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date: 21 February 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Understanding the rock art of a cave or rock shelter requires positioning the art in its landscape setting. This involves both spatial and temporal dimensions because a site’s layout changes through time, necessitating an examination of site formation processes. In this chapter, the authors present a new approach—archaeomorphology—that unites archaeological and geomorphological methods to explore the history of the objects and spaces that make up a site. Archaeomorphological mapping allows researchers to track through time the changing configuration of sites, including rock surfaces, the morphogenic forces at work, and, with this, the changing spatial contexts of the art on its surfaces. Archaeomorphology shifts attention away from the site as a ‘natural’ canvas upon which inscriptions were made to its social engagement as an actively constructed architectural and performative space.

Keywords: aménagement, archaeomorphology, mapping, morphogenesis, site formation, sites as architecture, superimposition, superposition

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