Weapons and Tools in Rock Art: A World Perspective [Hardback]

Ana M. S. Bettencourt (Editor); Manuel Santos-Estévez (Editor); Hugo Aluai Sampaio (Editor)

ISBN: 9781789254907 | Published by: Oxbow Books | Year of Publication: 2021 | Language: English 208p, H280 x W216 (mm) b/w and colour

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Weapons and Tools in Rock Art


Weapons and tools are frequently found depicted in rock art in many parts of the globe and different periods and in varying social contexts. This collection of papers by leading rock art specialists examines the subjective and metaphorical value of weapons and tools in art, the actions that created them, and their contexts. It also takes into account that such representations incorporate and transmit some kind of understanding about the world and the relationship between objects and humans. Contributors analyse objects and weapons as status symbols, as evidences of cultural contacts, as ideological devices, etc. Divided into regional sections which, for once, do not focus on Scandinavia, chapters deal with the representations of weapons and certain kinds of tools (such as axes and sickles) in different prehistoric, protohistoric and traditional community contexts all over the world. Attention focuses on rock art, but also looks at stelae and statue-menhirs, as well as other kinds of ‘container’ or vehicle for this kind of depiction.

The major concern is to discuss the possible meanings of these embodied signs in different areas and periods, since meanings are permeable both to time and space. Papers either centre their attention in broader approaches based on a specific area, region or people, or focus on particular case studies.

Table of Contents

List of contributors
1. Introduction: depiction of weapons and tools in rock art as ambivalent symbols in time and space
Ana M. S. Bettencourt, Manuel Santos-Estévez, Hugo Aluai Sampaio
Part 1. The Iconographic Approach
2. The picturing of weapons, tools and other objects at Australian stencilled and painted rock art sites
Patricia Dobrez
3. Weapons, tools, and objects: material culture systems in Africa rock art
Augustin F. C. Holl / Gao Chang
4.  The representations of weapons in the rock art of Tunisia
Jaâfar Ben Nasr
5.  Weaponry in Levantine Rock Art: a general view from the Maestrazgo region (Spain)
Manuel Bea and Inés Domingo
6. The image of tools and the metaphor for life: a case study in Kosovo
Shemsi Krasniqi
7. Warriors and weapons - engraved motifs in the Early Bronze Age rock art in Sweden
Ulf Bertilsson
Part 2. The Contextual Approach
8. Megaliths and weapons’ representations. A view of the birth of Iberian warrior images
Rosa Barroso-Bermejo, Primitiva Bueno-Ramírez and Rodrigo de Balbín-Behrmann
9.  The parade of weapons. Ritual landscape in Late Prehistory in the Northwest Iberian Peninsula
Manuel Santos-Estévez
10. West Iberian Bronze Age halberds in rock art sites: several ontological considerations
Ana M. S. Bettencourt
Part 3. The Ethnographic and Historical Approach
11. Ritual and symbolic significance of weapons in western North American rock art
David S. Whitley
12. Weapons and rock art engravings, a case study of Recuay filiation in the Queneto site, Viru valley, Peru
Daniel Seuart Castillo Benítez and María Susana Barrau
13. Painted for war: rock art depictions of archers with arrow headdresses in the Eastern Cape, South Africa
Brent Sinclair-Thomson
14. Horsemen’s weaponry in rock art of Jebel Rat (High Atlas, Morocco). Signs of a social elite
Alessandra Bravin
15. Ancient rites as evidenced in the representation of weapons and tools in a rock art tradition in northern Greece
Stella Pilavaki

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