Profane Landscapes, Sacred Spaces - Miroslav Bárta

Profane Landscapes, Sacred Spaces - Miroslav Bárta

Sacred Places in the Profane Landscapes of Lower Nubia: A Case Study from the Czechoslovak Concessions

Profane Landscapes, Sacred Spaces - Miroslav Bárta

Lenka Varadzinová (Suková) [+-]
Charles University, Prague
Lenka Suková is Egyptologist and Archaeologist, working in the Czech Institute of Egyptology. Her main interest lay in the prehistory of northeast Africa and in the rock art and its interpretation, focusing on the economic, technological, cultural and social development in the region of Northeast Africa in the Early and Middle Holocene (ca. 9000–3000 BC). Since 2009, she has been directing the interdisciplinary research in the area of Jebel Sabaloka and the Sixth Nile Cataract in the Sudan and taking part in the exploration of the Institute´s second archaeological concession in the Sudan – at Usli.


Rock art – non-utilitarian anthropic marks made on natural, unmovable rock surfaces by means of techniques involving reductive (petroglyphs) and additive (pictograms) processes – constitutes an archaeological source of a peculiar nature. It is a direct testimony left behind by peoples of prehistoric and historical times of themselves and their lived and/or spiritual worlds as they experienced them and/or conceived them. The complex spatial and temporal dynamics on some surfaces further shows that the pictorial statements made by some artists at one time were added to, modified, or even reduced by others who felt the urge to leave their own characteristic trace on the particular panels and thus to represent themselves on or to appropriate the panels and to charge them with extended, updated, or even new – their own – meanings. To extract the exact – and often layered – meaning these images of distant times once bore for their creators and direct audience is a task of marked difficulty without informed knowledge provided by those who used or reused the surfaces. Nevertheless, we can still learn a lot about these ancient peoples if we view their works as historical documents and look for what they told us about themselves unintentionally by creating their distinctive images at particular places and by engaging into dialogues with the landscape and with other graphic – both inscriptional and pictorial – and archaeological evidence. In this chapter, we will visit the rock-art landscapes in two sections of the Nile Valley in Lower Nubia and survey a selection of sites where the character of the rock art from the point of view of thematic, stylistic, structural, and technical aspects and/or the marked spatial and temporal dynamics of the rockart panels allow us to perceive these sites as “Places” – locales of special social or religious significance – in the otherwise profane, albeit through rock art humanised landscapes.

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Varadzinová (Suková), Lenka. Sacred Places in the Profane Landscapes of Lower Nubia: A Case Study from the Czechoslovak Concessions. Profane Landscapes, Sacred Spaces. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 170-190 Apr 2020. ISBN 9781781794098. Date accessed: 04 Aug 2020 doi: 10.1558/equinox.29194. Apr 2020

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