For a long time, art historians have developed a restrictive view of the phenomenon of art and have participated in the creation of a Eurocentric vision of global human history. Effectively, art history became a reflection of the wider framework of European cultural dominance, colonial exploitation and appropriation. A key notion in this respect is, for example, the idea of ‘primitive art’. One could argue that these configurations are still dominant within art history, so that the latter is regarded as being of limited value from the perspective of comparative social science disciplines, such as archaeology, rock art studies and social anthropology. However, recently, new developments within and from outside of the field have increasingly criticised and questioned the dominant orientation of art history. These include the challenge that is presented by indigenous artists, their voices and perspectives, an engagement with recent social theoretical debates (such as the ‘ontological turn’) and ongoing discussions about the fundamental character of (anthropological) inquiry itself and the similarities to writing and, more broadly, artistic creation. This paper explores how these diverse tendencies can be beneficial within the study of rock art and archaeology.