This is the third in the five-yearly series of surveys of what is happening in rock art studies around the world. As always, the texts reflect something of the great differences in approach and emphasis that exist in different regions. The volume presents examples from Europe, Asia, Africa, and the New World. During the period in question, 1999 to 2004, there have been few major events, although in the field of Pleistocene art many new discoveries have been made, and a new country added to the select list of those with Ice Age cave art. Some regions such as North Africa and the former USSR have seen a tremendous amount of activity, focusing not only on recording but also on chronology, and the conservation of sites. With the global increase of tourism, the management of rock art sites that are accessible to the public is a theme of ever-growing importance.
In Termites of the Gods, Siyakha Mguni narrates his personal journey, over many years, to discover the significance of a hitherto enigmatic theme in San rock paintings known as ?formlings?. Formlings are a painting category found across the southern African region, including South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe, with its densest concentration in the Matopo Hills, Zimbabwe. Generations of archaeologists and anthropologists have wrestled with the meaning of this painting theme in San cosmology without reaching consensus or a plausible explanation. Drawing on San ethnography published over the past 150 years, Mguni argues that formlings are, in fact, representations of flying termites and their underground nests, and are associated with botantical subjects and a range of larger animals considered by the San to have great power and spiritual significance. This book fills a gap in rock art studies around the interpretation and meaning of formlings. It offers an innovative methodological approach for understanding subject matter in San rock art that is not easily recognisable, and will be an invaluable reference book to students and scholars in rock art studies and archaeology.
The earliest rock art�in the Americas as elsewhere�is geometric or abstract. Until�Early Rock Art in the American West,�however, no book-length study has been devoted to the deep antiquity and amazing range of geometrics and the fascinating questions that arise from their ubiquity and variety. Why did they precede representational marks? What is known about their origins and functions? Why and how did humans begin to make marks, and what does this practice tell us about the early human mind? With some two hundred�striking�color images and�discussions�of chronology, dating, sites, and styles, this pioneering investigation of abstract geometrics on stone (as well as�bone, ivory, and shell)�explores its wide-ranging subject from the perspectives of ethnology, evolutionary biology, cognitive archaeology, and the psychology of artmaking. The authors� unique approach instills a greater respect for a largely unknown and underappreciated form of paleoart, suggesting that before humans became�Homo symbolicus�or even�Homo religiosus, they were mark-makers�Homo aestheticus.
Rock art is one of the most visible and geographically widespread of cultural expressions, and it spans much of the period of our species' existence. Rock art also provides rare and often unique insights into the minds and visually creative capacities of our ancestors and how selected rock outcrops with distinctive images were used to construct symbolic landscapes and shape worldviews. Equally important, rock art is often central to the expression of and engagement with spiritual entities and forces, and in all these dimensions it signals the diversity of cultural practices, across place and through time. Over the past 150 years, archaeologists have studied ancient arts on rock surfaces, both out in the open and within caves and rock shelters, and social anthropologists have revealed how people today use art in their daily lives. The Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology and Anthropology of Rock Art showcases examples of such research from around the world and across a broad range of cultural contexts, giving a sense of the art's regional variability, its antiquity, and how it is meaningful to people in the recent past and today - including how we have ourselves tended to make sense of the art of others, replete with our own preconceptions. It reviews past, present, and emerging theoretical approaches to rock art investigation and presents new, cutting-edge methods of rock art analysis for the student and professional researcher alike.
Papers Presented in Symposia 1-3 of the SIARB Congress, Cochabamba, Bolivia, April 1997
Author: Matthias Strecker,Paul G. Bahn
Publisher: Oxbow Books Limited
While significant advances have been made in direct dating French and Spanish rock art, direct dates obtained by AMS for the New World are extremely scarce and existing stylistic chronologies cannot be trusted. These papers from the International Rock Art Congress held in Bolivia in 1997 focus in the dating problem. They also reflect discussion of the earliest art in the light of recent research and as seen from a world palaeo-art perspective.
The study of material culture is concerned with the relationship between persons and things in the past and in the present, in urban and industrialized and in small-scale societies across the globe. The Handbook of Material Culture provides a critical survey of the theories, concepts, intellectual debates, substantive domains, and traditions of study characterizing the analysis of "things." This cutting-edge work examines the current state of material culture as well as how this field of study may be extended and developed in the future. The Handbook of Material Culture is divided into five sections: Section I maps material culture studies as a theoretical and conceptual field. Section II examines the relationship between material forms, the human body and the senses. Section III focuses on subject-object relations. Section IV considers things in terms of processes and transformations in terms of production, exchange and consumption, performance and the significance of things over the long-term. Section V considers the contemporary politics and poetics of displaying, representing and conserving material and the manner in which this impacts on notions of heritage, tradition and identity. The Handbook charts an interdisciplinary field of studies that makes a unique and fundamental contribution to an understanding of what it means to be human. It will be of interest to all who work in the social and historical sciences, from anthropologists and archaeologists to human geographers to scholars working in heritage, design and cultural studies.
This international volume draws together key research that examines visual arts of the past and contemporary indigenous societies. Placing each art style in its temporal and geographic context, the contributors show how depictions represent social mechanisms of identity construction, and how stylistic differences in product and process serve to reinforce cultural identity. Examples stretch from the Paleolithic to contemporary world and include rock art, body art, and portable arts. Ethnographic studies of contemporary art production and use, such as among contemporary Aboriginal groups, are included to help illuminate artistic practices and meanings in the past. The volume reflects the diversity of approaches used by archaeologists to incorporate visual arts into their analysis of past cultures and should be of great value to archaeologists, anthropologists, and art historians. Sponsored by the World Archaeological Congress.
European Association of Archaeologists. Meeting,Joakim Goldhahn
papers from a session held at the European Association of Archaeologists Fourth Annual Meeting in Göteborg 1998
Author: European Association of Archaeologists. Meeting,Joakim Goldhahn
Publisher: British Archaeological Reports
Derived from a session at the European Association of Archaeologists 4th annual meeting at Gothenburg in 1998. These eight papers address the various and varied theoretical perspectives on social representation in rock art. Existing theories are challenged and new ideas presented in this study of contemporary rock art research.
Two of the greatest living authorities on Ice Age art delve hundreds of thousands of years into the human past to discover the earliest works of art ever made, drawing on decades of new research Where is the world’s very first art located? When, and why, did people begin experimenting with different materials, forms, and colors? Prehistorians have long been asking these questions, but only recently have they been able to piece together the first chapter in the story of art. Overturning the traditional Eurocentric vision of our artistic origins, Paul Bahn and Michel Lorblanchet seek out the earliest art across the whole world. There are clues that even three million years ago distant human ancestors were drawn to natural curiosities that appeared representational, such as the face-like “Makapansgat cobble" from South Africa, not carved but naturally weathered to resemble a human face. In the last hundred thousand years people all over the world began to create art: the oldest known paint palettes in South Africa’s Blombos Cave, the famous Venus figures across Europe all the way to Siberia, and magnificent murals on cave walls in every continent except Antarctica. This book is the first to assess the discovery, history, and significance of these varied forms of art: the artistic impulse developed in the human mind wherever it traveled.