Rock art as process
Iberian Late Bronze Age ‘warrior’ stelae in-the-making
in Images in the making
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Traditionally, formal approaches to rock art, and particularly petroglyphs, were focused on meaning and representation. Rock art images and panels were held as finished projects, as static representations of symbolic frameworks, while their material dimension or temporality were overlooked. This chapter illustrates how rock art is co-constituted through the dynamic interplay of different entities, including people, tools and the ever-changing surface of rocks. Rock ‘panels’ are not passive repositories of human carving activities but do actually play a significant role in shaping rock art production, as well as the skill and knowledge of the engraver(s). Furthermore, petroglyphs were meant not for mere contemplation but also – and perhaps mainly – to be engaged with, as the complex biographies of some panels reveal. Ultimately, the chapter argues that activities and materials involved in rock art making may have held as much significance as the images produced, and that rock art may be considered as an open-ended process. These ideas are illustrated through the results of recent research on the so-called ‘warrior’ stelae, part of what researchers identify as a fairly standardised tradition found in Iberia, that has been dated to the Late Bronze Age.

Images in the making

Art, process, archaeology


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