The book starts by discussing the significance of walking for the experience of being human, including a comparative study of the language and cultures of walking. It then reviews in detail, relying on archaeology, two turning points of human history: the emergence of cave art sanctuaries and a new cultural practice of long-distance ‘pilgrimages’, implying a descent into such caves, thus literally the ‘void’; and the abandonment of walking culture through settlement at the end of the Ice Age, around the time when the visiting of cave sanctuaries also stopped. The rise of philosophy and Christianity is then presented as two returns to walking. The book closes by looking at the ambivalent relationship of contemporary modernity to walking, where its radical abandonment is combined with attempts at returns.

The book ventures an unprecedented genealogy of walking culture, bringing together archaeological studies distant in both time and place, and having a special focus on the significance of the rise of representative art for human history. Our genealogy helped to identify settlement not as the glorious origin of civilisation, but rather as a source of an extremely problematic development. The findings of the book should be relevant for social scientists, as well as those interested in walking and its cultural and civilisational significance, or in the direction and meaning of human history.

chapter |4 pages


part I|43 pages

Walking into sense

chapter 1|20 pages

The Experience of Walking

chapter 2|10 pages

The Language and Culture of Walking

chapter 3|11 pages

The Dilemma of Representing the Void

Michel Foucault and Frances Yates

part II|98 pages

The flourishing and demise of walking culture

chapter 4|11 pages


The cave of wonders, or representation as transgression

chapter 5|24 pages


The cave of monsters, and its aftermath

chapter 6|16 pages

Natufian Settlement

Technology, representation, standing reserve

chapter 7|12 pages

GÖbekli Tepe

Sanctuary as trickster bestiary, or the revival of transgression

chapter 8|13 pages


The culmination of settlement

chapter 9|20 pages


Incubating transformation, or a training ground for the magi

part III|50 pages

Returns to walking

chapter 10|12 pages

Walking in Philosophy and Religion

chapter 11|11 pages

Walking in Mountains

The vocation of losing oneself

chapter 12|12 pages

Experiencing Walking

chapter |13 pages