J.D. Lewis-Williams, one of the leading South African archaeologists and ethgraphers, excavates meaning from the complex mythological stories of the San-Bushmen to create a larger theory of how myth is used in culture. He extracts their nuggets, the far-reaching but often unspoken words and concepts of language and understanding that are opaque to outsiders, to establish a more nuanced theory of the role of these myths in the thought-world and social circumstances of the San. The book -draws from the unique 19th century Bleek/Lloyd archives, more recent ethgraphic work, and San rock art;-includes well-kwn San stories such as The Broken String, Mantis Dreams, and Creation of the Eland;-extrapolates from our understanding of San mythology into a larger model of how people create meaning from myth.
J. D. Lewis-Williams is professor emeritus of cognitive archaeology at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. Lewis-Williams is founder and former director of the highly-regarded Rock Art Research Institute at Witwatersrand and still serves as Professor Emeritus and Senior Mentor. He is internationally known for his ground-breaking work on the meanings of rock art, ancient shamanism, the neuropsychology of religious experiences, and the art and beliefs of San culture. Author of innumerable articles and over twenty books on these topics, he has been honored by the American Historical Association, Society for American Archaeology, and Royal Anthropological Institute for his work.