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date: 23 February 2019

Abstract and Keywords

North America contains a large and diverse corpus of Indigenous rock art, matched by a long history of research, and a rich ethnographic record. The regional patterns in the age, nature, and (in some cases) meaning of this art are briefly summarized in this overview chapter. By roughly 12,000 bp, a series of different styles and traditions had already developed across the continent, providing evidence for cultural diversity not visible in the lithic archaeological record. At least one of these traditions continued into recent times while, in other culture areas, replacement and change is evident into the past half-millennium. The appearance of rock art traditions thus documents the changing patterns of regional North American cultural systems.

Keywords: rock art, North America, traditions, style, culture areas, dating

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