Articles Hierarchy

Articles Home » Adoranten 2013

Articles: Adoranten 2013

Age of the Heroes. a brief overview of Valcamonica rock-art during the Iron Age (I millennium BC) Valcamonica World Heritage by Alberto Marretta
Despite the long-lasting tradition of carving the rocks—an activity that, according to many scholars, probably spanned thousands of years—, Valcamonica rock-art reached its production peak during the Iron Age, thus offering a possible dating between the 9th cent. BC and the Roman times of mostly 80% of the whole existing rockart of the valley. The images of this period show on the other hand a huge range of styles, categories and combinations that still defy any definitive and convincing explication. Who made this images, in which occasions and for which reasons are in fact the main issues under discussions by scholars, especially because there are not yet consistent data from settlements, burials or other sites of the Iron Age that could be undeniable related to the rock-art of this period. Seeking a unique interpretation of the whole rock-art creation process is probably not the correct way to approach the problem as well, because the incredible variety of carved images can be likely explained only considering the combined action of time, space, individual and motivation. The Iron Age was in fact an era of great transformations for Northern Italy, which in one thousand years changed according to the impact of powerful socio-cultural phenomena coming especially from the Mediterranean.

Bronzes, farms and rock art. The agrarian expansion of North Norway by Flemming Kaul and Preben Rønne
In the coastal areas of Nordland, close to the Arctic Circle, there is good evidence of Bronze Age activity. As we will examine in part one of this article, even though the cultural remains are relatively few in comparison with South Scandinavia, a broad spectrum of find categories is represented, particularly around Alstahaug, in Helgeland. There are burial cairns containing grave furniture of typical Nordic Bronze Age character, votive depositions of bronze objects, and rock carvings. This second part of this article focuses in on the rock carvings located in two separate areas, the islands of Tro and Flatøy, Nordland, and Alta, in Finnmark. The ships on Tro and Flatøy range in dating across both the Early and Late Bronze Age. Over 1000km to the North, at Alta, we find a few rock carving ships from the final period of the Bronze Age. Landscape analyses have demonstrated that the rock carvings, as well as the other finds related to the Nordic Bronze Age culture, are situated close to the best arable land of today, emphasizing their agricultural context.

New Twa Art Discovery in north west Tanzania by David Coulson
There are estimated 1000 rock art sites in Tanzania and around 4 different styles of art from different periods. The best known rock art area, which probably includes some of the oldest art, is in the Kondoa-Irangi area which was inscribed in 2006 on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The World Heritage site /area has over 200 individual sites and the broader Kondoa area must have far more. There are also lesser known sites in the north west and south west of Tanzania as well as in the south east near the Mozambique border, and in the north east near Mt Kilimanjaro. One of the traditions found in Tanzania, as well as in neighboring Uganda and Kenya, is red geometric art made by Twa hunter-gatherers (Batwa). Some red, infilled animal paintings are also ascribed to the Twa. About 8 years ago TARA, the Nairobibased Trust for African Rock Art, received an email with information on rock paintings in a concession area south west of the Serengeti National Park, only about 120 km as the crow flies from Lake Victoria. The message referred to the place as a Masai painting site and attached a photograph which appeared to show a combination of geometric and animal paintings. The geometric paintings appeared reminiscent of similar patterns in paintings and engravings recorded elsewhere in East Africa and referred to there as Twa art.

Petroglyphs as Paintings. The application of digital image enhancement to the study of Årsand 1, Hordaland, Western Norway. By James Dodd
The previous article (Photogrammetric scanning of rock carvings) in this volume has explored one aspect of the exciting new possibilities for rock art documentation offered by advances in technology. The following contribution adopts a different approach, focusing on how the application of image processing software can aid the interpretation of rock art in the case of the Årsand 1 painting site, Hordaland, Western Norway. Årsand 1 consists of fifty-eight motifs painted on different rock surfaces located under a large sheltered cliff overhang, enjoying wide views over Hardangerfjord as well as glimpses of the Folgefonna glacier in the distance. Since the plan of paintings at Årsand 1 was drawn and published by Johannes Bøe in 1940, no new attempts at documentation have appeared in press. Moreover, the main foci of study have been conservation and painting technique. The site is often referenced but rarely discussed in detail. This article discusses the application of digital image enhancement to the documentation and interpretation of rock art. The potential offered by digital image enhancement to identify figures on the rock surface is outlined by describing the findings of independent fieldwork conducted during site visits to the Årsand 1 painting site, Hordaland, Western Norway, during August 2008 and September 2012.

Photogrammetric scanning of rock carvings. By Mette Rabitz
Today many rock carvings are in a poor state of preservation due to environmental and climatic changes. Sadly they will maybe fade away in the future. Therefore future scientists will not be able to study the carvings in the field, instead they will have to base their investigations on documentation. It is therefore important to document the carvings as thoroughly and realistically as possible. A problem with the most common documentation methods, such as tracing and rubbing, is that they present carvings in a flat, two-dimensional view, (2D), which means simply the length and the width. The documentation omits information such as the topography of the rock, the depth of the carvings, pecking marks and the carving techniques. Such details are very valuable and should be registered, documented and presented! These details generate a more realistic view of the carvings and the rock which they are placed upon, and by documenting this, the science of rock art can be developed and create new questions for future research. This will make it possible for future scientists to rely on documentation, which will give a better understanding and experience of the carvings since maybe they will not be able to study the carvings anymore due to erosion!

Reflection on European and Central Asian rock art in the Indo-European framework by Umberto Sansoni
The updated intersection of linguistic, genetic, mythographic and especially archaeological data is recently erasing any remaining doubt about the origin from the steppes of the original ethnic and cultural nucleus of the Indo-europeans. It is therefore possible to link the gradual thematic and symbolic evolution of rock art and draw a parallel with the indo-europeization of the different areas involved. The Euro-asian contexts, from the III to the early II millennium BC., in fact, show undeniable convergences, with the growing focus on weapons and warriors, circular shapes, some zoomorphic figures and carts, tools and structures. With all the necessary caution, these thematic characters seem to compose an extensive ideological set which occurs throughout the same time-stages and in the same areas of the great Indo-European expansion. A set that converges with what is revealed by ritual, essentially funeral, costumes of the corresponding archaeological cultures. This paper exemplifies such premises taking into consideration the symbolic value of some major rock art themes in Alpine, Nordic and Caucasian-Central Asian areas during the Bronze and Iron Age.

Style: A Strait Jacket on Hunters’ Rock Art Research? By Eva Lindgaard
Most research on the Palaeolithic cave paintings in Southern Europe has aimed at proving development of different kinds by detecting different styles. The use of style as a dating method has affected our entire view upon humans, technology and society during the Palaeolithic. Researchers have until recently emphasized their trust in style dating. With a rapidly accelerating development within radiocarbon dating of cultural layers and figure pigments, the foundation for a dating system built upon style and technological seriation is heavily contradicted. In similar ways research on the carved panels with hunters’ motifs from the end of the Stone Age in Scandinavia have been heavily influenced by the view that social development could be detected by stylistic development. Also in Scandinavia most researchers have been hesitant to discard style as the most trusted dating method. A few researchers, however, have pointed towards the need for using both shoreline and radiocarbon dating to obtain more tangible data, and see style dating as an outdated method.

The <i>Tumi</i>-Bearer of Pampa Grande, Lambayeque, Peru. By Maarten van Hoek
The Department of Lambayeque in the north of Peru is not only a paradise for the archaeologist investigating Pre-Columbian monumental structures, burial remains and mural art, it is also very rich in prehistoric rock art. The majority of those rock art sites are found in the basin of the Chancay- Reque drainage, east of the city of Chiclayo. Up to 2012 more than 24 rock art sites have been recorded in this fertile valley. Most rock art sites in this drainage, also called the Lambayeque Valley, have been comprehensively been studied by me, but one site, and one boulder in particular, deserves more attention as a detailed study of these important petroglyphs has never been published. The location of this stone, located somewhere in the greater area of Pampa Grande, will not be revealed here to avoid damage and vandalism. It notably proved that, when a similarly important stone at Cerro Saltur (see Figure 16; Map 1: Site B), located approximately 20 km WSW of the huge Huaca Fortaleza at Pampa Grande, was recorded on the internet by Elmer Fernández Gastelo in 2008, locals severely vandalised the stone, probably in 2009. Therefore the Pampa Grande petroglyphs will be described in such a way that the exact location will not be made public.

The cave paintings of Norway by Terje Norstedt
The Norwegian cave paintings form a geographically confined phenomenon. They are concentrated in the two neighbouring counties of Nord-Trøndelag and Nordland which are in the northern region of the country. At the time of writing, twelve sites containing about 170 painted figures have been documented. The Norwegian painted caves are remarkable in the sense that they are the only recorded examples of their kind in northern Europe. Located in desolate areas along the Atlantic coast, they are found in mountainous landscapes with a rugged shoreline. The consensus of opinion is that the majority of the paintings were made by hunter-gatherer-fishers during the Bronze Age (or the Early Metal Age as this period is referred to in northern Norway), and that they stayed in these caves on a shortterm basis for ritual purposes only.