Myths about Rock Art

Myths about Rock Art

by Robert G. Bednarik


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Rather than considering the myths supposedly depicted in the world's rock art, this book examines the myths archaeologists and others have created about the meanings and significance of rock art. This vast body of opinions dominates our concepts of the principal surviving cultural manifestations of early worldviews. Here these constructs are subjected to detailed analysis and are found to consist largely of misinterpretations. From the misidentification of natural rock markings as rock art to mistaken interpretations, from sensationalist claims to pareidolic elucidations of iconographies, the book presents numerous examples of myths researchers have created about pre-Historic ‘art’. The claims about a connection between rock art and the neuropathologies of its producers are assessed, and the neuroscience of rock art interpretation is reviewed. The book presents a comprehensive catalogue of falsities claimed about palaeoart, and it endeavours to explain how these arose, and how they can be guarded against by recourse to basic principles of science. It therefore represents a key resource in the scientific study of rock art.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781784914745
Publisher: Archaeopress Archaeology
Publication date: 03/19/2017
Pages: 220
Product dimensions: 7.00(w) x 9.75(h) x 0.50(d)

Table of Contents

A Little Epistemology: Introduction

Epistemology of archaeology

Setting the scene

Animals and Pareidolia: Tales of dragons

Identifying zoomorphs

Archaeological Folklores about Dating: The bulls and horses of Iberia

The Palaeolithic obsession

Myths about rock art age

Archaeological excavation

Axiomatic Confusions: Misidentification of non-anthropic rock markings

‘Explanations’ of cupules

Other mistaken interpretations

The Venus figurines

Sensationalist Myths and Fringe Legends: Sensationalist claims

The writing on the wall

Seeing things: pareidolia

Reaching for stars and gods

The importance of being Palaeolithic

Rock Art Fairy Tales: About shamanism and rock art

Myths about mythologies

Neuropathologies and rock art

Sinister myths about rock art

Generic Issues: Effects of fakes, misconceptions and falsities

Neuroscience and ‘identifications’ in rock art interpretation

The myths are here to stay


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