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Centre de Recherche et d'Etudes pour l'Art Préhistorique Emile Cartailhac

   

 

ROCK ART: FROM EPIPALAEOLITHIC TO PROTOHISTORY


      Rock Art is a worldwide phenomenon covering several tens of thousand sites spread out over very diverse regions where life is (or was) feasible. It is an extraordinary testimony of the presence of Homo Sapiens Sapiens. The Art of people without writing, mainly Rock Art, is a fossil record of prehistoric and protohistoric mentalities which would otherwise be inaccessible because of the absence of any other meaningful trace of this particular past. Along with other archaeological elements (habitats, monuments, sepulchres, places of activity...) that provide a precious and essential context, Rock Art teaches us about the importance of integration within human groups in their various living areas and about the ways and means that these areas were used. It also tells us about the type of relations between neighbouring groups through archaeological reconstructions based in both time and space.

      Research work conducted on these topics in geographically, chronologically and socio-culturally diverse contexts (Algeria, Morocco, South Africa, Norway, Spanish 'Levantine Art' , etc.) constitutes the framework of the Axis-2 of the TRACES (CREAP) laboratory « Prehistoric Art ». It aims to look at all the possible variables in the domain of artistic/religious expression which are often so surprising by the creativity of their form and the complexity of their aesthetic characteristics (when it is possible to gain access to them).

      These two inseparable aspects are the expression of the essential characteristics (in the original meaning of this term) of this Art. These elements and their variations, the archaeology of the painted and engraved walls and the search for meaning constitute the main purpose of our research work. Beyond the characterisation and comprehension of the varied expressions of Rock Art throughout the world, our aim is to capture what is universal in every group that we study and what is unique and an expression of talent within each specific group. Our intention is to thus establish a kind of archaeological dialogue between all the diverse expressions which make up this Art.


Research projects

  • Rock Art of the Tefedest, Algeria (M. Barbaza)

  • Rock Art of the Markoye, Burkina Faso (M. Barbaza)

  • Rock Art of the Levant, Valltorta-Gassulla, Valencia community (E. López Montalvo)

  • Cave Art of the cave of Les Fraux (Dordogne, France)

  • Rock Art of Northern Scandinavia (M. Vourc'h)

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