Conference Review: South African Conference on Rock Art

Research output: Contribution to journalBook/Film/Article review


Twenty years ago, rock art research was an
archaeological ‘Cinderella’ – attractive, intriguing, but
not quite ‘real’ archaeology, even though archaeology
had, itself, only recently become a professional
discipline (eg, Deacon 1993). Rock art’s transformation
from avocational preserve to theoretically-informed and
public-friendly archaeology has been enabled by a host
of factors: recognition of the materiality of ‘images’; the
realisation of art’s central role in the development of
modern human cognition; the comparative ease of
applying relevant ethnography to certain rock art
traditions especially in parts of Africa, Australia and the
Americas; and several landmark rock art studies in the
late 1970s and early 1980s (eg, Vinnicombe 1976;
Lewis-Williams 1981) that catapulted rock art from being
a part-time and generalised academic diversion to a
successful and specialist research ‘brand’.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalBefore Farming: The Archaeology and Anthropology of Hunter-Gatherers
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2006


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