Archive for Academics

Feline Petroglyphs in the Majes Valley, Peru

The Majes Valley of southern Peru is well-known for its enormous collection of petroglyphs. A significant diversity of animal species has been depicted on the relatively soft volcanic rocks of those sites. Images of felines are relatively scarce in the Majes Valley, yet they are unexpectedly numerous in absolute terms in the Central Majes Valley. In this study the image of the Majes feline and its graphical anomalies will be discussed, as well as the unexpected distribution pattern of feline imagery in the Majes Valley.

By Maarten van Hoek

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New “Carcancha” Petroglyphs in Arequipa, Peru

This paper presents the description of two new sites in Majes, Peru, both featuring an example of a skeleton-like petroglyph that may spiritually be linked with the Sacred Mountain of Coropuna. The documentation of those two new sites thus reveals new information about the symbolic spatial organization and ritual functions of the “Death Valley of the Andes”. It is especially hypothesized here that the specific setting of those two new sites may indicate a physical “Road to Coropuna”.

 By Maarten van Hoek Read more

False Information Concerning Majes Rock Art, Peru

Scientific publications should always be reliable. The content may never be incorrect or misleading. This also goes for publications regarding rock art, whether by amateurs or by academics. This short paper deals with two photographs of petroglyphs from the Majes Valley, southern Peru, and the conclusions based upon those illustrations published by two academics from the USA. Regrettably, both the photos and the conclusions are unambiguously incorrect.

By Maarten van Hoek

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Les cavaliers dans l’art rupestre. Le cas du Maroc

Foum Chenna, Maroc

Dans tous les pays du Maghreb et du Sahara, en plein air ou sous abri, on peut rencontrer une petite figure, gravée ou peinte, connue dans la littérature spécialisée ou de divulgation sous l’appellation de cavalier “libyco-berbère”. Puisque cette image est très répandue, il semble qu’elle n’ait pas de secret et que du cavalier tout soit connu : son armement, le harnais de sa monture, jusqu’à son rôle dans la société de l’époque. Rien de plus faux. Au Maroc, nous pouvons observer combien le monde des cavaliers était diversifié en visitant les deux gisements principaux : le site de Foum Chenna dans la vallée du Draa (Maroc méridional) et le plateau aux pieds du Jebel Rat, dans le Haut Atlas central, le premier abritant 2550 gravures, le deuxième 1800 dont 800 appartiennent à la phase des cavaliers (pdf disponible).

par Alessandra BRAVIN Read more

Naquane, Valcamonica, the Great Rock

NAQ1 deer figure

(October 9, 2020, European Day of Rock Art). With its 104 engraved rocks, the National Rock Art Park of Naquane is the main archaeological site of Valcamonica and one of the most important European rock art sites. The best-known rock is the n. 1, called the Great Rock for its size; more than two thousand figures have been engraved over its surface: deer hunting scenes, acrobatic riders, sword duels, women with hands up, wooden barns, ducks, geese and chickens, the mysterious palettes … a virtual tour allow to discover it, to enjoy the panorama, to fly over its engraved figures looking at ultra high-res pictures, tracings and 3D models (PDF available).

by Andrea ARCÀ Read more

Naquane, Valcamonica, la Grande Roccia

NAQ1, settore P

(9 ottobre 2020, Giornata Europea dell’Arte Rupestre). Con le sue 104 rocce incise, il Parco Nazionale delle Incisioni Rupestri di Naquane costituisce il principale sito archeologico della Valcamonica e uno dei più importanti complessi europei di arte rupestre. La roccia più conosciuta è la n. 1, nota anche come Grande Roccia per le sue dimensioni; sulla sua superficie sono state incise più di 2mila figure: scene di caccia al cervo, di cavalcatura acrobatica, duelli alla spada, donne a braccia levate, granai di legno, oche, papere e galline, le misteriose palette …  un tour virtuale permette di scoprirla, di godere della vista del panorama, di sorvolare le sue figure incise osservando  riprese fotografiche, rilievi iconografici e modelli 3D ad altissima risoluzione (PDF disponibile).

di Andrea ARCÀ Read more

Defecating Elephants in Messak Rock Art – An Anomaly?

In this paper I discuss the graphical displays of a natural bodily function that is, although – from top to bottom – normal in the natural world, very rare in rock art. It concerns images of defecating elephants, which – enigmatically – occur well above average in the Messak-Tadrart region of the Central Sahara. It will be attempted to explain this anomaly (PDF available).

By Maarten van Hoek

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Enfrentando los dibujos… ¡otra vez! (Perú)

With great interest I have watched the YouTube Video called: Charla Rupestre: Los Petroglifos de Chillihuay. Arequipa, Perú by Maritza Rodríguez Cerrón and Daniel Chumpitaz Llerena (21 August 2020), two leading Peruvian archaeologists who have intensively surveyed the important rock art site of Chillihuay in southern Peru. However, a couple of those drawings in their 2014-paper drew my attention, as they proved to be incorrect  (PDF available).

by Maarten van Hoek – rockart Read more

The Three Rivers 3D Masks

In several cases rock art manufacturers were intrigued by natural rock features such as holes and cracks. This paper deals mainly with rock art images of masks that are folded across two rock panels creating 3D masks. In particular the Mogollon 3D masks of Three Rivers in New Mexico, USA, will be discussed. Also the puzzling anomaly regarding the distribution of Mogollon 3D masks and Rio Grande Style 3D masks will be dealt with. Finally, it will be attempted to offer an explanation for the enigmatic 3D masks (PDF available).

By Maarten van Hoek

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A ‘Unique’ Petroglyph Scene in Southern Morocco

Mating scenes involving mammals of the same species are rather rare in global rock art, but surprisingly fighting scenes are even more extraordinary. This study discusses a specific petroglyph panel in the south of Morocco where – in my opinion uniquely – a fighting and a mating scene was recorded by us in 2019. This panel is analysed and put into a wider context.

By Maarten van Hoek

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The Rock Art of El Vagón – Moche Drainage, Peru


Despite increasing interest in inventorying of the rock art in the northern coastal area of Peru, only very little has been published by Peruvian scholars. In fact, several scholars said to publish inventories of – for example, Palamenco in Ancash and even of whole departments such as La Libertad – but nothing happens. This interim inventory about El Vagón (La Libertad) hopes to contribute to the digital safeguarding of important rock art that runs the risk to be vandalised or even destroyed.

By Maarten van Hoek

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Enigmatic Configurations in Arequipa Rock Art, Peru

The rock art of Arequipa (southern Peru) is characterised by several idiosyncratic images, like ‘Dancers’. However, also rather simple elements form rare and uncommon configurations that are composed of grooves, arcs of dots and crosses that are hovering over or are emanating from zoomorphic petroglyphs, yet intimately associated. Similar configurations prove to be very rare in global rock art.

By Maarten van Hoek Read more

Cuevas con arte rupestre Paleolítico en Cantabria

Cantabria posee más de 70 cuevas con arte rupestre
paleolítico, erigiéndose como una de las regiones con mayor
concentración de conjuntos rupestres paleolíticos en Europa.
Su importancia radica en:
– la cantidad de conjuntos,
– la diversidad de técnicas, temática y estilística,
– la concentración de imágenes, antigüedad y continuidad en el tiempo,
– la calidad y excelente estado de conservación.

by Daniel GARRIDO PIMENTEL [i] Read more

The Incomplete Versus The Unfinished

Only the manufacturer of a rock art image could reliably have informed us whether a rock art image is unfinished or whether it is incomplete. Unfortunately informed knowledge is often completely unavailable. Then only the image and its graphical and cultural context are available to possibly separate the unfinished from the incomplete. Additionally, the incomplete image may even include something invisible. To address these issues I will use the rich rock art repertoire of the Desert Andes, focussing mainly on Toro Muerto and Miculla, two enormous rock art sites in the south of Peru.

By Maarten van Hoek

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Calling Cards: a New Plains Rock Art Site Type

Calling Card rock art sites, drawn by war parties in enemy territory to taunt their adversaries by illustrating deeds executed against them, are a newly identified site type on the northern Plains of North America. One such site is Cheval Bonnet, a small petroglyph in Northern Montana. Containing coup counting and horse raiding narratives from the early 1800s, analysis of these images shows that most of the petroglyphs can be identified as Crow drawings, even though they are carved in the heart of Historic Blackfeet tribal territory. Once this site was identified as a calling card petroglyph, I was able to identify three others elsewhere on the northern Plains (PDF available).

by James D. KEYSER Read more

The Cupules of the Imaoun Complex, Southern Morocco

In the area just south of the Anti-Atlas numerous rock art sites have been recorded. However, there are remarkably few rock art panels with cupules in that area. This study describes a surprisingly high number of cupule panels in the Imaoun area, north of the town of Akka in southern Morocco, which represents a true anomaly in this respect.

By Maarten van Hoek

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The Ranaldi Shelter in Basilicata (Italy)

The Ranaldi Shelter at the Serra Pisconi site takes its name from its discoverer, Francesco Ranaldi, an archaeologist and director of the Potenza Provincial Archaeological Museum from 1954 to 1988. It is possible to reach the site within the Reserve via a comfortable path. An excellent open-air museum has been created, making access easy after a pleasant walk of about twenty minutes.  The chronological and interpretive frame of the Ranaldi Shelter rock paintings follows two distinct paths: on one hand, we have a Mesolithic naturalistic depiction of a herd of deer in their wood, on the other, the most likely, a schematic Neolithic hunting scene with the persistence of more ancient traditions (PDF available).

by Andrea ARCÀ, Oriana BOZZARELLI Read more

The Saluting Anthropomorph in the Rock Art of the Americas

Although in general complex biomorphic figures in rock art are not suitable to demonstrate diffusion, there is one idiosyncratic anthropomorphic figure the in rock art repertoire of the Americas, which, although it is very rare, has a remarkably wide distribution that might indicate long-distance diffusion. I have labelled this icon the Saluting Anthropomorph. See the UPDATE at the end of the paper.

 By Maarten van Hoek Read more