Perspectives on Differences in Rock Art - Jan Magne Gjerde

Perspectives on Differences in Rock Art - Jan Magne Gjerde

Rethinking Variability in Rock Art in the Northern Cape, South Africa: Empirical and Theoretical Considerations

Perspectives on Differences in Rock Art - Jan Magne Gjerde

David Morris [+-]
Sol Plaatje University, South Africa.
David Morris is head of archaeology at the McGregor Museum, and Extraordinary Professor, School of Humanities, Sol Plaatje University, in Kimberley, South Africa. His research is focused on rock art in the Northern Cape Province, including the engraving site of Driekopseiland. His interests embrace the archaeological record of the region in general and development of public archaeology inter alia at Wildebeest Kuil and Wonderwerk Cave. His publications include the co-authored Karoo rock engravings (with John Parkington and Neil Rusch, 2008) and co-editorship of Working with rock art (with Ben Smith and Knut Helskog, 2012).

Description

No two rock art sites, nor indeed any two individual engravings or paintings, are ever the same. In the Northern Cape, South Africa, the dynamism in rock art expression is palpable through both time and from place to place. Conventionally, scholars discern stylistic or cultural threads in temporal or regional traditions in the rock art, lately variously hybridized; and the resultant schemes are the stuff of on-going discussion. Empirical problems, notably dating, persist and impede resolution in debates about spatial and temporal patterning. While clearly it is critical to continue tackling the empirical issues and constraints, this chapter suggests that theoretical considerations are equally crucial. Case studies based on sites in the Northern Cape and an assessment of theoretical insights from Tarde serve in modelling the mechanisms of repetition and innovation in rock art making through time and place to argue, after Ingold, that process, rather than social or cultural entities, is the driving force resulting in the observed variability.

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Citation

Morris, David. Rethinking Variability in Rock Art in the Northern Cape, South Africa: Empirical and Theoretical Considerations. Perspectives on Differences in Rock Art. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 284-301 Apr 2021. ISBN 9781781795606. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=38755. Date accessed: 18 Apr 2024 doi: 10.1558/equinox.38755. Apr 2021

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