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Evergreen Dazed
Evergreen Dazed
1831 posts

A quick sketch
Sep 10, 2012, 22:48
In the latest edition of British Archaeology (digital subscriprion, get me eh) there's a feature on Rock Art and the findings from recent excavations at a couple of sites in Scotland. Part of the feature concerns quartz stones found near the panels, which are thought to have been used to create the motifs.

Something that surprised me was learning that experiments using similar quartz stones found that it took between only half an hour and an hour and a half to create simple motifs.

Given this relatively short amount of time (relative to, say, hauling a rock 5 miles and standing it upright) I would have thought we might expect to see much more elaborate and physically larger designs on rock panels.
This leads me to think the motifs were kept deliberately 'minimal', as if people were developing the most efficient way of communicating information, important information which needed to remain visible, but with the least possible effort.

I haven't read much concerning theories for British rock art and I was wondering if any work has been carried out to construct a 'language' of sorts from the motifs, perhaps attempting to correlate recurring motifs with recurring features in the landscape, sources of water etc and if so have there been any particular ideas which seem to fit?
Is there any reason to think the motifs were created to impart information to others?
Sanctuary
Sanctuary
4647 posts

Re: A quick sketch
Sep 10, 2012, 23:04
Evergreen Dazed wrote:
In the latest edition of British Archaeology (digital subscriprion, get me eh) there's a feature on Rock Art and the findings from recent excavations at a couple of sites in Scotland. Part of the feature concerns quartz stones found near the panels, which are thought to have been used to create the motifs.

Something that surprised me was learning that experiments using similar quartz stones found that it took between only half an hour and an hour and a half to create simple motifs.

Given this relatively short amount of time (relative to, say, hauling a rock 5 miles and standing it upright) I would have thought we might expect to see much more elaborate and physically larger designs on rock panels.
This leads me to think the motifs were kept deliberately 'minimal', as if people were developing the most efficient way of communicating information, important information which needed to remain visible, but with the least possible effort.

I haven't read much concerning theories for British rock art and I was wondering if any work has been carried out to construct a 'language' of sorts from the motifs, perhaps attempting to correlate recurring motifs with recurring features in the landscape, sources of water etc and if so have there been any particular ideas which seem to fit?
Is there any reason to think the motifs were created to impart information to others?


GEORGE!!!
bladup
bladup
1986 posts

Edited Sep 11, 2012, 02:33
Re: A quick sketch
Sep 11, 2012, 02:20
Evergreen Dazed wrote:
In the latest edition of British Archaeology (digital subscriprion, get me eh) there's a feature on Rock Art and the findings from recent excavations at a couple of sites in Scotland. Part of the feature concerns quartz stones found near the panels, which are thought to have been used to create the motifs.

Something that surprised me was learning that experiments using similar quartz stones found that it took between only half an hour and an hour and a half to create simple motifs.

Given this relatively short amount of time (relative to, say, hauling a rock 5 miles and standing it upright) I would have thought we might expect to see much more elaborate and physically larger designs on rock panels.
This leads me to think the motifs were kept deliberately 'minimal', as if people were developing the most efficient way of communicating information, important information which needed to remain visible, but with the least possible effort.

I haven't read much concerning theories for British rock art and I was wondering if any work has been carried out to construct a 'language' of sorts from the motifs, perhaps attempting to correlate recurring motifs with recurring features in the landscape, sources of water etc and if so have there been any particular ideas which seem to fit?
Is there any reason to think the motifs were created to impart information to others?

At lot of regions [ maybe all ] where there's rock art is water that's got a lot of metal in it [ water at places like Ilkley and Kilmartin have high iron contents ] and would have been poisonous over quite a short time, so finding good clean water in these places if you didn't know the region would have been a matter of live and death, the places that have mainly clean water don't seem to have rock art, one thing i think they show is where the clean water is in an area, i discovered this by realising that the tree of life stone in yorkshire was a map of the landscape you could see from it, i then looked at the map and realised that the cups with rings were matched up with the springs [ flowing clean water ] and the lines linking the cups matched the water lines [ and the flow of the water ] in the valleys between the hills and cups without rings with still water, i think the way in is seeing cups with rings as moving water [ thats why it looks like a stone been thrown into water- as it signifies moving water and the lines between cups is where that water goes and cups without rings as still water [ never the best to drink, even without the metal content ], and i've got a feeling [ because of the slope of a lot of rock art panals ] that if you put water or a liquid on it in a certain place they may even show how the water moves though that area, if so it's fucking genius, i could use the tree of life to find clean water even now, i think this proves something.
Sanctuary
Sanctuary
4647 posts

Re: A quick sketch
Sep 11, 2012, 08:26
bladup wrote:
Evergreen Dazed wrote:
In the latest edition of British Archaeology (digital subscriprion, get me eh) there's a feature on Rock Art and the findings from recent excavations at a couple of sites in Scotland. Part of the feature concerns quartz stones found near the panels, which are thought to have been used to create the motifs.

Something that surprised me was learning that experiments using similar quartz stones found that it took between only half an hour and an hour and a half to create simple motifs.

Given this relatively short amount of time (relative to, say, hauling a rock 5 miles and standing it upright) I would have thought we might expect to see much more elaborate and physically larger designs on rock panels.
This leads me to think the motifs were kept deliberately 'minimal', as if people were developing the most efficient way of communicating information, important information which needed to remain visible, but with the least possible effort.

I haven't read much concerning theories for British rock art and I was wondering if any work has been carried out to construct a 'language' of sorts from the motifs, perhaps attempting to correlate recurring motifs with recurring features in the landscape, sources of water etc and if so have there been any particular ideas which seem to fit?
Is there any reason to think the motifs were created to impart information to others?

At lot of regions [ maybe all ] where there's rock art is water that's got a lot of metal in it [ water at places like Ilkley and Kilmartin have high iron contents ] and would have been poisonous over quite a short time, so finding good clean water in these places if you didn't know the region would have been a matter of live and death, the places that have mainly clean water don't seem to have rock art, one thing i think they show is where the clean water is in an area, i discovered this by realising that the tree of life stone in yorkshire was a map of the landscape you could see from it, i then looked at the map and realised that the cups with rings were matched up with the springs [ flowing clean water ] and the lines linking the cups matched the water lines [ and the flow of the water ] in the valleys between the hills and cups without rings with still water, i think the way in is seeing cups with rings as moving water [ thats why it looks like a stone been thrown into water- as it signifies moving water and the lines between cups is where that water goes and cups without rings as still water [ never the best to drink, even without the metal content ], and i've got a feeling [ because of the slope of a lot of rock art panals ] that if you put water or a liquid on it in a certain place they may even show how the water moves though that area, if so it's fucking genius, i could use the tree of life to find clean water even now, i think this proves something.


You have come up with a lot of interesting theories bladup that you should put into print before someone else does if you feel confident enough. Some will be proven correct others not so but prehistory is like that and you have to take the rough with the smooth. You never seem afraid to state your case so good on you for having the balls to do it.
Evergreen Dazed
Evergreen Dazed
1831 posts

Re: A quick sketch
Sep 11, 2012, 10:12
bladup wrote:
Evergreen Dazed wrote:
In the latest edition of British Archaeology (digital subscriprion, get me eh) there's a feature on Rock Art and the findings from recent excavations at a couple of sites in Scotland. Part of the feature concerns quartz stones found near the panels, which are thought to have been used to create the motifs.

Something that surprised me was learning that experiments using similar quartz stones found that it took between only half an hour and an hour and a half to create simple motifs.

Given this relatively short amount of time (relative to, say, hauling a rock 5 miles and standing it upright) I would have thought we might expect to see much more elaborate and physically larger designs on rock panels.
This leads me to think the motifs were kept deliberately 'minimal', as if people were developing the most efficient way of communicating information, important information which needed to remain visible, but with the least possible effort.

I haven't read much concerning theories for British rock art and I was wondering if any work has been carried out to construct a 'language' of sorts from the motifs, perhaps attempting to correlate recurring motifs with recurring features in the landscape, sources of water etc and if so have there been any particular ideas which seem to fit?
Is there any reason to think the motifs were created to impart information to others?

At lot of regions [ maybe all ] where there's rock art is water that's got a lot of metal in it [ water at places like Ilkley and Kilmartin have high iron contents ] and would have been poisonous over quite a short time, so finding good clean water in these places if you didn't know the region would have been a matter of live and death, the places that have mainly clean water don't seem to have rock art, one thing i think they show is where the clean water is in an area, i discovered this by realising that the tree of life stone in yorkshire was a map of the landscape you could see from it, i then looked at the map and realised that the cups with rings were matched up with the springs [ flowing clean water ] and the lines linking the cups matched the water lines [ and the flow of the water ] in the valleys between the hills and cups without rings with still water, i think the way in is seeing cups with rings as moving water [ thats why it looks like a stone been thrown into water- as it signifies moving water and the lines between cups is where that water goes and cups without rings as still water [ never the best to drink, even without the metal content ], and i've got a feeling [ because of the slope of a lot of rock art panals ] that if you put water or a liquid on it in a certain place they may even show how the water moves though that area, if so it's fucking genius, i could use the tree of life to find clean water even now, i think this proves something.


Very interesting bladup, cheers, but how would that explain something like the profusely cup-marked stone at Balnuaran of Clava?
It seems to me, in that instance at least, that the cups are more likely to represent something in the heavens?

The cup and ring representing the 'the stone thrown in the water' had occured to me before, but only in the most obvious sense.
tiompan
tiompan
5758 posts

Re: A quick sketch
Sep 11, 2012, 20:12
Evergreen Dazed wrote:
In the latest edition of British Archaeology (digital subscriprion, get me eh) there's a feature on Rock Art and the findings from recent excavations at a couple of sites in Scotland. Part of the feature concerns quartz stones found near the panels, which are thought to have been used to create the motifs.

Something that surprised me was learning that experiments using similar quartz stones found that it took between only half an hour and an hour and a half to create simple motifs.

Given this relatively short amount of time (relative to, say, hauling a rock 5 miles and standing it upright) I would have thought we might expect to see much more elaborate and physically larger designs on rock panels.
This leads me to think the motifs were kept deliberately 'minimal', as if people were developing the most efficient way of communicating information, important information which needed to remain visible, but with the least possible effort.

I haven't read much concerning theories for British rock art and I was wondering if any work has been carried out to construct a 'language' of sorts from the motifs, perhaps attempting to correlate recurring motifs with recurring features in the landscape, sources of water etc and if so have there been any particular ideas which seem to fit?
Is there any reason to think the motifs were created to impart information to others?


It doesn't take long to make a cup mark but multiple rings are quite time consuming and difficult .
Some markings are on quite prominent rocks in the landscape ,in these cses they are often quite simple cup marks .Often the more complex engravings are on less prominent rocks or in passage graves suggesting that there might be two audiences . Who the markings are intended for in the first case might be anyone but the others suggest something more private , locals who know the landscape or whoever may be allowed access to the passage grave .
The most common motif is asamll group of cup marks sometimes just one , what might that convey , if anything ?
Most people who know about and discover rock art avoid dicussion on "meaning " , if you see a book or article with "the meaning of rock art " in the title you csn be sure whoever wrote it knows very little about the subject .One point that has become clear in the past twenty years is that the medium i.e. the rock shape , surface and cracks /fissures etc dictates much of the message .
Evergreen Dazed
Evergreen Dazed
1831 posts

Re: A quick sketch
Sep 11, 2012, 20:45
Thanks Tiompan. I've got Stan Beckensalls 'circles in stone' (not got around to yet) is there a 'classic' on the subject that I should add to the shelves?

Has there really not been any serious attempts to interpret the motifs at all?
thesweetcheat
thesweetcheat
5850 posts

Re: A quick sketch
Sep 11, 2012, 20:49
"Prehistoric Rock Art In Britain" also by Stan Beckensall is a must.
Evergreen Dazed
Evergreen Dazed
1831 posts

Re: A quick sketch
Sep 11, 2012, 20:57
thesweetcheat wrote:
"Prehistoric Rock Art In Britain" also by Stan Beckensall is a must.


Cheers TSC, I'll hunt that down.
tiompan
tiompan
5758 posts

Re: A quick sketch
Sep 11, 2012, 21:23
Evergreen Dazed wrote:
Thanks Tiompan. I've got Stan Beckensalls 'circles in stone' (not got around to yet) is there a 'classic' on the subject that I should add to the shelves?

Has there really not been any serious attempts to interpret the motifs at all?


Signing the Land :Richard Bradley is good .

Nothing that is any good re. interpretation of "meaning " for British /Atlantic RA .
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