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A quick sketch
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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 .
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