Rock art

In archaeology, rock art is human-made markings placed on natural stone; it is largely synonymous with parietal art. A global phenomenon, rock art is found in many culturally diverse regions of the world. It has been produced in many contexts throughout human history, although the majority of rock art that has been ethnographically recorded has been produced as a part of ritual. Such artworks are often divided into three forms: petroglyphs, which are carved into the rock surface, pictographs, which are painted onto the surface, and earth figures, formed on the ground. The oldest known rock art dates from the Upper Palaeolithic period, having been found in Europe, Australia, Asia and Africa. Archaeologists studying these artworks believe that they likely had magico-religious significance.

The archaeological sub-discipline of rock art studies first developed in the late-19th century among Francophone scholars studying the Upper Palaeolithic rock art found in the cave systems of Western Europe. Rock art continues to be of importance to indigenous peoples in various parts of the world, who view them as both sacred items and significant components of their cultural patrimony.[1] Such archaeological sites are also significant sources of cultural tourism, and have been utilised in popular culture for their aesthetic qualities.[2]

Normally found in literate cultures, a rock relief or rock-cut relief is a relief sculpture carved on solid or "living rock" such as a cliff, rather than a detached piece of stone. They are a category of rock art, and sometimes found in conjunction with rock-cut architecture.[3] However, they tend to be omitted in most works on rock art, which concentrate on engravings and paintings by prehistoric peoples. A few such works exploit the natural contours of the rock and use them to define an image, but they do not amount to man-made reliefs. Rock reliefs have been made in many cultures, and were especially important in the art of the Ancient Near East.[4] Rock reliefs are generally fairly large, as they need to be to make an impact in the open air. Most have figures that are over life-size, and in many the figures are multiples of life-size.

Stylistically they normally relate to other types of sculpture from the culture and period concerned, and except for Hittite and Persian examples they are generally discussed as part of that wider subject.[5] The vertical relief is most common, but reliefs on essentially horizontal surfaces are also found. The term typically excludes relief carvings inside caves, whether natural or themselves man-made, which are especially found in India. Natural rock formations made into statues or other sculpture in the round, most famously at the Great Sphinx of Giza, are also usually excluded. Reliefs on large boulders left in their natural location, like the Hittite İmamkullu relief, are likely to be included, but smaller boulders may be called stelae or carved orthostats.

Petroglyph jqjacobs
Petroglyph attributed to Classic Vernal Style, Fremont archaeological culture, eastern Utah, United States.
Polonnaruwa
Reclining Buddha at Gal Vihara, Sri Lanka. The remains of the image house that originally enclosed it can be seen.

Terminology

Buddhas at ili
Buddhist stone carvings at Ili River, Kazakhstan.

The term rock art appears in the published literature as early as the 1940s.[6][7] It has also been described as "rock carvings",[8] "rock drawings",[9] "rock engravings",[10] "rock inscriptions",[11] "rock paintings",[12] "rock pictures",[13] "rock records"[14] "rock sculptures.,[15][16]

Background

The defining characteristic of rock art is that it is placed on natural rock surfaces; in this way it is distinct from artworks placed on constructed walls or free-standing sculpture.[17] As such, rock art is a form of landscape art, and includes designs that have been placed on boulder and cliff faces, cave walls and ceilings, and on the ground surface.[17] Rock art is a global phenomenon, being found in many different regions of the world.[1]

There are various forms of rock art. These include pictographs, which were painted or drawn onto the panel (rock surface), petroglyphs, which were carved or engraved onto the panel, and earth figures such as earthforms, intaglios and geoglyphs. Some archaeologists also consider pits and grooves in the rock, known as cups, rings or cupules, as a form of rock art.[17]

Although there are exceptions, the majority of rock art whose creation was ethnographically recorded had been produced during rituals.[17] As such, the study of rock art is a component of the archaeology of religion.[18]

Rock art serves multiple purposes in the contemporary world. In several regions, it remains spiritually important to indigenous peoples, who view it as a significant component of their cultural patrimony.[1] It also serves as an important source of cultural tourism, and hence as economic revenue in certain parts of the world. As such, images taken from cave art have appeared on memorabilia and other artefacts sold as a part of the tourist industry.[2]

Types

Pictographs

Pictographs are paintings or drawings that have been placed onto the rock face. Such artworks have typically been made with mineral earths and other natural compounds found across much of the world. The predominantly used colours are red, black and white. Red paint is usually attained through the use of ground ochre, while black paint is typically composed of charcoal, or sometimes from minerals such as manganese. White paint is usually created from natural chalk, kaolinite clay or diatomaceous earth.[19] Once the pigments had been obtained, they would be ground and mixed with a liquid, such as water, blood, urine, or egg yolk, and then applied to the stone as paint using a brush, fingers, or a stamp. Alternately, the pigment could have been applied on dry, such as with a stick of charcoal.[20] In some societies, the paint itself has symbolic and religious meaning; for instance, among hunter-gatherer groups in California, paint was only allowed to be traded by the group shamans, while in other parts of North America, the word for "paint" was the same as the word for "supernatural spirit".[21]

One unusual form of pictograph, found in many, although not all rock-art producing cultures, is the hand print. There are three forms of this; the first involves covering the hand in wet paint and then applying it to the rock. The second involves a design being painted onto the hand, which is then in turn added to the surface. The third involves the hand first being placed against the panel, with dry paint then being blown onto it through a tube, in a process that is akin to air-brush or spray-painting. The resulting image is a negative print of the hand, and is sometimes described as a "stencil" in Australian archaeology.[22]

Petroglyphs

Petroglyphs are engravings or carvings into the rock panel. They are created with the use of a hard hammerstone, which is battered against the stone surface. In certain societies, the choice of hammerstone itself has religious significance.[23] In other instances, the rock art is pecked out through indirect percussion, as a second rock is used like a chisel between the hammerstone and the panel.[23] A third, rarer form of engraving rock art was through incision, or scratching, into the surface of the stone with a lithic flake or metal blade. The motifs produced using this technique are fine-lined and often difficult to see.[24]

Earth figures

Earth figures are large designs and motifs that are created on the stone ground surface. They can be classified through their method of manufacture.[25] Intaglios are created by scraping away the desert pavements (pebbles covering the ground) to reveal a negative image on the bedrock below. The best known example of such intaglio rock art is the Nazca Lines of Peru.[25] In contrast, geoglyphs are positive images, which are created by piling up rocks on the ground surface to resulting in a visible motif or design.[25]

Motifs and panels

Traditionally, individual markings are called motifs and groups of motifs are known as panels. Sequences of panels are treated as archaeological sites. This method of classifying rock art however has become less popular as the structure imposed is unlikely to have had any relevance to the art's creators. Even the word 'art' carries with it many modern prejudices about the purpose of the features.

Rock art can be found across a wide geographical and temporal spread of cultures perhaps to mark territory, to record historical events or stories or to help enact rituals. Some art seems to depict real events whilst many other examples are apparently entirely abstract.

Prehistoric rock depictions were not purely descriptive. Each motif and design had a "deep significance" that is not always understandable to modern scholars.[26]

Interpretation and use

Religious interpretations

In many instances, the creation of rock art was itself a ritual act.[24] Some rock art has been interpreted to represent presumed cultural behaviors. Common features in rock art that are related to portraying shamans were bones and other skeletal remains on their coats. One reason for the bones would be that they were used as a type of armor for protecting the shaman on his journeys through different worlds. Devlet, the author of "Rock Art and the Material Culture of Siberian and Central Asian Shamanism" highlights, "Another interpretation of these skeletal costume elements explains them as representations of a shaman brought back to life after the dismemberment that occurs during the initiation process: the depicted bones thus refer to the wearer's own skeleton" (43). The concept of death and revival is often associated with shamans and the way they are portrayed. The bones were usually on the back of the shaman's jacket or used on the breast-piece.

In Central Asia, spiritual practitioners were depicted wearing fringed fabric. There are differences in the lengths of the fringe and where on the shaman the fringe is located. In the rock art, the fringe was usually long single strands attached to different parts of the shaman's body. The symbolism of the fringe can be interpreted in several ways. One example is, "The fringe on a shaman's coat is an important element, which marks his or her ornithomorphic nature (i.e. the ability to transform into a bird or to gain its abilities such as the capacity for flight) " (Devlet 44). The concept of fringe being correlated with flying was mainly used in rock art in the Altai, Tuva, and Mongolian regions.

A more mainstream characteristic is the detection of the shaman's ritualistic drum. Even though there are different types, shapes, and images painted on the shaman's drum, it is clearly depicted in the rock art. The range of decoration used on the drums varied from simplistic to innately elaborate. The resemblance is remarkably illustrated, "In the Altai region, images depicted on historical shamanic drums demonstrate a striking similarity with what is shown on the rock engravings" (Devlet 47).

Regional variations

Europe

In the Upper Palaeolithic of Europe, rock art was produced inside cave systems by the hunter-gatherer peoples who inhabited the continent. The oldest known example is the Chauvet Cave in France, although others have been located, including Lascaux in France, Alta Mira in Spain and Creswell Crags in Britain and Grotta del Genovese in Sicily.

The late prehistoric rock art of Europe has been divided into three regions by archaeologists. In Atlantic Europe, the coastal seaboard on the west of the continent, which stretches from Iberia up through France and encompasses the British Isles, a variety of different rock arts were produced from the Neolithic through to the Late Bronze Age. A second area of the continent to contain a significant rock art tradition was that of Alpine Europe, with the majority of artworks being clustered in the southern slopes of the mountainous region, in what is now south-eastern France and northern Italy.

Africa

Femme-gravure
Female figure at the Tassili n'Ajjer mountain range.
Laas Geel
Long-horned cattle and other rock art in the Laas Geel complex.
Southafrica468bushman
Rock paintings from the Western Cape

Sahara

East Africa

Southern Africa

Cave paintings are found in all parts of Southern Africa that have rock overhangs with smooth surfaces. Among these sites are the cave sandstone of Natal, Orange Free State and North-Eastern Cape, the granite and Waterberg sandstone of the Northern Transvaal, and the Table Mountain sandstone of the Southern and Western Cape.[29]

  • UKhahlamba Drakensberg Park in South Africa – The site has paintings dated to around 3,000 years old and which are thought to have been drawn by the San people, who settled in the area some 8,000 years ago. The rock art depicts animals and humans and is thought to represent religious beliefs.
  • Tsodilo Hills in Botswana – A World Heritage Site with rock art
  • Brandberg Mountain (Daureb) in Namibia – It is one of the most important rock art localities on the African continent. Most visitors only see "The White Lady" shelter (which is neither white, nor a lady, the famous scene probably depicts a young boy in an initiation ceremony), however the upper reaches of the mountain is full of sites with prehistoric paintings, some of which rank among the finest artistic achievements of prehistory.
  • Bambata Cave, Zimbabwe- Animal paintings and human drawings are supposed to be age from 2.000 to 20.000 years old[30][31][32]
  • Mwela and Adjacent Areas Rock Art Site, Zambia

The Americas

Nanabozho pictograph, Mazinaw Rock
Nanabozho pictograph, Mazinaw Rock, Bon Echo Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada.
Native rock painting wy usa
Native American rock painting close to Douglas, Wyoming, USA. One possible interpretation of this painting is: On the left side a group of United States Army soldiers with different insignia and on the right side Native Americans are shown

The oldest reliably dated rock art in the Americas is known as the "Horny Little Man." It is petroglyph depicting a stick figure with an oversized phallus and carved in Lapa do Santo, a cave in central-eastern Brazil.[33] The most important site is Serra da Capivara National Park at Piauí state. It is a UNESCO world heritage site with the largest collection in the American continent and one of the most studied.

Rock paintings or pictographs are located in many areas across Canada. There are over 400 sites attributed to the Ojibway from northern Saskatchewan to the Ottawa River.[34]

Asia

Bhimbetka Cave Paintings
Bhimbetka rock painting of India, World Heritage Site.
Wenshan Malipo Dawang Yanya Neolithic Painting
'Great King' neolithic paintings above Malipo in Wenshan Prefecture, Yunnan Province, China. Thought to be over 4000 years old.
Ancient Azerbaijan 4
Petroglyphs in Gobustan, Azerbaijan, dating back to 10,000 BC.
Ancient rock art in Balichakra near Yadgir town
Rock art in Balichakra near Yadgir town in Karnataka, India

Australasia

Australian Indigenous art represents the oldest unbroken tradition of art in the world. The oldest firmly dated rock-art painting in Australia is a charcoal drawing on a rock fragment found during the excavation of the Nawarla Gabarnmang rock shelter in south western Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory. Dated at 28,000 years, it is one of the oldest known pieces of rock art on Earth with a confirmed date. Nawarla Gabarnmang is considered to have one of the most extensive collections of rock art in the world and predates both Lascaux and Chauvet cave art - the earliest known art in Europe - by at least 10,000 years.[43][44]

In 2008 rock art depicting what is thought to be a Thylacoleo was discovered on the north-western coast of the Kimberley.[45] As the Thylacoleo is believed to have become extinct 45000–46000 years ago (Roberts et al. 2001) (Gillespie 2004), this suggests a similar age for the associated Bradshaw rock paintings. Archaeologist Kim Akerman however believes that the megafauna may have persisted later in refugia (wetter areas of the continent) as suggested by Wells (1985: 228) and has suggested a much younger age for the paintings.[45] Pigments from the "Bradshaw paintings" of the Kimberley are so old they have become part of the rock itself, making carbon dating impossible. Some experts suggest that these paintings are in the vicinity of 50,000 years old and may even pre-date Aboriginal settlement.[46][47]

Anbangbang gallery Mimi rock art cropped
Aboriginal rock painting of Mimi spirits in the Anbangbang gallery at Nourlangie Rock in Kakadu National Park.

In New Zealand, North Otago and South Canterbury have a "rich range" of early Māori rock art.[50]

Rock Art Studies

The archaeological sub-discipline devoted to the investigation of rock art is known as "rock art studies." Rock art specialist David S. Whitley noted that research in this area required an "integrated effort" that brings together archaeological theory, method, fieldwork, analytical techniques and interpretation.[52]

History

Although French archaeologists had undertaken much research into rock art, Anglophone archaeology had largely neglected the subject for decades.[53]

The discipline of rock art studies witnessed what Whitley called a "revolution" during the 1980s and 1990s, as increasing numbers of archaeologists in the Anglophone world and Latin America turned their attention to the subject.[54] In doing so, they recognised that rock art could be used to understand symbolic and religious systems, gender relations, cultural boundaries, cultural change and the origins of art and belief.[1] One of the most significant figures in this movement was the South African archaeologist David Lewis-Williams, who published his studies of San rock art from southern Africa, in which he combined ethnographic data to reveal the original purpose of the artworks. Lewis-Williams would come to be praised for elevating rock art studies to a "theoretically sophisticated research domain" by Whitley.[55] However, the study of rock art worldwide is marked by considerable differences of opinion with respect to the appropriateness of various methods and the most relevant and defensible theoretical framework.

International Databases and Archives

The UNESCO World Rock Art Archive Working Group met in 2011 to discuss the base model for a World Rock Art Archive.[56] While no official output has been generated to date various projects around the world, such as for example The Global Rock Art Database,[57][58] are looking at making rock art heritage information more accessible and more visible to assist with rock art awareness, conservation and preservation issues.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ a b c d Whitley 2005, p. 1.
  2. ^ a b Whitley 2005, pp. 1–2.
  3. ^ Harmanşah (2014), 5–6
  4. ^ Harmanşah (2014), 5–6; Canepa, 53
  5. ^ for example by Rawson and Sickman & Soper
  6. ^ E. Goodall, Proceedings and Transactions of the Rhodesian Scientific Association 41:57-62, 1946: "Domestic Animals in rock art"
  7. ^ E. Goodall, Proceedings and Transactions of the Rhodesian Scientific Association 42:69-74, 1949: "Notes on certain human representations in Rhodesian rock art"
  8. ^ H. M. Chadwick, Origin Eng. Nation xii. 306, 1907: "The rock-carvings at Tegneby"
  9. ^ H. A. Winkler, Rock-Drawings of Southern Upper Egypt I. 26, 1938: "The discovery of rock-drawings showing boats of a type foreign to Egypt."
  10. ^ H. G. Wells, Outl. Hist. I. xvii. 126/1, 1920: From rock engravings we may deduce the theory that the desert was crossed from oasis to oasis.
  11. ^ Deutsch, Rem. 177, 1874: "The long rock-inscription of Hamamât."
  12. ^ Encycl. Relig. & Ethics I. 822/2, 1908: "The rock-paintings are either stenciled or painted in outline."
  13. ^ Man No. 119. 178/2, 1939: "On one of the stalactite pillars was found a big round stone with traces of red paint on its surface, as used in the rock-pictures"
  14. ^ G. Moore, The Lost Tribes and the Saxons of the East, 1861, Title page: "with translations of Rock-Records in India."
  15. ^ Tylor, Early Hist. Man. v. 88, 1865, "and bush art or bushmen art."
  16. ^ Trust For African Rock Art, East Africa, common terminology, "Rock-sculptures may often be symbolic boundary marks."
  17. ^ a b c d Whitley 2005, p. 3.
  18. ^ Whitley 2005. pp. 3–4.
  19. ^ Whitley 2005, p. 4.
  20. ^ Whitley 2005, pp. 4–5.
  21. ^ Whitley 2005, p. 9.
  22. ^ Whitley 2005, pp. 7–9.
  23. ^ a b Whitley 2005, p. 11.
  24. ^ a b Whitley 2005, p. 13.
  25. ^ a b c Whitley 2005, p. 14.
  26. ^ Arca 2004, p. 319.
  27. ^ "Scandinavian Society for Prehistoric Art". www.rockartscandinavia.se.
  28. ^ "NYERO & OTHER ROCK ARTSITES IN EASTERN UGANDA" (PDF).
  29. ^ Standard Encyclopaedia of Southern Africa (1973)
  30. ^ "Stone Age - Africa". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2018-10-20.
  31. ^ "Big Cave Camp | Famous Rock Art Galleries - visits to Nswatugi cave, Bambata, Silozwane cave, Inanke cave and Maholoholo cave". Big Cave. Retrieved 2018-10-20.
  32. ^ https://austria-forum.org/, Austria-Forum |. "Rock Paintings Bambata Cave (1)". Global-Geography. Retrieved 2018-10-20.
  33. ^ Choi, Charles. "Call this ancient rock carving 'little horny man'." Science on MSNBC. 22 Feb 2012. Retrieved 9 April 2012.
  34. ^ Grace Rajnovich. (1994) Reading rock art: interpreting the Indian rock paintings of the Canadian Shield. Toronto:Natural Heritage/Natural History Inc.
  35. ^ "Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka". World Heritage Site. Retrieved 2007-02-15.
  36. ^ Mathpal, Yashodhar (1984). Prehistoric Painting Of Bhimbetka. Abhinav Publications. p. 220. ISBN 9788170171935.
  37. ^ Tiwari, Shiv Kumar (2000). Riddles of Indian Rockshelter Paintings. Sarup & Sons. p. 189. ISBN 9788176250863.
  38. ^ Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka (PDF). UNESCO. 2003. p. 16.
  39. ^ Mithen, Steven (2011). After the Ice: A Global Human History, 20,000 - 5000 BC. Orion. p. 524. ISBN 9781780222592.
  40. ^ Javid, Ali; Jāvīd, ʻAlī; Javeed, Tabassum (2008). World Heritage Monuments and Related Edifices in India. Algora Publishing. p. 19. ISBN 9780875864846.
  41. ^ a b "Chapter -1 Introduction to Rock Art in India" (PDF).
  42. ^ "Archaeologist uncovers 'the world's oldest drawings'". independent.co.uk. 12 December 2016.
  43. ^ Barker, Bryce (18 June 2012). "Australia's oldest rock art discovered by USQ researcher". University of Southern Queensland. Archived from the original on 1 February 2014. Retrieved 20 January 2014.
  44. ^ Collis, Clarisa (June 2012). "Ancient artists of rock and soul". Monash University. Retrieved 20 January 2014.
  45. ^ a b Akerman, Kim; Willing, Tim (March 2009). "An ancient rock painting of a marsupial lion, Thylacoleo carnifex, from the Kimberley, Western Australia". Antiquity. Retrieved 11 December 2012.
  46. ^ "The Times Literary Supplement – TLS". timesonline.co.uk.
  47. ^ Bradshaw Foundation. "The Bradshaw Paintings – Australian Rock Art Archive". Bradshaw Foundation.
  48. ^ "Rock Heart – Australian Story". abc.net.au. 15 October 2002.
  49. ^ "Ancient rock art's colours come from microbes". BBC News. 27 December 2010.
  50. ^ Barrow, Terence (1978). Maori art of New Zealand (reprint ed.). Unesco Press. p. 70. ISBN 9789231013195. Retrieved 2018-03-06. The North Otago and South Canterbury districts of the South Island present a rich range of rock art in red and black pigments. The motifs used are mainly humans, monsters, birds, and fish, and are styles which pre-date Classic Maori traditional art.
  51. ^ McKinnon, Malcolm (29 July 2015). "Otago places - North Otago". Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 30 May 2019.
  52. ^ Whitley 2005, p. xi.
  53. ^ Whitley 2005. pp. viii, 1.
  54. ^ Whitley 2005, p. x.
  55. ^ Whitley 2005, p. viii.
  56. ^ *UNESCO World Heritage Centre (2011). "World Rock Art Archives to meet in Tanum". Retrieved May 1, 2011.
  57. ^ R., Haubt. "Rock-Art Database". www.rockartdatabase.com.
  58. ^ Haubt, R.A.; Tacon, P.S.C. (October 22, 2016). "A collaborative, ontological and information visualization model approach in a centralized rock art heritage platform". Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports. 10: 837–846. doi:10.1016/j.jasrep.2016.10.013.

References

  • Arca, Andrea (2004). "The topographical engravings of Alpine rock-art: fields, settlements and agricultural landscapes". The Figured Landscapes of Rock-Art. Cambridge University Press. pp. 318–349.
  • Devlet, Ekaterina (2001). "Rock Art and the Material Culture of Siberian and Central Asian Shamanism" (PDF). The Archaeology of Shamanism. pp. 43–54. Retrieved April 1, 2007.
  • Harmanşah, Ömür (ed) (2014), Of Rocks and Water: An Archaeology of Place, 2014, Oxbow Books, ISBN 1782976744, 9781782976745
  • Rawson, Jessica (ed). The British Museum Book of Chinese Art, 2007 (2nd edn), British Museum Press, ISBN 9780714124469
  • Schaafsma, Polly, 1980, Indian Rock Art of the Southwest, School of American Research, Santa Fe, University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque NM, ISBN 0-8263-0913-5. Scholarly text with 349 references, 32 color plates, 283 black and white "figures", 11 maps, and 2 tables.
  • Sickman, Laurence, in: Sickman L., & Soper A., The Art and Architecture of China, Pelican History of Art, 3rd ed 1971, Penguin (now Yale History of Art), LOC 70-125675
  • Whitley, David S. (2005). Introduction to Rock Art Research. Walnut Creek, California: Left Coast Press. ISBN 978-1598740004.
  • UNESCO World Heritage Centre (2011). "World Rock Art Archives to meet in Tanum". Retrieved May 1, 2011.
  • Haubt, R.A.; Tacon, P.S.C. (October 22, 2016). "A collaborative, ontological and information visualization model approach in a centralized rock art heritage platform". Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports. 10: 837–846. doi:10.1016/j.jasrep.2016.10.013.

Further reading

  • Malotki, Ekkehart and Weaver, Donald E. Jr., 2002, Stone Chisel and Yucca Brush: Colorado Plateau Rock Art, Kiva Publishing Inc., Walnut, California, ISBN 1-885772-27-0 (cloth). For the "general public"; this book has well over 200 color prints with commentary on each site where the photos were taken; the organization begins with the earliest art and goes to modern times.
  • B. B. Lal (1968). Indian Rock Paintings: Their Chronology, Technique and Preservation.
  • Rohn, Arthur H. and Ferguson, William M, 2006, Puebloan Ruins of the Southwest, University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque NM, ISBN 0-8263-3970-0 (pbk, : alk. paper). Adjunct to the primary discussion of the ruins, contains color prints of rock art at the sites, plus interpretations.
  • Zboray, András, 2005, Rock Art of the Libyan Desert, Fliegel Jezerniczky, Newbury, United Kingdom (1st Edition 2005, 2nd expanded edition 2009). An illustrated catalogue and bibliography of all known prehistoric rock art sites in the central Libyan Desert (Arkenu, Uweinat and the Gilf Kebir plateau). The second edition contains more that 20000 photographs documenting the sites. Published on DVD-ROM.

External links

Bhimbetka rock shelters

The Bhimbetka rock shelters are an archaeological site in central India that spans the prehistoric paleolithic and mesolithic periods, as well as the historic period. It exhibits the earliest traces of human life on the Indian subcontinent and evidence of Stone Age starting at the site in Acheulian times. It is located in the Raisen District in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh about 45 kilometres (28 mi) southeast of Bhopal. It is a UNESCO world heritage site that consists of seven hills and over 750 rock shelters distributed over 10 kilometres (6.2 mi). At least some of the shelters were inhabited more than 100,000 years ago. The rock shelters and caves provide evidence of, according to Encyclopædia Britannica, a "rare glimpse" into human settlement and cultural evolution from hunter-gatherers, to agriculture, and expressions of spirituality.Some of the Bhimbetka rock shelters feature prehistoric cave paintings and the earliest are about 30,000 years old. These cave paintings show themes such as animals, early evidence of dance and hunting. The Bhimbetka site has the oldest known rock art in the Indian subcontinent, as well as is one of the largest prehistoric complexes.

Bradshaw rock paintings

The Gwion Gwion paintings, Bradshaw rock paintings, Bradshaw rock art, Bradshaw figures or The Bradshaws, are terms used to describe one of the two major regional traditions of rock art found in the north-west Kimberley region of Western Australia. The identity of who painted these figures and the age of the art are contended within archaeology and amongst Australian rock art researchers. These aspects have been debated since the works were first discovered and recorded by pastoralist Joseph Bradshaw in 1891, after whom they were named. As the Kimberley is home to various Aboriginal language groups, the rock art is referred to and known by many different Aboriginal names, the most common of which are Gwion Gwion or Giro Giro. The art consists primarily of human figures ornamented with accessories such as bags, tassels and headdresses.

Cave of Swimmers

The Cave of Swimmers is a cave with ancient rock art in the mountainous Gilf Kebir plateau of the Libyan Desert section of the Sahara. It is located in the New Valley Governorate of southwest Egypt, near the border with Libya.

Cave painting

Cave paintings are a type of parietal art (which category also includes petroglyphs, or engravings),

found on the wall or ceilings of caves. The term usually implies prehistoric origin, but cave paintings can also be of recent production: In the Gabarnmung cave of northern Australia,

the oldest paintings certainly predate 28,000 years ago, while the most recent ones were made less than a century ago.The oldest known cave paintings are over 40,000 years old (art of the Upper Paleolithic), found in both the Franco-Cantabrian region in western Europe, and in the caves in the district of Maros (Sulawesi, Indonesia). The oldest type of cave paintings are hand stencils and simple geometric shapes; the oldest undisputed examples of figurative cave paintings are somewhat younger, close to 35,000 years old.

A 2018 study claimed an age of 64,000 years for the oldest examples of (non-figurative) cave art in Iberia, which would imply production by Neanderthals rather than modern humans. In November 2018, scientists reported the discovery of the oldest known figurative art painting, over 40,000 (perhaps as old as 52,000) years old, of an unknown animal, in the cave of Lubang Jeriji Saléh on the Indonesian island of Borneo.

Chugai' Pictograph Site

The Chugai' Pictograph Site is a prehistoric rock art site on the island of Rota in the Northern Mariana Islands. The rock art is located in a limestone cave on the southeastern side of the island, in the I'Chenchon Bird Sanctuary. It consists of a large panel, 185 feet (56 m) in length, of about 90 painted drawings, believed to be of late pre-contact origin. The site is accessed via a trail cut by the Japanese during the South Pacific Mandate period.The site was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1998.

Coso Rock Art District

Coso Rock Art District, containing the Big and Little Petroglyph Canyons, is a rock art site containing over 100,000 Paleo-Indian and/or Native American Petroglyphs. The Coso Range is between the Sierra Nevada and the Argus Range. Indian Wells Valley lies to the south of this location. This north-south trending range of about 400 square miles (1,000 km2) consists of rhyolitic domes and outcrops of volcanic rock. Also known as Little Petroglyph Canyon and Sand Tanks, Renegade Canyon is but one of several major canyons in the Coso Range, each hosting thousands of petroglyphs (other locations include Haiwee Springs, Dead End Canyon, and Sheep Canyon). The majority of the Coso Range images fall into one of six categories: bighorn sheep, entopic images, anthropomorphic or human-like figures (including animal-human figures known as pattern-bodied anthopomorphs), other animals, weapons & tools, and "medicine bag" images. Most of the Coso Range is on the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, where visitation is restricted, vandalism is low, and preservation is most likely. China Lake is located near the towns of China Lake and Ridgecrest, California. There are several other distinct canyons in the Coso Rock Art District besides the Big and Little Petroglyph Canyons. The most popular subjects are bighorn sheep, deer, and antelope. Big and Little Petroglyph Canyons were declared a National Historic Landmark in 1964. In 2001, they were incorporated into a larger National Historic Landmark District, called Coso Rock Art District.A November 2007 Los Angeles Times' Travel feature article includes it within a top 15 list of California places to visit. The area was also mentioned in Groupon's "10 Most Unique Autumn Festivals in the Country" as a part of the Ridgecrest Petroglyph Festival.

Indigenous Australian art

Indigenous Australian art or Australian Aboriginal art is art made by the Indigenous peoples of Australia and in collaborations between Indigenous Australians and others. It includes works in a wide range of media including painting on leaves, wood carving, rock carving, sculpting, ceremonial clothing and sand painting. This article discusses works that pre-date European colonisation as well as contemporary Indigenous Australian art by Aboriginal Australians. These have been studied in recent years and have gained much international recognition.

Khoit Tsenkher Cave Rock Art

The Khoit Tsenkher Cave Rock Paintings are found in Mankhan Sum, Khovd Province, Mongolia.

Kondoa Irangi Rock Paintings

The Kondoa Irangi Rock Paintings are a series of ancient paintings on rock shelter walls in central Tanzania. They are located approximately nine kilometres east of the main highway (T5) from Dodoma to Babati, about 20 km north of Kondoa town, in Kondoa District of Dodoma Region, Tanzania. Some of the paintings are believed by the Tanzania Antiquities Department to date back more than 50,000 years. The exact number of rock art sites in the Kondoa area is currently uncertain. However, estimates for the number of decorated rock shelters in the region range between 150 and 450. The paintings depict elongated people, animals, and hunting scenes. Tourists are asked to report to the Antiquities Department office on the highway at the village of Kolo and ask for the cave paintings guide or call 0687944506.

Laas Geel

Laas Geel (Somali: Laas Geel), also spelled Laas Gaal, are cave formations on the rural outskirts of Hargeisa, Somaliland (situated in the Woqooyi Galbeed region of the self-declared but internationally unrecognised Republic of Somaliland). They contain some of the earliest known cave paintings in the Horn of Africa. Laas Geel's rock art is estimated to date to somewhere between 9,000 and 3,000 years BC.

Mudgegonga rock shelter

The Mudgegonga rock shelter is a large rock overhang which contains over 400 Aboriginal wall paintings and stencils and evidence of prehistoric Aboriginal occupation. The site is located in north eastern Victoria near the town of Mudgegonga, and is associated with rich artefact deposits that shows occupation of the region by 3,500 years ago and may have been used several thousand years before this. It has been described as one of the richest rock art sites in Victoria.The paintings are ochre and pipeclay on rock and include the only painting of the potoroo species in Victoria. The artefact deposits associated with the shelter, which were composed predominantly of quartz, were subject to investigation by LaTobe university in the 1980s.Plans to undertake conservation works at the site resulted in controversy when Gary Murray, co-chairman of the Dhudhuroa Native Title Group, disputed claims of another Aboriginal group to make decisions about the site and lodged an application with Heritage Minister Peter Garrett to protect the site from "a threat of injury and desecration" due to assessment and restoration activities being planned by Aboriginal Affairs Victoria.

Murujuga

Murujuga, usually known as the Burrup Peninsula, is an island in the Dampier Archipelago, in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, containing the town of Dampier. Originally named Dampier Island after the English navigator William Dampier, it lies 3 km off the Pilbara coast. In 1963 the island became an artificial peninsula when it was connected to the mainland by a causeway for a road and railway. In 1979 Dampier Peninsula was renamed Burrup Peninsula after Mt Burrup, the highest peak on the island, which had been named after Henry Burrup, a Union Bank clerk murdered in 1885 at Roebourne.The region is sometimes confused with the Dampier Peninsula, 800 km to the north-east. In Ngayarda languages, including that of the indigenous people of the peninsula, the Jaburara people, murujuga meant "hip bone sticking out".

The peninsula is a unique ecological and archaeological area since it contains the world's largest and most important collection of petroglyphs – ancient Aboriginal rock carvings some claim to date back as far as the last ice age about 10,000 years ago. The collection of standing stones here is the largest in Australia with rock art petroglyphs numbering over one million, many depicting images of the now extinct thylacine (Tasmanian tiger).

The Dampier Rock Art Precinct, which covers the entire archipelago, is the subject of ongoing political debate due to historical and proposed industrial development.

Petroglyph

A petroglyph is an image created by removing part of a rock surface by incising, picking, carving, or abrading, as a form of rock art. Outside North America, scholars often use terms such as "carving", "engraving", or other descriptions of the technique to refer to such images. Petroglyphs are found worldwide, and are often associated with prehistoric peoples. The word comes from the Greek prefix petro-, from πέτρα petra meaning "stone", and γλύφω glýphō meaning "to carve", and was originally coined in French as pétroglyphe.

Another form of petroglyph, normally found in literate cultures, a rock relief or rock-cut relief is a relief sculpture carved on "living rock" such as a cliff, rather than a detached piece of stone. While these relief carvings are a category of rock art, sometimes found in conjunction with rock-cut architecture, they tend to be omitted in most works on rock art, which concentrate on engravings and paintings by prehistoric or nonliterate cultures. Some of these reliefs exploit the rock's natural properties to define an image. Rock reliefs have been made in many cultures, especially in the ancient Near East. Rock reliefs are generally fairly large, as they need to be to make an impact in the open air. Most have figures that are larger than life-size.

Stylistically, a culture's rock relief carvings relate to other types of sculpture from period concerned. Except for Hittite and Persian examples, they are generally discussed as part of the culture's sculptural practice. The vertical relief is most common, but reliefs on essentially horizontal surfaces are also found. The term relief typically excludes relief carvings inside natural or human-made caves, that are common in India. Natural rock formations made into statues or other sculpture in the round, most famously at the Great Sphinx of Giza, are also usually excluded. Reliefs on large boulders left in their natural location, like the Hittite İmamkullu relief, are likely to be included, but smaller boulders described as stele or carved orthostats.

The term petroglyph should not be confused with petrograph, which is an image drawn or painted on a rock face. Both types of image belong to the wider and more general category of rock art or parietal art. Petroforms, or patterns and shapes made by many large rocks and boulders over the ground, are also quite different. Inuksuit are also not petroglyphs, they are human-made rock forms found only in the Arctic.

Pictogram

A pictogram, also called a pictogramme, pictograph, or simply picto, and in computer usage an icon, is an ideogram that conveys its meaning through its pictorial resemblance to a physical object. Pictographs are often used in writing and graphic systems in which the characters are to a considerable extent pictorial in appearance. A pictogram may also be used in subjects such as leisure, tourism, and geography.

Pictography is a form of writing which uses representational, pictorial drawings, similarly to cuneiform and, to some extent, hieroglyphic writing, which also uses drawings as phonetic letters or determinative rhymes. Some pictograms, such as Hazards pictograms, are elements of formal languages.

Pictograph has a rather different meaning in the field of prehistoric art, including recent art by traditional societies and then means art painted on rock surfaces, as opposed to petroglyphs; the latter are carved or incised. Such images may or may not be considered pictograms in the general sense.

Prehistoric Rock-Art Site of Pala Pinta

The Prehistoric Rock-Art Site Pala Pinta (Portuguese: Abrigo rupestre da Pala Pinta) is a Paleolithic-era rock-art site, recognized for cave paintings in the Portuguese municipality of Alijó, in the civil parish of Carlão e Amieiro.

Rock Paintings of Sierra de San Francisco

The Rock Paintings of Sierra de San Francisco are prehistoric rock art pictographs found in the Sierra de San Francisco mountain range in Mulegé Municipality of the northern region of Baja California Sur state, in Mexico.

Rock art of the Iberian Mediterranean Basin

The group of over 700 sites of prehistoric Rock art of the Iberian Mediterranean Basin, also known as Levantine art, were collectively declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1998. The sites are in the eastern part of Spain and contain rock art dating to the Upper Paleolithic or (more likely) Mesolithic periods of the Stone Age. The art consists of small painted figures of humans and animals, which are the most advanced and widespread surviving from this period, certainly in Europe, and arguably in the world, at least in the earlier works. It is notable for the number of places included, the largest concentration of such art in Europe. Its name refers to the Mediterranean Basin; however, while some sites are located near the sea, many of them are inland in Aragon and Castilla–La Mancha; it is also often referred to as Levantine Art (meaning "from Eastern Spain", not the Levant region).

Sáchica

Sáchica is a municipality of Colombia situated approximately 34 km (21 mi) west of Tunja in the Ricaurte Province of the department of Boyacá. Sáchica borders Sutamarchán and Villa de Leyva in the north, in the east Chíquiza, Samacá and Ráquira in the south and in the west Ráquira and Sutamarchán. Sáchica is known as the national capital of onions.

Talagi Pictograph Cave

The Talagi Pictograph Cave is a rock art site on the island of Guam. It is located on property owned by the government of Guam within the bounds of Anderson Air Force Base on the northern part of the island near Tarague Beach. The cave contains thirteen pictographs (painted shapes) representing human figures, and a places where limestone mortar was used that is of prehistoric origin. Based on the characteristics of the figures, it is believed that they were probably the work of a single individual. It is one of a small number (fewer than ten) known rock art sites on the island.The cave was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2004.

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