Leslie Van Gelder (born 1969) is an archaeologist, writer, and educator whose primary work involves the study of Paleolithic Finger Flutings in Rouffignac Cave and Gargas Cave in Southern France.Click here to see the full biography
Leslie Van Gelder (born 1969) is an archaeologist, writer, and educator whose primary work involves the study of Paleolithic Finger Flutings in Rouffignac Cave and Gargas Cave in Southern France.
Working with her husband, the late archaeologist and theologian Kevin J. Sharpe, she spent 10 years developing methodologies to study finger flutings. Their work, building on the internal analysis concepts established by Alexander Marshack, was the first to be able to establish unique identities of cave artists through the study of individual hands and the application of 2D:4D finger studies. Their work on finger flutings was the first to show symbolic behavior by children Sharpe, K. & Van Gelder, L. 2006a. Evidence of cave marking by Paleolithic children. Antiquity 80:310, 937-947. in the Paleolithic through the creation of tectiforms in Rouffignac. Later work Van Gelder, L. and Sharpe, K. 2009. Women and girls as Upper Paleolithic cave ‘artists’: Deciphering the sexes of finger fluters in Rouffignac Cave, Oxford Journal of Archaeology. 28:4, 323-333. showed the role of women and children in the creation of cave art in Rouffignac. Their application of Zipf's Law Sharpe, K. & Van Gelder, L. 2009. Paleolithic finger flutings as efficient communication: Applying Zipf’s Law to two panels in Rouffignac Cave, France. Semiotica 177, 171-190. from communications theory also gave the first replicable methodology for determining whether or not fluted panels represented purposeful communication or a proto form of writing. Today Van Gelder continues to research in Rouffignac and Gargas caves and lectures internationally. Her current research focuses on the role of children in both caves. She is a Program Director at Walden University’s Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership.Click here to hide this biography