Toward a mindscape of landscape: rock-art as an expression of world-understanding

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperChapter


Rock art imagery represents one of the most theoretically informed classes of material culture relating to archaeologically observed forager communities. Unlike most other items of forager material culture, the visual primacy of rock art imagery is able to simultaneously presence a wealth of associations for the viewer. In order to establish which of these associations are relevant and meaningful, reliable relations of relevance linking contemporary and forager thought need to be constructed. These relations of relevance should, ideally, be composed of multiple strands of evidence. In this manner we may move from material, observable manifestations toward an exploration of certain non-material elements of the forager mindscape. Rock art interpretations do, however, suffer from a visual and language bias which, though essential to research, does tend to close off other less easily described research directions. I suggest three strands of archaeological evidence that may go some way toward a consideration of non-visual and non-verbal meanings of certain rock arts. The three strands of evidence are: forager cognitive systems, shamanism and forager landscape perception.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe archaeology of rock-art
EditorsChristopher Chippindale, Paul Tacon
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherCambridge University Ppress
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print) 978-0521576192
Publication statusPublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes

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