Rock Art Research

Articles

Vol. 37, No. 1, May

The 2018 and 2019 Rock Art Expeditions to Lianyungang, East China
1. IntroductionThe city of Lianyungang is located on the east margin of mainland China, facing the East China Sea. Its dominant landscape consisting of horst block mountains and alluvial plains was forged by crust movements during the geological time....
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Antiquity of Iran's Rock Art: Pre-History or Historic-Islamic Time?
IntroductionIn Iran rock are sites extend from the south, close to the Persian and Oman Gulf shoreline, up to mountainous areas of north-western Iran bordering with Azerbaijan and Armenia. Compared with neighbouring countries, the history of rock art...
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Graffiti as Devotion: Along the Nile and Beyond
Graffiti as devotion: along the Nile and beyond, edited by GEOFF EMBERLING and SUZANNE DAVIS. 2019. University of Michigan, Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, Kelsey Museum Publication 16, Ann Arbor, 211 pages, colour illustrations, paperback, ISBN 13-978-0-9906623-9-6.As...
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Preliminary Report of Newly Rediscovered Rock Art Site Damirgaya, Southern Georgia
The history of rock art research in Georgia has not been long and intensive, although the first attempts of recording rock art sites began quite early. The Trialeti petroglyphs were initially discovered in the 1880s, lost and rediscovered in the 1970s....
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Discovery of New Type of Cave Rock Paintings in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China
1.IntroductionPingxiang City is located on the border between China and Vietnam in the southwest of China, with a total area of about 650.32 km2, in the prefecture-level city of Chongzuo, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. Pingxiang adjoins Ningming County...
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New Painted Rock Art Sites in Alor Island, Eastern Indonesia, Support a Diversity of Artistic Traditions in the Late Holocene
IntroductionRock art research in the Island Southeast Asian (ISEA) region covering Indonesia and Timor-Leste has advanced significantly since the first rock art study in Indonesia was published by van Braam Morris (1884) on the rock art of Berau Gulf...
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Mobiliary Art of Pampacolca, Peru: A Palaeoart Unique in the World
IntroductionThis article discusses the painted stone tablets of Pampacolca, a region located near Nevado Coropuna, South America's second-highest peak, in the remote Andean mountains of southern Peru. Pampacolca's tablets are part of a broader regional...
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The 2017 Rock Art Mission in Hubei Province, China
1.IntroductionIn comparison to the rock art of Henan Province in China, which has been studied by scientific methods for some years (Tang 2012; Tang et al. 2014; 2017; 2018; Jin and Chao 2019), the rock art of neighbouring Hubei Province has remained...
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What Ever Happened to the People? Humans and Anthropomorphs in the Rock Art of Northern Africa: International Conference (Brussels, 17, 18 & 19 September 2015
What ever Happened to the People?Humans and Anthropomorphs in the Rock Art of Northern Africa: International Conference (Brussels, 17, 18 & 19 September 2015), edited by D. HUYGE and FRANCIS L. NOTEN. 2018. Royal Academy for Overseas Sciences, Brussels,...
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Drawing in the Land: Rock Art in the Upper Nepean, Sydney Basin, New South Wales
Drawing in the land: rock art in the Upper Nepean, Sydney Basin, New South Wales, by JULIE DIBDEN. 2019. Terra Australis 49, ANU Press, Canberra, 211 pages, 53 illustrations, soft/ hardcover, $AU55.00, ISBN 978-1760-4625-81. Free download at https://press-files.anu.edu.au/...
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The Petroglyphs of Kal Husseina in Nehbandan, Eastern Iran
IntroductionThe site of Kal Husseina is located some 1 km from the village of Kal Husseina in the Nehbandan County in South Khorasan Province of Iran. The site comprises four scatters of boulders of basalt. The motifs are in danger of damage and erosion...
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Rockshelter Development on the Arnhem Land Plateau (Australia) and Its Implications for Rock Art Research
IntroductionThe interaction between pigment rock art and the underlying rock support has been well-studied and is considered the major factor in rock art preservation, particularly in relation to the manner in which water penetrates the rock matrix beneath...
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Early Rock Art of the American West: The Geometric Enigma
Early rock art of the American West: the geometric enigma, by EKKEHART MALOTKI and ELLEN DISSANAYAKE. 2018. University of Washington Press, Seattle, 312 pages, 193 colour illustrations, bibliography, hardcover US$90.00; paperback US$34.95, ISBN 978-0-2957-43615.A...
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Drawing a Line in the Sand
Humans on beaches and dunes today love creating patterns in the sand or sculptures (e.g. sandcastles). Such activity has clearly been enjoyed by humans for many generations. Humans foraging for seafood on beaches or for underground food on dunes may...
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Rock Art and Rock Climbing: An Escalating Conflict
IntroductionRecreational rock climbing has the potential to significantly damage rock art and other cultural sites worldwide (Long 1995; Watts 2019). To date, however, details of this threat have not been specifically elucidated. Largely in response...
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Review of Tibetan Rock Art Research
In 1902, August Hermann Francke, the German scholar devoted to Tibetology, discovered many zoomorphs in Kalatse and other places in Ladakh. Although Francke believed these paintings were nothing more than productions of The Dards more than 800 years...
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John 'Jack' Henry Steinbring (1929–2019)
The discipline of rock art research has lost one of its finest scholars, Professor Jack Steinbring.Jack was born on 1 July 1929 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, as the son of Arthur and Lillian (Koller) Steinbring. He passed away on 19 November 2019 in his home...
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New Evidence for a Bronze Age Date of Chariot Depictions in the Eurasian Steppe
1.IntroductionThe earliest examples of light two-wheeled chariots can be traced back to a broad area around the Sintashta culture dating to around 2050-1700 BCE (Hanks et al. 2007; Epimakhov and Krause 2013) from where it quickly spread over the Eurasian...
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ICRAD Invites Data Deposition
The International Centre of Rock Art Dating was established in 2016 at Hebei Normal University in Shijiazhuang, China. One of its roles is to develop a comprehensive archive for global information on all direct rock art dating projects and results. For...
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Vol. 36, No. 1, May

Cupules Discovered in Niah Cave, Sarawak, Malaysia
Niah National Park is located within Miri Division, Sarawak, Malaysia. The Niah Caves are situated 96 km by road from Miri, near the northern coast of Borneo. They have been nominated for World Heritage status in 2010. Recently, during an investigation...
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Nargeseh: Newly Found Rock Art in Lorestan Province, Western Iran
Lorestan Province is a mountainous part of western Iran. This province is one of the most important archaeological regions of Iran, with significant evidence from the Palaeolithic to the contemporary period. The town of Chegeni is located west of Khorramabad,...
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About the Discovery of Al Jawf 'Camel Figures' in Saudi Arabia
Numerous newspapers and magazines around the world have reported the discovery of huge camel sculptures by a French-Saudi team in the area of Al Jawf, in the north of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (Fig. 1). As a rock art specialist I would like to correct...
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Ancient 'Sanctuaries' of West Transbaikalia, Siberia
1. IntroductionThe study of cult sites constitutes a highly specific field of inquiry within archaeology, directed towards understanding the non-empirical, spiritual world of ancient people and their worldviews as they are reflected in ritual-related...
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The Archaeology of Rock Art in Western Arnhem Land, Australia
The archaeology of rock art in western Arnhem Land, Australia, edited by BRUNO DAVID, PAUL S. C. TAÇON, JEAN-JACQUES DELANNOY and JEAN-MICHEL GENESTE. 2017. Series Terra Australis 47, Australian National University Press, Canberra, 499 pages, 13 maps,...
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Editorial
Clarifying editorial policiesIn the course of the IFRAO Business Meeting held at the IFRAO Congress in Valcamonica, Italy, on 2 September 2018, one of the European IFRAO Representatives commented on the editorial policies of RAR. He had submitted a paper...
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Palaeoart of the Ice Age
Palaeoart of the Ice Age, by ROBERT G. BEDNARIK. 2017. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle upon Tyne, 248 pages, 76 monochrome figures, extensive bibliography, hardcover, ISBN 978-1-4438-9517-0.Initially the reader will think this book is a comprehensive...
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Talking Stone: Rock Art of the Cosos
Talking stone: rock art of the Cosos, by PAUL GOLDSMITH. 2017. The University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City, 106 pages, colour and monochrome photos, bibliography, softcover US$19.95, ISBN 978-1-60781-557-0.Published in 2017, Talking Stone Rock Art of...
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Advances in Microerosion Analysis
IntroductionMicroerosion analysis was deliberately designed to provide a relatively simple method for the direct dating of petroglyphs with a high degree of reliability, even if its precision was always regarded as relatively low. Bearing in mind that...
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The Green River Bighorn Sheep Horned Headdress, San Rafael Swell, Utah
IntroductionIn this essay we address a pre-Historic bighorn sheep horned headdress from the Tommy Morris Collection which was formerly exhibited1 at the Utah State University Eastern Prehistoric Museum in Price, Utah [Prehistoric Museum], in the United...
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Connecting to the Ancestors: Why Rock Art Is Important for Indigenous Australians and Their Well-Being
IntroductionAustralia has one of the largest rock art bodies in the world as well as rock art with great time depth (see overviews in Layton 1992; Taçon 2011). Rock art in various forms and styles is found almost everywhere there are suitable rock surfaces...
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Report of the 20th International Rock Art Congress, IFRAO2018, 'Standing on the Shoulders of Giants'
The 20th International Rock Art Congress, IFRAO 2018, 'Standing on the Shoulders of Giants' (the title is a quote from the 11th century philosopher Bernard of Chartres), has been held in Darfo Boario Terme, Valcamonica, Italy, from the 29th August to...
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Australian Rock Art Bibliography Extracted from the Rock Art Studies Bibliographic Database for the Years 1841 to 2018 - Part 2
Maynard, L., 1976. An Archaeological Approach to the Study of Australian Rock Art, Master's Thesis, 255 pgs, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia.Keywords: Australia. Aboriginal rock art. The role of rock art as an archaeological artefact. Biblio,...
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Journeys in Stone Age Rock Art and Its Research History in Northernmost Europe
DepartureThis paper is a brief journey though the rock art of northernmost Europe, summarising some of the harbours created by more than a century of rock art research. The idea and initial inspiration for this journey came from reading Gutorm Gjessing's...
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Minutes of the 2018 IFRAO Business Meeting
Valcamonica, Italy, 2 September 2018Represented were the Asociatión Cultural 'Colectivo Barbaón' (ACCB, Spain); the Asociatión Cultural Instituto de Estudios Prehistóricos (ACINEP, Spain); the Associacao Portuguesa de Arte e Arqueología Rupestre (APAAR,...
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An Occurrence of Appliqué in Wardaman Rock Art
The traditional lands of the Wardaman lie to the west of Katherine in the Northern Territory (Fig. 1). The region is recognised as a major rock art province. Initial documentation tended to focus on the art at the dramatic 'Lightning Brothers' site (Davidson...
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Vol. 35, No. 2, November

The Rock Art of Dahaisi Cave, Soqotra, Yemen
IntroductionDespite more than two centuries of exploration and archaeological surveys on Soqotra, rock art remains one of the most neglected areas of study, insofar as it has been suggested that rock art had little importance for the inhabitants of the...
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Token Exchange and Beads: The Problem of Reliable Language
IntroductionThe 'handicap principle' tells us that to be effective, signals must be so costly that cheating is unprofitable (Zahavi 1975). Because words are cheap, it has been argued that the emergence of speech is thus theoretically impossible (Zahavi...
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What Is Anthropogenic? on the Cultural Aetiology of Geo-Situated Visual Imagery in Indigenous Amazonia
IntroductionThis article focuses on the problem of how native Amazonian peoples perceive and construct visual imagery on geological landscape and theorise on its causes and origin. Therefore, it brings a discussion on the Amerindian aetiology (philosophy...
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Why Not Leave Intangible Aspects of Fennoscandian Stone Age Hunters' Rock Art Alone?
When it comes to rock art studies the answers one looks for are so uncertain and difficult to test that articles where the authors present their most subjective proposals for interpretations cannot necessarily be said to be further away from the truth...
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Australian Rock Art Bibliography Extracted from the Rock Art Studies Bibliographic Database for the Years 1841 to 2018 - Part 1
PrefaceAustralia has one of the largest concentrations of rock art of any country. It is estimated that there are at least 100 000 sites but because there is no national database and there are many areas yet to be surveyed we do not know exactly how...
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Eschewing Bear Tracks: Fallacies, Figure-Stones and Fontmaure
KEYWORDS: Exogram - Figure-stone - Fontmaure - Lithic - Pareidolia - Visual ambiguityAbstract. Lithics have historically been perceived in terms of 'tools' and 'tool-making'. This perspective, perpetuated by archaeologists and anthropologists alike,...
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Newly Discovered Petroglyphs near Chamchang, Chahar Mahall Va Bakhtiari, Iran
Fieldwork undertaken in July 2016 led to the discovery of two rock art sites featuring 28 petroglyphs at Chamchang 1 and 2. These sites are located near Chamchang, Saman County, north-west province of Chahar Mahall va Bakhtiari, towards the centre of...
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Rock Art Site of Nakhlestan in Nehbandan, Eastern Central Iran
Investigations conducted in Birjand in eastern Iran have shown a great potential of rock art in this region (Ghorbani 2013; Ghorbani and Sadeghi 2016). In July 2013, while conducting an archaeological reconnaissance in Birjand to locate prominent archaeological...
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Vol. 34, No. 2, November

Thanks to RAR Referees
Articles in RAR undergo two levels of peer review: open academic debate, to which all readers are invited to contribute (every signed contribution in this journal may be responded to); and pre-publication refereeing. All major and many shorter contributions...
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Bunyip, Bunjil and Mother-in-Law Avoidance: New Insights into the Interpretation of Bunjils Shelter, Victoria, Australia
Bunjils Shelter (see Figs 1 and 2), formerly known as 'Bunjils Cave', in the Black Range, near Stawell, in Victoria, Australia, is situated in Djabwurrung country, and is the only known site in Victoria to contain bichrome figures and an anthropomorphous...
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Letter to the Australian Heritage Council
The Australian Rock Art Research Association Inc. strongly endorses the nomination of the Quinkan rock art precinct to the National Heritage List. It is one of Australia's most valuable concentrations of immovable cultural heritage sites and as such...
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Bednarik's 'Rock Art and Pareidolia': Role of Psychological Biases
Bednarik's (2016) analysis of the pitfalls of pareidolia in assessing what constitutes rock art is revealing and cogent. I would like to add one or two observations that reinforce and extend Bednarik's conclusions. The insistence in believing that petroglyphs...
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Rock Art in Poland: Contribution to Discussion
IntroductionPoland (along with the Netherlands) is thought to be a country with very few rock art sites, or even no rock art at all (Balm 2010:24). Although it is true that so far no significant rock art complex dating to pre-Historic times has been...
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Inadequacies of Research Used to Monitor Change to Rock Art and Regulate Industry on Murujuga ('Burrup Peninsula'), Australia
IntroductionThe Dampier Archipelago, which includes the island Murujuga ('Burrup Peninsula'), is estimated to contain more than one million rock art images in the form of petroglyphs (JMcD CHM 2011). These petroglyphs are thought to capture thousands...
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The World Heritage List and Rock Art
The greatest problem with global rock art is its rampant destruction, which occurs throughout the world and is in most cases attributable to a lack of appreciation of the intrinsic values of this irreplaceable cultural resource. Most rock art researchers...
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IMPART Research Project Symposium Mitzpe Ramon, Israel, 20 December 2016
In December 2016, the Integrative Multilateral Planning to Advance Rock Art Tourism (IMPART) research team held a dissemination symposium in the Negev desert town of Mitzpe Ramon, entitled 'Integrating the Public-Private Sectors for Successful Planning,...
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Recent Rock Art Journals
International Newsletter of Rock Art. Newsletter of the Association pour Rayonnement de l Art Parietal Európáén (ARAPE). Edited by JEAN CLOTTES. Bilingual newsletter (French and English). Recent issues include these research articles:Number 77 (2017):HERMANN,...
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Pigment Decoration of Palaeolithic Anthropomorphous Figurines from Siberia
IntroductionMal'ta is a multi-layer archaeological site in Siberia with cultural deposits belonging to the chronological range from 43-41 ka to 12 ka bp (Medvedev et al. 1996). The main collection of finds was obtained during the excavations under the...
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New Rock Art Complex in Saudi Arabia
IntroductionOne of the most impressive rock art properties in the world, the Shuwaymis petroglyph complex south of Hail, Saudi Arabia, was discovered only as recently as 2001 (Bednarík and Khan 2002, 2005, 2009). The significance of that monument has...
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Pavel CErvícek (1942-2015)
Pavel Cervícek (1.1.1942, Prague - 23.4. 2015, Darmstadt) studied prehistory (under Professor Jan Filip) and Egyptology (under Professor Zbynek Žába) at the Faculty of Arts of the Charles University in Prague between 1960 and 1965. It was Žába who promoted...
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Darwin's Bridge: Uniting the Humanities and Sciences
Darwin's bridge: uniting the humanities and sciences, edited by JOSEPH CARROLL, DAN P. ADAMS and EDWARD O. WILSON. 2016. Oxford University Press, New York, 335 pages, monochrome illustrations, bibliographies, index, hardcover, ISBN 978-0-19-023121-7.This...
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IFRAO Report No. 58: 20th INTERNATIONAL ROCK ART CONGRESS IFRAO 2018
CALL FOR PAPERSThe IFRAO Congress 2018 will be held at Darfo Boario, Valcamonica, northern Italy, from 29 August to 2 September 2018 (RAR 34-1:119-120). The rock art researchers of the world are invited to prepare titles and abstracts for presentations...
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Methods, Morelli, Rock Art, Art History: The Morellian Method and Its Potential in Rock Art Research
IntroductionMethods for studying spatial and temporal patterns in rock art have developed significantly since the first recording by Breuil and others over a hundred years ago (Breuil 1952; Bahn and Vertut 1988). In particular, the use of analytical...
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Rock Art Watercolours: The Kimberley Paintings of Hill and d'Emo
This article discusses the watercolour paintings produced by Father Nicholas d'Emo and Gerald Hill at Drysdale River Mission in the Kimberley of Western Australia in 1909/10. Their respective collections, generally unknown and un-referred to until recently,...
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From Tracks to Gesture-Derived Inscription: An Australian Genealogy for 'Tracks and Lines' Petroglyphs
IntroductionThough much of what follows may be applicable, with suitable modifications, to rock art in many parts of the world (Bednarík 1990/91,1995), the focus of this paper is on an extensive body of Australian petroglyphs featuring tracks imagery...
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Belated Cognitive Dissonance
I thank Hodgson for his valuable comments on my pareidolia paper. Certainly biases such as confirmation bias and status bias can be safely assumed to have been involved in the Xiaojinggou study case. However, the perhaps most fascinating aspect of it...
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Invitation to Publish in Arts
The open access journal Arts is producing a special issue on 'World rock art', edited by Robert G. Bednarik. Contributions are invited from all rock art specialists.The corpus of hundreds of millions of rock art motifs surviving in the world today represents...
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