WP:NPOV because it gives the impression that these are backward, unsophisticated or crude religions.Muntuwandi

Muntuwandi (talk) 17:22, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

Slang usage in reference to a contemporary human being or a contemporary phenomena is not the same as any usage (scholarly or popular) in reference to tens of thousands of years ago. Nothing you have posted proves otherwise. The very references you use in the entry you want to keep use the term prehistoric, and one you use extensively even has prehistoric in its title. The term "prehistoric" gets 51344 hits on JSTOR, and there are too many to even count published post year 2000 CE (well over 1000 hits). And that's just JSTOR. If you are gripping about the scholarly use of the term itself you are clearly not correct. If you are griping about the exact phrase "prehistoric religion" then I've asked several times for one more notable and you have yet to produce one. I'll be happy to comment in an AfD if you are actually serious about getting some consensus about this issue.PelleSmith (talk) 17:33, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
If you look at the word primitive, its original usage has almost completely fallen out of favor and its slang use has now become mainstream. its derived from latin primus for first. Scientifically it is acceptable because it means first, however its is derogatory see the article primitive for details. This is the same case with the word prehistoric. I therefore propose that the article be renamed or maybe even deleted. And if anyone can have more specific areas or time periods they can create a specific article. The original purpose of this article was Neolithic religions of europe. so one could create an article "upper paleolithic religions of europe", or "Neolithic religions of mesoamerica", Middle paleolithic relgion in Africa. Such titles are time and location specific and they have no baggage associated with the names. The term prehistoric is too broad, too general, very subjective and sometimes condescending. The other solution is to create a disambiguation page that links to religions in various time periods and locations around the world. Muntuwandi (talk) 18:07, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
The term primitive has nothing to do with this entry, and the strange comparison you're making is completely fallacious. "Primitive" was a term used by colonizers to describe living indigenous peoples. The politics and history of usage surrounding that term is completely different from those surrounding "prehistoric," especially when prehistoric is applied in its most common form (as it is most of the time it is used). Basing a decision to delete or rename this entry on something related to the term "primitive" is simply madness, or its a disingenuous attempt to accomplish a preconceived end. There is no baggage associated with the name "prehistoric," and you haven't shown any either. If there is enough information to create seperate entries on Neolithic religions in Meso-America, or Paleolithic religions in Africa then it would be great to have specific entries on them. As it is, there is just enough information here for a very short entry on all prehistoric religion. Until there is enough info here to spin off more specific entries, or someone is willing to sit down and write them, it really doesn't make sense to split this entry up. It certainly doesn't make sense to delete it based on the derogatory nature of the word "primitive."PelleSmith (talk) 19:55, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
I think there needs to be serious thought about what the direction of this article should be. Dbachmann unilaterally changed the name to prehistoric religion after there was dispute on the relevance of the term Neolithic religion.See the above conversations. In fact I think the article was even nominated for deletion. The reason being that it was an arbitrary collection of religions some of which were not neolithic but bronze age. It also gave the impression that everyone in the neolithic practiced the same religion, which is factually incorrect. Dbachmann's change was an attempt to be more inclusive, but in reality it suffers from the same problem, if not more. The notion that all prehistoric religions were the same. Based on the usage of the word "prehistoric" I recommend deletion or renaming the article to reflect appropriate content. The article should be maintained if someone is willing to do some research on all the worlds religions of prehistory. But I suspect there is such wide variation, that such research would be too much. To avoid WP:BIAS, using a general term requires all aspects to be written about. I believe the article title "prehistoric religion" does not meet the requirements for notability as per notability guidelins, especially point number 2
  • "Significant coverage" means that sources address the subject directly in detail, and no original research is needed to extract the content. Significant coverage is more than trivial but may be less than exclusive.

Seeing that only 8 articles address the topic of "prehistoric religion" on goole scholar, of which 4 are from after 1990. Furthermore the entries that arise actually are location specific such as limited to European prehistory. There is also an obvious reluctance of any of the editors to do any research, my suggestion is to have the article deleted, merged or renamed to a specific time and location for which information is easily and readily available. Muntuwandi (talk) 02:12, 20 December 2007 (UTC)

There is no name that better reflects that content. Sure if you remove all the information about the Paleolithic then the content changes, but you have no basis for doing that. You have provided no good reasons not to have an entry covering religion in all eras considered "prehistoric" a term you also have provided no reason not to use. Please stop trying to game the system with faulty policy talk.PelleSmith (talk) 13:39, 20 December 2007 (UTC)

Muntuwandi, you are completely mistaken about the meaning of the word "prehistoric". It may be used humorously, but for our purposes, it simply means that no written sources exist. This article deals with the reconstruction of religious practice or beliefs which are not directly documented and have to be second-guessed from archaeological and other sources. There is nothing derogatory about this, and I find your attempt to portray it that way rather contorted. I'll grant you that "primitive" has much more of a derogatory ring today, but you'd be also wrong to dismiss an article on "primitive religion" on such grounds. "primitive" means exactly the same thing as "aboriginal", i.e. the notion that something has not been disturbed by exterior influence. Incidentially, "primitive religion" yields 5,000 google scholar hits. It is a perfectly valid term, and whether you do or do not like it is perfectly irrelevant. "primitive religion" is, however, not the same as "prehistoric religion": the Encarta says, "The varieties of feeling and behaviour known as primitive religion constitute a type of consciousness that Western civilization has lost."[3] "primitive religion" in this sense is close to the scope of our tribal religion article; it is irrelevant for this question whether a religion is historical or not. --dab (𒁳) 17:14, 7 January 2008 (UTC)

As I have mentioned earlier, I understand that the original usage of the terms "prehistoric" and "primitive" were simply scientific and perfectly acceptable. However over time they have taken negative connotations and these negative connotations are characteristic of their use in everyday conversation. My second concern is the ambiguity of the term prehistoric, since this term spans a time from as early as 65 million years ago to 4000 years ago. Muntuwandi (talk) 01:40, 8 January 2008 (UTC)

Another suggestion[edit]

How about after the page is developed further it is split into Paleolithic religion, and Neolithic religion?PelleSmith (talk) 17:50, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

I think that would be a better option than the current name.Muntuwandi (talk) 18:07, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

Wikipedia guidelines[edit]

According to naming conflict,

Wikipedia's technical and practical requirements mean that one particular name must be used as the definitive name of an article. If the particular name has negative connotations for a party, the decision can be controversial; some may perceive the choice as being one that promotes a POV with which they disagree. Wikipedians should not seek to determine who is "right" or "wrong", nor to attempt to impose a particular name for POV reasons. They should instead follow the procedure below to determine common usage on an objective basis. By doing this, ideally, we can choose a name in a systematic manner without having to involve ourselves in a political dispute.

Furthermore external references states,

  • Using Google's advanced search option, search for each conflicting name and confine the results to pages written in English; also exclude the word "Wikipedia" (as we want to see what other people are using, not our own usage). Note which is the most commonly used term.

Muntuwandi (talk) 07:42, 20 December 2007 (UTC)

it is pointless to argue about the title of this article before it is developed further. It could reside at any number of other titles. If you make a sensible suggestion, we can move it, I don't care. You will note that it was created in February 2006 under the title "Neolithic religion". The current title represents a widening of its scope. If enough material accumulates, there can well be a separate "Neolithic religion" article once again, no problem. So, if you have a suggestion, let's hear it. dab (𒁳) 14:36, 7 January 2008 (UTC)

"Middle paleolithic religion", "Upper paleolithic religion" and Neolithic religions are more specific time divisions than prehistoric, which relates to any time before 3000 years ago. Prehistoric time extends to the period of the Dinasaurs 65 million years ago. Maybe Prehistoric religion can serve as a disambiguation page that links to these articles. Muntuwandi (talk) 17:05, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
yes, maybe. I'll fully support the branching out of a separate Paleolithic religion article, we just need sufficient material and references to warrant one. --dab (𒁳) 17:06, 7 January 2008 (UTC)

Maybe I can copy my own work on Paleolithic religion from the main Paleolithic article and paste it onto the (possible) future article Paleolithic religion just as i have done in the past when I have added some of my own work from EvoWiki into Paleontology, Geology and Evolution related articles at wikipedia such as the article on the Early Cambrian Epoch.--Fang 23 (talk) 03:11, 9 February 2008 (UTC)

ADOPT this Article[edit]

I'm surprised this article is so lacking in any real information. I've added internal links to Neolithic Temples (Mnajdra and the Tarxien Temples) and a few photos, but the Neolithic Religion section is woefully inadequate: so is the rest, really. Are there no scholars/students willing to take on the challenge? It's a shame such an interesting subject has been so long ignored by the wikipedia community. golden bells, pomegranates, prunes & prisms (talk) 19:33, 25 February 2008 (UTC)

What a pity this article is so poor. And what a waste of energy in the diatribes between two wikipedians, as evidenced in the talk. I visited Gobekli_Tepe (not mentioned anywhere in the article!) as a tourist, learned that at 12,000 years old it is one of the oldest temples in the world, and wanted to read more related stuff- so I came to wikipedia. But I'll just have to look it up elsewhere on the web, and am saddened by this. <sigh>. Isn't there anyone who knows this stuff who could take the matter in hand? (I'd like to sign this plea, but can't find how. Anyway, I'm user Ginestre)


This section refers to the bronze age, not to the Neolithic. Bronze age is metal age, whereas Neolithic is stone age. Manikongo (talk) 07:34, 6 July 2008 (UTC)

Too few opinions[edit]

I've restored the tag because there is virtually nothing in the article sourced from the academic literature. There was a Journal of Prehistoric Religion [4] and there are many other journal articles and books by academics that discuss the subject (eg [], The Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology of Ritual and Religion By Timothy Insoll, etc. Dougweller (talk) 19:45, 25 December 2011 (UTC)