As readers of Albion Calling will be aware, one of my interests in the archaeology of religion is in Palaeolithic rock art; earlier this year I even had the opportunity to visit many of these cave images for myself.
The idea that these prehistoric paintings and engravings reflected entheogenic images experienced through altered states of consciousness (perhaps drug induced), is certainly not a new one. It was most famously articulated by South Africa's Dr. David Lewis-Williams in his excellent book, The Mind in the Cave: Consciousness and the Origins of Art (Thames and Hudson, 2002). Last November he came over to London to give a couple of lectures, which I positively reviewed at the time.
Now a new paper building on the ideas of Lewis-Williams and other exponents of the entheogen hypothesis has appeared in the Adaptive Behaviour journal, authored by Tom Froese, Alexander Woodward, and Takashi Ikegami. The original paper can be read online for free here, while a summary of their findings has been posted on the alternet site.