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date: 17 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the question of spatiality/spatial structure in rock art by focusing on European Upper Palaeolithic art, commonly known as cave art. More specifically, it considers the existence of structural principles, both physical and mental, important in understanding the artists’ ways of thinking. After discussing the role of the landscape in rock art, the chapter explains how Palaeolithic peoples of Europe dealt with a wide range of spatial choices and possibilities: for example, when a site was chosen as appropriate for artworks, or whether people developed one or more spatial models that they would apply or adapt to their chosen sites. It provides evidence showing that Upper Palaeolithic peoples held beliefs and customs that were reflected in the nature and structure of the paintings, engravings, and carvings that they created in hopes of establishing contact with the spirit world and deriving benefits from such connections.

Keywords: spatiality, spatial structure, rock art, Europe, Upper Palaeolithic, cave art, landscape, visual art, spatial choices, paintings

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