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Thursday, March 29 • 2:00pm - 6:15pm
1 - Rock-art in the taskscape: a GIS-based approach to understanding the role of Iron Age rock-art in the lived landscape of Valcamonica (BS), Italy

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Italian rock-art has traditionally been studied from an art-historical perspective rather than from the perspectives of landscape and social archaeology. In this paper I reconstruct the population and habitation structures of Iron Age Valcamonica along with the likely associated economic geography. From these elements I develop an understanding of the taskscape and the role of rock-art sites within it. Analyses include a GIS-based demographic reconstruction and predictive site modelling in addition to more traditional viewshed, intervisibility and anisotropic least-cost path analyses. Issues of location and demography cast strong doubt on the currently dominant hypothesis in Italian archaeology regarding the production of the rock-art: that it was the result of initiation rites for aristocratic warriors. It is demonstrated, rather, that the rock-art of Iron Age Valcamonica was an integral part of the lived landscape and was likely the work of shepherds, hunters and wild-food gatherers. De Lumley's magisterial work on the rock-art of Monte Bego on the French-Italian border is called Le grandiose e le sacré - this innovative paper argues that we should regard the rock-art of Valcamonica as being mundane and quotidian rather than grandiose and sacred and all the more interesting for those very reasons.

Speakers
CA

Craig Alexander

McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, University of Cambridge


Thursday March 29, 2012 2:00pm - 6:15pm
Building 65, Lecture Theatre A

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