The Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology and Anthropology of Rock Art
Edited by Bruno David and Ian J. McNiven
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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.
- Oxford University Press
- Published online:
- Mar 2017