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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : Postgraduate (History, Classics and Archaeology)

Postgraduate Course: Rock Art and Archaeology: from Scotland to the Sahara (PGHC11353)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Course typeStandard AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) Credits20
Home subject areaPostgraduate (History, Classics and Archaeology) Other subject areaNone
Course website None Taught in Gaelic?No
Course descriptionRock art is an almost universal phenomenon within pre-literate societies. It represents a form of cultural expression often absent in other artefacts or monuments, and can provide a unique insight into the relationship between people and their environment. This course deals with prehistoric rock art and the role it plays in society, both past and present. It will provide a broad investigation of existing definitions and interpretations of rock art, while drawing attention to issues of conservation, management and presentation. Methodological and theoretical approaches will feature prominently, along with changing perspectives regarding the significance and meaning of rock art. Special attention will be paid to Europe and Africa from the Palaeolithic to the Iron Age, although students will be encouraged to investigate prehistoric paintings and engravings in other parts of the world.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs None
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Summary of Intended Learning Outcomes
By the end of the course, students should have an understanding of the following:
- the merits of different methodological and theoretical perspectives in the study of rock art and how these have altered through time
- the ethnography of rock art and its relevance to prehistoric art
- the relationship between context and interpretation in rock art studies
- key issues in the preservation and cultural resource management of rock art
- key debates and controversies in rock art studies

At the end of this course the student will be expected to demonstrate the following, as assessed by coursework:
- ability to critique and analyze approaches and interpretations used in rock art studies
- ability to synthesize and prepare an argument and discuss key conceptual issues relating to rock art evidence
- research skills showing ability to formulate research questions relevant to contemporary scholarship in rock art studies
- ability to access key bibliographic and electronic resources relevant to rock art research

Assessment Information
Coursework equivalent to a 4000 word essay: 100%
Special Arrangements
Additional Information
Academic description Not entered
Syllabus 1. Art or artefact? Defining rock art
2. Origins of art and symbolism
3. Early art; early theories: animism, structuralism, Marxism
4. Rock art and place: exploring the landscape
5. Performance or public art versus private art: rock art in ceremony and burial
6. Shamanism and spirit possession
7. Rock art and agency
8. Animated images: cultural identity and boundaries
9. Whose art is it anyway? Ethics and ownership
10. Conservation, preservation, presentation, destruction

Transferable skills Not entered
Reading list Bahn P and Vertut J. 1997 Journey through the Ice Age, Weidenfeld and Nicholson

Beckensall, S. 2002. Prehistoric Rock Art in Cumbria. Tempus: Stroud

Beckensall, S. 1999. British Prehistoric Rock Art. Tempus: Stroud

Bertlisson U and McDermott L (eds) The Valcamonica Symposium. National Heritage Board of Sweden/Riksantikvarieambetet: Sweden

Bradley, R. 1991. Rock art and the Perception of Landscape. Cambridge Archaeological Journal 1: 209-219.

Bradley, R. 1997. Rock art and the prehistory of Atlantic Europe: signing the land. London: Routledge.

Bradley, R. 1998. The significance of monuments: on the shaping of human experience in Neolithic and Bronze Age Europe. London: Routledge.

Bradley, R. 2000 An Archaeology of Natural Places. London: Routledge

Burgess, C. 1990. The Chronology of Cup and Ring Marks in Britain and Ireland. Northern Archaeology 10: 21-26.Chippendale C and Nash G (eds) 2004 The Figured Landscapes of Rock Art: Looking at Pictures in Place. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Chippendale C and Tacon P S C (eds) 1998 The Archaeology of Rock Art. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Layton R 1981 The Anthropology of Art. London: Granada Publishing

Lewis-Williams D, 2002. The Mind in the Cave: Consciousness and the Origins of Art, Thames and Hudson

Lewis-Williams D and Dowson T. 1999 Images of Power: Understanding San Rock Art, Struik

Le Quellec, J.-L. 2004.Rock art in Africa: mythology and legend. Paris: Flammarion.

Lorblanchet M and Bahn P (eds) 1993 Rock Art Studies: the Post-Stylistic Era or Where do we go from here? Oxford: Oxbow Monograph 35, Oxbow Books

Knight C, Power C and Watts I 1995. The Human Symbolic Revolution: A Darwinian Account by, Cambridge Archaeological Journal 5:1
Mattingly, D., Daniels, C. M., Dore, J. N., Edwards, D., and Hawthorne, J. (eds) 2003. The Archaeology of Fazzan. Vol I. London/Tripoli: Libyan Studies Society/Department of Antiquities: 279-326.

Mori F 1998. The great civilsations of the ancient Sahara. Neolithisation and the earliest evidence of anthropomorphic religion. Diputacion Provincial, Instituto de Prehistoria y Arqueologia, Rome

Morris, R.W.B. 1989. The Prehistoric Rock Art of Great Britain: A Survey of All Sites Bearing Motifs more Complex than Simple Cup-marks. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 55: 45-88.

Nash G and Chippendale C (eds) 2002. European Landscapes of Rock Art. London: Routledge

Whitley D S (ed) 2001 Handbook of Rock Art Research. Walnut Creek: Altamira Press

Waddington, C. 1996. Putting Rock Art to Use: A model of Early Neolithic Transhumance in North Northumberland. Northern Archaeology 13/14: 147-178.

Waddington, C. 1998. Cup and ring marks in context. Cambridge Archaeological Journal 8(1): 29-54.
Study Abroad Not entered
Study Pattern Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Robert Leighton
Tel: (0131 6)50 8197
Course secretaryMs Rosie Edwards
Tel: (0131 6)50 3782
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