Rock art – diversity and complexity

Traditionally, the Bronze Age rock art have been seen in an agrarian perspective. Today, we see new perspectives and interpretations of this material in a context of mobility and the marine environment. To what extent could these interpretations be generalized, and how can we understand rock art that occur in different contexts as for example inland areas. Different localization testifies different uses of the landscape, despite certain similarities in design choices and motifs. Does the localization change the rock art’ meaning or significance?

Throughout most of the rock art research history there has been a focus on a dichotomy of the material, a northern and southern tradition. In some regions we are seeing an overlap between traditions, but in others we only find traces of one tradition. What does this tell about Bronze Age society, and what does this variation within different regions tell us? Is the northern – southern dichotomy a relevant research tool, or is it to bold to grasp the complexity of rock art?

We want to encourage the session participants to reflect on the complexity of the rock art. Can rock art research contribute to alternative understandings of the archaeological material and shed new light to prehistoric socities? Focusing on diversity opens for new interpretations that could contribute to a better understanding of the prehistoric art.


Session organisers

Heidrun Stebergløkken

Department of Archaeology and Cultural History, NTNU University Museum


Peter Skoglund

Department of Historical Studies, University of Gothenburg

Published Oct. 10, 2016 9:31 PM