The Dream on the Rock

Visions of Prehistory

By Fulvio Gosso & Peter Webster

Subjects: Anthropology, Archaeology, Psychology
Paperback : 9781438448749, 138 pages, July 2014
Hardcover : 9781438448756, 138 pages, December 2013

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Table of contents

List of Tables and Illustrations
1. Foundations of the Research
2. Sites of the Research
3. The Significance of the Research
4. Origins of Psychedelia (Peter Webster)

Examines the relationship between rock art, shamanism, and the origins of human existence.


The Dream on the Rock takes an interdisciplinary approach to contextualizing and historicizing the phenomenon of shamanism from the Neolithic Age until the beginning of the Iron Age. Fulvio Gosso and Peter Webster argue that rock art and other ancient materials provide a glimpse of the fundamental role played by nonordinary states of consciousness in our social and evolutionary prehistory. Ultimately, the authors offer a comprehensive exploration of shamanism, religion, and the origins of human consciousness, along with evidence that hallucinogenic plants may have played a key role in this process.

Fulvio Gosso is a psychoanalyst and one of the founders of the Italian Society for the Study of Consciousness. Peter Webster is a retired chemist.


"This study establishes the use of psychoactive sacraments as the primordial experience that stimulated the evolution of human consciousness and its sense of the divine. It also documents the developing history of this shamanic event through an examination of cave and rock art worldwide, not only in paintings and engravings, but in the strange phenomenon of cup-marks carved in stone in the Alpine region, which may have played a role in the ritual use of the psychoactive Amanita muscaria mushroom. It is the first book to examine the full range of evidence and to place central Europe also in this context." — Carl A. P. Ruck, author of Sacred Mushrooms of the Goddess: Secrets of Eleusis