Connectivity and the making of Atlantic Rock Art
in Images in the making
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Cup-and-rings, cup-marks, penannulars and wavy lines are some of the main motifs of Atlantic Rock Art’s iconography. These symbols were extensively carved, during the Neolithic and Early Bronze Ages, in many regions across Western Europe, including Britain, Ireland, Portugal and Spain. The homogeneous morphology of the imagery was identified by a few authors in the 1950s, arguing for a common origin of the tradition, a suggestion never systematically assessed. This chapter discusses the results of a research project intended to investigate the unity of Atlantic Rock Art in western Europe, through a multi-scalar and interdisciplinary methodology. It provided an interesting insight into the making process and Atlantic Art’s chaîne operatoire. The study demonstrated that there are many ways of achieving a similar visual result and that many of these techniques and other particularities of the designs are present simultaneously in distant regions. Furthermore, it argued that only a process of intentional teaching could explain the wide distribution of the carvings. The rock art of the regions of the Machars Peninsula (Scotland) and Iveragh Peninsula (Co. Kerry, Ireland) was studied in depth. Their similarities and differences demonstrated that they maintained a strong connection with each other, but also regional personalities.

Images in the making

Art, process, archaeology

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