Crossing Frontiers

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Palaeolithic figure

TRACCE no. 7 – by Mila Simoes de Abreu

Crossing Frontiers first announcement for IRAC 1998 (ver. 1997.05.03)
UTAD (Universidade de Tras-os-Montes e Alto Douro) is the venue of the 1998 International Rock-Art Congress (IRAC 1998) which takes place in Vila Real, a charming town in the north of Portugal, from 6-12 September 1998.

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1998 International Rock-Art Congress
Universidade de Tras-os-Montes e Alto Douro
Vila Real – Portugal (Portuguese page)

6-12 September 1998

The theme, Crossing Frontiers, will bring together researchers and students that are interested in the study, conservation, and presentation of rock-art throughout the world.

The aim is to reveal and explore the latest discoveries, emerging methods and techniques so that participants can be fully up-to-date with the most recent developments.
Advances in information and communications technology are giving us novel ways of looking at rock-art that is leading us across cognitive frontiers and into the next millennium.

Preliminary Programme

  • Five days of academic papers
  • Five round tables
  • Five workshops
  • Posters
  • Slide and video sessions
  • Computer science centre
  • Book fair
  • Exhibitions
  • Artists’ gallery
  • Display of equipment and techniques
  • Visits during congress
  • Excursions before and after congress
  • Annual Meeting of IFRAO

The congress will make rooms available to participants who wish to hold complementary activities or meetings.
Individuals or organisations that wish to reserve space for encounters should contact the IRAC 1998 office as soon as possible.


  • A. World Tour: news of finds and work in progress on five continents
  • B. Science: methodology, analysis, interdisciplinary and multi-disciplinary studies (recording, photography, dating)
  • C. Future: heritage management, conservation, preservation, presentation and education
  • D. Ideas: religion, symbolism, semiotics, cognitive theory
  • E. Cyber-space: application and use of communications and information technology (imaging, virtual reality, 3D VR, networking, hardware), managing and presenting data, programming, impact of new developments

Several symposia will fall under each topic. Those interested in contributing to the congress are invited to propose symposia connected with the five topics. Symposia proposals must reach the IRAC 1998 office by December 1997.

Symposia mooted so far

  • Animals in Rock Art–Biotic Representations chaired by Thomas Wyrol – Institutum Canarium (IC – Austria)
  • Recording and Preventive Conservation, chaired by Ben K. Swartz, Jr. – American Committee to Advance the Study of Petroglyphs and Pictographs (ACASPP – USA)
  • Rock-Art and Education chaired by Dario Seglie – Centro Studi e Museo d’Arte Preistorica (CeSMAP – Italy)

Visits and excursions

During IRAC 1998 participants will have a chance to visit the Geology Museum of UTAD, the new Archaeology Museum of Vila Real and places of interest such as the Santuary of Panoias, rock-art sites of Lamelas (Ribeira de Pena) and Mao do Homem (Vila Real). Those that wish will also get an opportunity to see beautiful sights in the Nature Park of Alvao.

Excursions before and after congress

  • Great Tour of Tras-os-Montes – rock-shelters of Planalto Mirandes and Serra de Pacos, rocks of Assares and Ridevides, the Mazouco horse, rock-shelter of Fraga d’Aia, the Coa valley rock-art area and archaeological zone of Freixo Numao
  • Great Tour of Alentejo – Cave of Escoural, the notable menir and dolmen area of Evora and Reguengos
  • Douro Valley – Mazouco horse, Coa valley rock-art area and archaeological zone of Freixo Numao
  • Arronches – painted rock-shelters (Portalegre) and Tagus Valley rock-art area


There is modestly priced accommodation near university campus. Vila Real has several excellent but inexpensive hotels as well as good guest houses. There are also rooms available in various country houses.


The official languages of the Congress will be English and Portuguese. Presentations in Spanish and French will also be accepted.

Location of IRAC 1998

The congress will be held on UTAD’s Campus at Quinta dos Prados in Vila Real. The campus provides a very convivial atmosphere. Its gardens are a joy to behold and the university is quite rightly proud of them. Besides the open green spaces, there are cafes, bars, a small book shop and tennis courts. The Congress will use well equipped facilities in UTAD’s Geo-Sciences building.


UTAD was founded in March 1986, incorporating its precursor, the Instituto Universitario de Tras-os-Montes e Alto Douro. It has 6000 students that, with teaching, research and support staff, are a dynamic force in Vila Real and region of Tras-os-Montes e Alto Douro.

The Geology Department has an Archaeology Unit that was built up by the late Prof. Carlos Ervedosa. The unit’s Human Origins Group (Grupo de Antropogenese) is advancing studies about human origins and palaeontology, geology of the Quaternary, as well as prehistory and archaeology. A high priority is Rock-Art Studies in the region and throughout the world.

In January 1997, staff and students created the first www page in Portuguese about human origins and palaeontology together with information about rock-art and archaeology. To see this point your browser at

Furhter information

Mila Simoes de Abreu
IRAC 1998 (Congresso Internacional de Arte Rupestre)

Seccao de Geologia – Unidade de Arqueologia
Universidade de Tras-os-Montes e Alto Douro
Apartado 202
5001 Vila Real Codex

Ph: +351 (59) 32 01 79
Fx: +351 (59) 32 61 46


(The page is in Portuguese. An English one will be out soon)


Mila Simoes de Abreu and Ludwig Jaffe
Associacao de Arte Rupestre Portuguesa
Av. D. Jose I – n. 53
2780 Oeiras

Ph/Fx: +351 (1) 457 95 24



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