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date: 25 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Most researchers today focus on rock art in a small section of a single country and usually on hunter-gatherer, pastoralist, or agriculturist rock art. This tightening of focus reflects more than research practicalities, underlying it are fundamental paradigm shifts in the ways in which people work with rock art. In the late 1960s, rock art research lay at the periphery of African archaeology. The last fifty years has seen a transformation in the application of both method and theory in rock art studies and this has allowed for reintegration within mainstream archaeology. Problems of dating rock art remain, but this has not stopped the development of historically particular and regionally specific contextual understandings of the role and symbolism of rock art in many parts of Africa. Rock art studies now have a central place in the study of cognition, hermeneutics, and identity formation throughout Africa.

Keywords: African rock art, rock art studies, African archaeology, rock art dating

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