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Articles: 2016

Beauty Is More Than Skin Deep. X-Ray Art Of North Australia. Including Kakadu National Park. By Paul Tacon
For at least 4000 years Australian Aboriginal artists of the Top End of the Northern Territory have been depicting creatures by showing both internal and external features of the body. This began by including empty body cavities in otherwise solid or stroke infill paintings of animals and occasionally backbones represented with a thin line through a central body cavity (Figure 1; Taçon 1987, 1989a, 1989b). Over time the concern about the insides of things grew so that when Europeans arrived in this part of Australia, in the early to mid 1800s, artists were producing elaborately detailed works on rock walls and sheets of bark that showed many organs, bones and other internal aspects of anatomy of not only animals but also human figures. These designs delineate many features of bodies, in both naturalistic and abstract ways, with some paintings akin to scientific diagrams.

Biography of the Fossum panel by Johan Ling and Ulf Bertilsson
The Fossum panel is doubtless one of the most famous rock art sites in the World Heritage of Tanum. The highly narrative performance of the images and scenes and the general composition of the entire panel have been stressed by yet many scholars over the years (Almgren 1927, Bertilsson 1987, Kaul 1998, Fredell 2003, Ling 2008). In fact, during the initial discussion with the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, to nominate Swedish carvings to the World Heritage List, it was initially considered that it could only apply to one single site in Sweden and the site in Fossum was suggested for this purpose. In retrospect, it may seem strange but the reason then was the fact that, according to UNESCO, the Swedish legislation was not strong enough to protect the larger coherent archaeological areas. This fear proved to be completely unfounded and when the Rock carvings in Tanum finally was inscribed onto the World Heritage List the area included, except the Fossum hob, more than 600 rock carvings.

Cultural Astronomy. A status of archaeoastronomy in a cultural context. By Claus Clausen
Cultural astronomy is the set of interdisciplinary fields studying the astronomical systems of current or ancient societies and cultures. The fields include e.g. archaeoastronomy (use of astronomy in prehistoric sites or sites from antiquity or even later e.g. up to medieval), historical astronomy (historic astronomical data), etnoastronomy (astronomy and its role in contemporary cultures), the history of astronomy and the history of astrology (difference between astronomy and astrology). Sometimes archaeoastronomy is combined with other disciplines as archaeology or archaeotopography, even genetics appear now and then. I just finished my PhD in cultural astronomy and I would like give the background and line up the possibilities by working interdisciplinary in the field of cultural astronomy. The field is rather complex and do not have sharped defined boundaries and is still developing in¬cluding more and more disciplines. My latest article in Adoranten, ‘Neolithic Cosmology?’ Adoranten 2014, (Clausen, 2015) is an example of a work in cultural astronomy. The original main idea of the discipline of archaeoastronomy is to combine the two topics: astronomy and archaeology. In this way archaeoastronomy becomes an inter¬disciplinary discipline or topic.

Enlightening a rock art masterpiece. New research on Seradina I Rock 12 (Valcamonica) by Alberto Marretta
The area of Seradina is undoubtedly one of the most important rock art sites in central Valcamonica and is well known since the start of research in the area. It occupies the lowest part of the mountain side raising west of Capo di Ponte and covers 11,5 hectares of rocky landscape and sparse wood, since 2005 partially included in the Archaeological Park of Seradina-Bedolina. Among the 163 carved rocks of the park the big rock n. 12 stands out not only as the richest concentration of rock art inside the park but also as the largest decorated surface of the western side in Central Valcamonica and one of the biggest rocks in the whole valley. “Discovered” in the early ’30s (Battaglia 1932), the Seradina area was then divided by Anati in different sub-areas (Seradina I, II, III) with independent numbering of the rocks, abandoning the traditional site names that had already been identified by previous scholars. The sub-area known as Seradina I comprises the northern part of Seradina and is in turn organized into two distinct sectors: Seradina I Corno and Seradina I Ronco Felappi.

Petroglyphs in the Syunik Highlands (Armenia). Mapping (pre-)historic traces. By Franziska Knoll
Formed by glacial and volcanic activity, the high steppe in south-eastern Armenia, close to the border with Nagorno-Karabakh, is certainly one of the richest rock-art regions in the country, if not the Lesser Caucasus. A team of Armenian and German archaeologists and ge¬ologists investigated three petroglyph areas measuring more than two square kilometres in total. For the first time all the features were recorded: the landscape and its genesis as well as anthropogenic impacts and traces, including rock art.
This paper aims to present an idea of the seasonal prehistoric use of this harsh landscape, and at the same time to provide an insight into the ongoing analysis of spatial and archaeo¬logical data.
Initiated in 2012, the German-Armenian documentation project opened up several new, extended petroglyph areas in the Syunik highlands, which form part of the Lesser Caucasus. This rock-art region was not unknown before, but had never been investigated extensively until now. The high-altitude steppe in south-eastern Ar¬menia was first explored by archaeologists and ethnologists of the National Academy of Science in Yerevan in the late 1960s.

Recent finds of Neolithic miniature rock art on the island of Bornholm – including topographic motifs. By Flemming Kaul, Jens Andresen and Michael S. Thorsen
It would appear that present-day Denmark, and adjacent parts of South Scandinavia, contain the highest density of megalithic tombs, dolmens and passage graves, built between 3500 and 3100 BC. Denmark has around 2700 surviving dolmens and pas¬sage graves. This figure is estimated to be a tenth of the original number, and, in some areas, may be a conservative estimate. Approximately 7000 mega¬lithic tombs have been recorded. By comparison, just over 1450 are registered in Ireland. Considering this huge megalithic activ¬ity, one could perhaps expect megalithic art in South Scandinavia, since so many of the other areas of Western Europe that are rich in megalithic tombs exhibit decoration on the kerb stones, and within the cham¬bers. But this is not the case; decorations on megalithic tombs are virtually absent, though it should be noted that when rock art is present, it should be seen as a reflec¬tion of secondary activities belonging to the Bronze Age. However, it cannot be excluded that a small number of cup-marks on the stones of the megalithic tombs were pecked at an earlier time, in connection with both the early use of the tombs and as well as within the Funnel Beaker Culture.

Scouts, pioneering farmers and indigenous hunter-gatherers. New theoretical discourses and interpretations of the neolithisation process in South Scandinavia .... By Lasse Sørensen
The purpose of this article is to discuss how, when and why agrarian societies spread from Central Europe to South Scandinavia during the late 5th and early 4th millennium BC, as no consensus has been reached. New theoretical approaches combined with investigations of with key artifacts is examined in order to discuss and present a new hypothesis of the neolithisation process in South Scandinavia.
The reasons for the adoption of agrarian practices in South Scandinavia can be narrowed down to four lines of argumenta¬tion, concentrating on population growth, resource availability caused by climate changes and social changes within societies, or a combination of all three (Sørensen, 2014). However, researchers tend to prefer one explanation over another, but currently no dominant reason is preferred. The perception of who were the primary carriers of agrarian knowledge and practices also varies with each of the proposed hypotheses. These hypothesis has, in general terms, concentrated on; migrationism, indigenism and integrationism.

Shaman - Hunter – Deer. By Nataliia Mykhailova
The cult of the deer had a very important significance in the ideology of the primeval peo¬ples of Eurasian forest zones. This cult included myths and rituals connected with the wor¬ship of a deer or man-deer; the ancestor of people and deer. The most important evidence supporting a deer cult in traditional societies are the totemistic myths connected with the reproduction of deer, and hunting magic rituals. These rituals were performed, above all, by shamans. The attributes of shamans: bow and arrows, deer skin and crowns of deer antlers all point to the connection of shamanism with the activities of hunters. There is consider¬able archaeological evidence for the existence of shamans in prehistoric deer hunting socie¬ties. Shamanism is one of the oldest forms of religious thinking and very popular among the investigators of both contemporary tra¬ditional societies and archaeologists alike. The phenomenon of Shamanism, especially “ecstatic technique” – the important fea¬ture of this religious form, is widespread across Central and Northern Asia, especially, within Siberia. Soviet investigations over 20-30 years during the 20th century allow us to study this phenomenon. By revisiting this rich ethnological material, we can examine the key underlying principles that have existed for thousands years, and compare them with archaeological material. It is pos¬sible to trace the most ancient evidence for shamanism from within the Late Palaeo¬lithic, and to follow its development within the Mesolithic-Neolithic periods of Eurasia.