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Thinking with Animals in Upper Palaeolithic Rock Art

  • Georges Sauvet (a1), Robert Layton (a2), Tilman Lenssen-Erz (a3), Paul Taçon (a4) and André Wlodarczyk (a5)...


This article develops a novel method for assessing the cultural context of rock art, and applies it to the rock art of the Upper Palaeolithic of France and Spain. The article relies on a generative approach, assuming that artists have the potential to choose which motifs to select from the repertoire or vocabulary of their artistic system, but that appropriate choices at any place are guided by the location of that site within the culturally-mediated geography of the region. Ethnographic studies of rock art depicting animal species produced in the contexts of totemism, shamanism and everyday life are used as reference points in an analytical framework, which is then applied to a number of ancient traditions.


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Cambridge Archaeological Journal
  • ISSN: 0959-7743
  • EISSN: 1474-0540
  • URL: /core/journals/cambridge-archaeological-journal
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