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Making Scenes: Global Perspectives on Scenes in Rock Art

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Making Scenes

Global Perspectives on Scenes in Rock Art

Edited by Iain Davidson and April Nowell

352 pages, large format 8.5in x 11in, 135 illus., index

ISBN  978-1-78920-920-4 $199.00/£148.00 / Hb / Published (April 2021)

eISBN 978-1-78920-921-1 eBook

View CartYour country: - edit Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format)Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


“The volume’s strength is in the breadth and diversity of the contributions that illustrate the numerous approaches being taken to this analytical and interpretive problem. It will be useful for all rock art researchers concerned with interpretation, but also with documentation. Without some understanding of the potential existence of scenes, even the question of tabulating motifs becomes problematic: are the various motifs on a panel individual symbols or are they some combination of a single, symbolic representation? The answer will almost certainly vary from case to case but the many studies in this monograph can provide ideas for how best to resolve this problem.” • Antiquity

“[this is] the first coherent and comparative collection of papers to address the subject of scenes in rock art and is therefore an important addition to our understanding of not just early artmaking but also of images that illustrate a long history of humans interacting and performing in coherent groups.” • Australian Archaeology

“Any reader interested in the question “what makes a scene in rock art?” will find a wonderful array of answers in this book, most of them built from sophisticated theoretical frameworks and applied to worldwide case studies via the use of well-devised and relevant methods.
” • Danae Fiore, Universidad de Buenos Aires


Dating back to at least 50,000 years ago, rock art is one of the oldest forms of human symbolic expression. Geographically, it spans all the continents on Earth. Scenes are common in some rock art, and recent work suggests that there are some hints of expression that looks like some of the conventions of western scenic art. In this unique volume examining the nature of scenes in rock art, researchers examine what defines a scene, what are the necessary elements of a scene, and what can the evolutionary history tell us about storytelling, sequential memory, and cognitive evolution among ancient and living cultures?

Iain Davidson was appointed at the University of New England in 1974 and was awarded a Personal Chair in 1997.  He was appointed Emeritus in 2008 and took up the Visiting Chair of Australian Studies at Harvard University for 2008–9.  Iain has worked on Spanish Upper Palaeolithic (including Palaeolithic Art), archaeology and ethnography of Northwest Queensland, Australian rock art, archaeology and heritage, colonization of Sahul, language origins, and cognitive evolution.

April Nowell is a Palaeolithic archaeologist and Professor of Anthropology at the University of Victoria. She specializes in the origins of art, language, and other symbolic behavior, in the emergence of the modern mind and in the growth and development of Neandertal and early modern human children.

Subject: Archaeology


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