Great Rock of Naquane, digital practices

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Naquane vector

Naquane vector

[CAA 2015 – session 3C abstract]

Like archaeology in general, rock art studies need to record, study and share data: a large set of electronic instruments – for graphics and for the data analysis – are to be intended as a fundamental tool box for the careful and up-to-date rock art archaeologist…

by Andrea ARCÀ





CAA2015_9043rd International Conference on Computer Applications
and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology (CAA 2015)

Session 3C: Computer and rock art studies:
data collection, interpretation and communication

[March 31 2015, Siena] – abstract


Digital practices for the study of the Great Rock
of the Naquane National Park, Valcamonica – Italy:
from graphic rendering to figure cataloguing

Concerning rock art, or better rupestrian archaeology, studying engraved rocks is like an archaeological digging: a carved rock panel corresponds to a site, its figures to archaeological finds; at the same time the sequence of the engraving phases is to be intended as an archaeological stratigraphy. For these reasons each engraved rock must be recorded with the greatest possible accuracy. In doing this, computer software is an indispensable working tool.

The Great Rock of Naquane National Park (click to enlarge)

The Great Rock of Naquane National Park (click to enlarge)

From the graphic side, the need to obtain a detailed reproduction of figures and superimpositions may greatly benefit, like in cartography, of vector drawing software. The same goes for editing and publication: the final output of tracings, plates and tables should be managed in a graphically professional manner. From the analytic side, the necessity to deduce for each petroglyphic complex the taxonomy of its iconographic items, to define and count them and their relations, may lead to the compilation of a specific software, in order to produce detailed stats and listings, as well as a catalogue of figures.

The vector rendering of the Great Rock of Naquane tracing (click to enlarge)

The vector rendering of the Great Rock of Naquane tracing

This is the case of the study – performed by the author and which will be illustrated in this communication – of the Great Rock of the Naquane National Park in Valcamonica (Italy); it’s one of the most important prehistoric figurative palimpsest of the entire alpine rock art, where more than two thousands prehistoric figures are stored. Nearly one hundred square meters of tracings of the engraved surface have been produced, digitally acquired and drawn as vectors.

A dedicated software was compiled, in order to store and to count all the qualitative and quantitative data of the engraved figures, such as dimensions, morphology, relations, chronology an so on. Figures records are compiled on the base of the final rendering of the tracings; once completed the job, listings, stats and catalogue are produced in a few seconds in html format, including textual data, drawings and pictures, ready to be published online or re-worked for a printed book.

RAD

RAD-Rock Art database, the 32bits porting (from Clipper to Harbour; click to enlarge)

Like archaeology in general, rock art studies need to publish and share data: as demonstrated by this study, a large set of electronic instruments – for graphics and for the data analysis – are to be intended now as a fundamental tool box for the careful and up-to-date rock art archaeologist.

Andrea ARCÀ
– Pisa University, Dottorato in Scienze dell’Antichità e Archeologia;
– IIPP, Italiano Institute of Prehistory and Proto-history;
Footsteps of Man archaeological society

 


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