Archive for Interpretation and semiotics

Commenting on Rozwadowski and Wołoszyn

This paper reviews the publication by academic archaeologists, Andrzej Rozwadowski and Janusz Z. Wołoszyn, in which they suggest that zigzag petroglyphs at Toro Muerto in the Majes Valley of southern Peru – constituting the most important rock art site in the Desert Andes of South America – could be representations of songs. In my paper I question a number of their suggestions and statements by trying to put the whole issue in a more appropriate context. I cannot refute their theory, but my objections makes it unlikely (though not impossible) that Toro Muerto zigzags indeed represent songs.

By Maarten van Hoek

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Animated Abstracts in Majes Rock Art

This paper is one of a series of studies that investigates the rock art of the Majes Rock Art Style (MRAS) in southern Peru. This time I focus on petroglyphs of long, pecked stripes that have been animated by the prehistoric Majes People. I now argue that those Animated Stripes and many other typical MRAS images (discussed earlier by me; see my bibliography), including another icon (the “Majes Spitter”, which is the subject of my next study) created the Toro Muerto Anomaly, which – unfortunately – is either unknown or neglected by archaeologists busy in the Majes Valley.

By Maarten van Hoek

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‘Petroglifos’ Aviformes Tridimensionales (Perú)

This study discusses some rare instances of biomorphic rock formations that also bear petroglyphs, which, in some cases enhance the biomorphic character of the rock. The focus in this study is on the Sacred Sitting Bird at Cerro La Puntilla in northern Peru.

Este estudio discute algunos casos raros de formaciones rocosas biomórficas que también tienen petroglifos, que, en algunos casos, mejoran el carácter biomórfico de la roca. El enfoque en este estudio está en el Ave Sagrado Sentado en Cerro La Puntilla en el norte de Perú.

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Facies locorum – paesaggi e arte rupestre

Valcamonica, la Concarena

Valcamonica, la Concarena

La densità e la varietà delle incisioni presenti sulle rocce, che per un lungo tratto della valle degradano verso l’alveo del fiume Oglio che dai ghiacciai dell’Adamello e dalle molte valli laterali convoglia le acque verso il lago d’Iseo, fanno della Valcamonica un caso esemplare per lo studio dei processi di creazione di un paesaggio. Proprio il carattere più evidente di gran parte del patrimonio figurativo rupestre, l’inamovibilità dai luoghi in cui esso è stato istoriato, solleva una questione che tocca in profondità la nozione di paesaggio.

by Giacomo CAMURI

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Étude sur les sculptures préhistoriques (Blanc 1878)


Blanc 1878

TRACCE free e-books

Blanc E., 1878. Étude sur les sculptures préhistoriques du Val d’Enfer près des Lacs des Merveilles, pp. 72-87, 1 pl. h.t.
| full text-image PDF (from Gallica – BnF, public domain) | French

[editor’s note: in this paper, the author, a librarian from Nice, supports the idea that the engravings were the result of the cult of some malevolent deity, terrifying generator of lightning and thunder]

by Edmond Blanc

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Iscrizioni simboliche, Lago delle Meraviglie (Prato 1884)


1884, CAI logo

TRACCE free e-books

Prato A. F. 1884. Sulle iscrizioni simboliche del Lago delle Meraviglie, Rivista Alpina Italiana, Periodico mensile del Club Alpino Italiano, 9, 30 settembre 1884, pp. 97-98.
| full text-image PDF (from TRACCE scan-OCR, public domain) | Italian

[editor’s note: in this short paper, published in the Italian Alpine Club review, the author suggests that the Marvels Lakes engravings where made to celebrate hunters with their preys, who died in this area]

by A. Filippo PRATO

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Topografiche: culture e colture, potere e poderi…

Fontanalba (Mt. Bego)

Topographic engravings: cultivations and cultures, power and holdings: the topographic engravings must be registered in the history of the topography as the oldest zenithal representations of the western and middle-eastern world. Regarding the agriculture history they testify the development of the cultivation techniques, from the hoe to the plough… Abstract of the communication presented at the International Conference Stone Maps, June 2012, Capo di Ponte (Valcamonica – I)

by A. Arcà

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Mappe di Pietra – Stone Maps

Stone Maps

Convegno Internazionale, 14-15-16 Giugno 2012, Capo di Ponte, Cittàdella Cultura (BS, Valcamonica – I).

International Conference, 14th-16th June 2012, Capo di Ponte, Cittàdella Cultura (Valcamonica – I).

by Alberto Marretta, Craig Alexander, Angelo Martinotti

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The strange case of snow-circles and cup-and-rings


A contemporary land-art performance curiously produces the same patterns engraved on prehistoric petroglyphs. Maybe a relationship with the landscape, real or symbolical, should be considered? Here the voices of Sonja Hinrichsen, the artist, and of Andrea Arcà, the archaeologist. The debate is open.

by Andrea Arcà and Sonja Hinrichsen

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“Praying figures” in Valcamonica rock art

In Valle r. 4

TRACCE open access papers

Arcà Andrea, 2001.
Chronology and interpretation of the “Praying figures” in Valcamonica rock-art. In: Archeologia e arte rupestre: l’Europa – le Alpi – la Valcamonica, secondo convegno internazionale di archeologia rupestre. Atti del Convegno di studi, 2-5 ottobre 1997, Darfo Boario terme, Milano, 2001, pp. 185-198

| abstract and full text-image inline PDF | English, Italian
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Following Arianna’s Thread Symbolic Figures

Ossimo 9, Sun God

TRACCE open access papers

Fossati Angelo Eugenio, 2007.
Following Arianna’s Thread Symbolic Figures at Female Rock Art Sites at Naquane and In Valle, Valcamonica, Italy, in Nash G., Children G., 2008 (ed.), The Archaeology of Semiotics and the Social Order of Things, BAR International Series 1833, pp. 31-44.
| abstract and full text-image inline PDF | English

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How do we recognise rock art?

Aboriginal engraving

This paper was stimulated by an on-line discussion with Andrea Arcà (Case example 4: figurative and non-figurative below) about a need for archaeologists to treat figurative and non-figurative rock art differently.

by † John Clegg

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