ARGHHHHH!!!! Again, in his reductionist and revisionist zeal–in his polemic Pagan Britain, which is just as bad as his formerly flawed polemic, The Pagan Religions of the Ancient British Isles–Prof. Hutton shows his fatally flawed weaknesses in trusting the disciplines of a Historian to the subject of pre-History since it ultimately short sights the evidence at hand by design. This is why this subject ought to be left to a History-Anthropologist, rather than a mere Historian since he is ill-equipped to handle the evidence at hand.
Between pages 20 and 21 of Hutton’s Pagan Britain (Yale Univ. Press, 2013), he attempts to prove that the famous Paleolithic rock carving of the “Sorcerer” from the cave (depicted above), Les Trois Freres (France), cannot be trusted nor assumed to be any sort of an animistic horned deity since the horns are not painted onto the wall with the rest of the image. In fact, as Hutton has been quick to point out since his earlier polemic, Witches, Druids, and King Arthur, the horns were added by the artist who originally sketched the cave art since the “horns” were actually a feature caused by cracks and other natural features in the wall of the cave itself. Therefore, Hutton infers that this image should not be employed as evidence for a Paleolithic horned deity. It is also note-worthy that–showing how Prof. Hutton is, indeed, a “maverick historian”–he doesn’t cite a single scholars, let alone any pre-Historians, who share his conservative views in this case!
However, Prof. Hutton seems to totally forget, or else he does not even consider the view that it’s an established fact that Paleolithic peoples made a deliberate use of cracks and other features in their cave art. This was demonstrated by David Lewis-Williams and David Pierce in their book, Inside the Neolithic Mind, which Prof. Hutton seems to go to pains to ignore. In fact, Hutton only mentions Lewis-Williams’ 1998 book (The Shamans of Prehistory), and ignores his much more recent work, which is based upon the science of neuro-biology. Furthermore, these cave images may well have been fully visible by low cave light caused by torches during the Paleolithic era. Indeed, as Lewis-Williams emphasizes, again and again, throughout his more recent studies, which Hutton fails to cite (but ignores!), there was NO distinction in the Paleolithic and Neolithic mind between the natural world and the Sacred! Lewis-Williams basis this off of neuro-biological research, which has been showing sustained results since its inception. Indeed, further supporting Lewis-Williams is their view that the walls of the caves were thought to have been a permeable entrance or membrane-like vortices to the Otherworld on which they drew (this is why so many of the animals appear to be hovering). Therefore, the horn-like cracks may have first stood out to the creators of this art, since they were intentionally incorporated into the pre-historic art. It is not surprising that to find that Prof. Hutton writes very one-sided books.
PS–Prof. Hutton also refrains from citing their equally enthralling book, The Mind in the Cave.