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date: 27 February 2021

Abstract and Keywords

The materials used to make rock art contain important evidence about the cultural practices of the people who created it: their technologies, movements, and social interactions. The number of studies of archaeological pigments in the recent literature demonstrates how fruitful such enquiries can be. In this chapter, the authors discuss the physicochemical characterization of rock art pigments, outline the history of research in this area, differentiate key concepts and terminology, and describe principal methods. They conclude with illustrative case studies from France, South Africa, and Australia to demonstrate the kinds of archaeological information that can be preserved in rock art pigments.

Keywords: pigments, physicochemical characterization, rock art, paint, chaîne opératoire, ochre

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