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Rock art as an archaeological and social indicator: The neolithisation of the Iberian Peninsula

AutorVicent García, Juan Manuel ; Berrocal, María Cruz
Palabras claveIberian Peninsula
Rock art
Levantine style
Schematic style
Macroschematic style
Fecha de publicacióndic-2007
EditorAcademic Press
CitaciónJournal of Anthropological Archaeology 26 (4): 676-697 (2007)
ResumenRock art has been regarded as a second class archaeological data source. In this paper we use Levantine rock art as a case study, to show how this situation can be reversed. This rock art, found along the Mediterranean region of the Iberian Peninsula, has been considered to be typically Mesolithic due to its distinctive hunting scenes. A review of certain archaeological indicators provides new arguments about its chronology, its socio-cultural attribution, and its significance. We first deal with the chronological issue, presenting the evidence that led to the recent consideration of the Levantine style as Early Neolithic, in synchrony with two other rock art styles (Schematic and Macroschematic). We will further propose that rock art itself is a central and independent source of information to explore the historical context of the Neolithisation of Mediterranean Iberia. Its wide geographical distribution allows us to study different and complementary territories as a single entity. This contrasts with the limitations posed by the study of settlements, whose differences, at a regional scale, are usually interpreted in terms of cultural variability. If we consider rock art as a key aspect in the constitution of social landscapes, it must not be treated just as an ideological by-product of the Neolithisation, but as a key factor in understanding this historical process.
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