Rock Art Worldings

Chronologies, materialities and ontologies

A Linnæus University Conference in Kalmar, Sweden, 23-27 October 2017. Now registration is open. The deadline for paper submittal was February 28, 2017.

Conference closed

A three-day conference focused on the Post-Paleolithic rock art of northern Europe and beyond, and specifically, the relationship between chronologies, materialities and ontologies. Building on recent advances in the development of rock art chronologies, we wish to investigate how these new understandings can be put to use in exploring aspects of prehistoric materialities and ontologies. In the wake of works by Viveiros de Castro, Ingold and Descola, among others, and their reconsideration of humankind's ontologies, we hope to address how rock art and related categories of material culture can contribute to our understanding of the prehistory of northern Europe and connected regions. Given that ontology is intimately intertwined with social aspects, this conference focuses not only on the 'conceptual world', but on a broad range of lived experiences and how these are expressed, manifested and challenged through the use of rock art media. We welcome papers on these three interconnection themes:

1. Rock art chronologies: Recent research has deepened and broadened our understanding of the age, conservatism and innovations within rock art assemblages. In this session we welcome papers relating to new methodologies and studies of rock art chronologies, with a particular focus on work that challenges existing chronologies and/or makes use of these in innovative ways.

2. Rock art materialities: In recent years, new theoretical avenues for the exploration of rock art materialities have emerged. Some of these discussions have focused attention on the rock itself – the canvas – and its influence on the creative act of making images while others have drawn on the depictions of different materials within the rock art assemblages and the significance of these objects and their settings. In this session we take broad approach to rock art materialities and welcome papers that present new research in this area.

3. Rock art ontologies: Increasingly in the rock art studies, we are influenced by the ontological turn happening cross the broad academic fields of humanities and social sciences. Among other things, this has resulted in a number of studies looking at the relational intra-actions between humans and other-than-humans, such as gods, spirits, the dead, animals, inhabitants of other cosmic levels, meteorological phenomena, plants, and occasionally even artefacts. In this session we welcome papers exploring these discourses and how they and the rock art are related to prehistoric ontologies.

Keynote speakers

Our conference will include two keynote lectures.

"Art beyond the Cave: rock art ontologies"
by Professor Andrew Meirion Jones, University of Southampton (UK).

Key note speaker

Professor Jones is best known for his thought-provoking research on the prehistory of the British Isles and Northwest Europe. His work explores archaeological and rock art landscapes, the significance of colour, memory practice, and materialities and draws inspiration from a variety of time periods and types of evidence. His state of the art project on rock art in the Kilmartin Area, Scotland is internationally renowned. Professor Jones' thoughts on how prehistoric people visualized and engaged with the landscape they inhabited are a key reason for his selection as a keynote speaker for this conference. We have been inspired and encouraged by his long lasting engagement with interpretative archaeology and his rethinking and reinterpretation of the rock art traditions of northern Britain and Scandinavia.

Professor Jones is the author of numerous books including Prehistoric materialities: becoming material in prehistoric Britain and Ireland (Oxford University Press, 2012), An animate landscape: rock art and the prehistory of Kilmartin, Argyll, Scotland (Windgather Press 2011), and Memory and Material Culture (Cambridge University Press, 2007). He also has two books forthcoming, The Archaeology of Art: Materials, practices, affects (co-authored with Andrew Cochrane) and Making a Mark: image and process in Neolithic Britain and Ireland (co-authored with Marta Diaz Guardamino).

Further information on the work of Professor Andrew Meirion Jones

"The Sheep People"
by Associate Professor Kristin Oma Armstrong, University of Stavanger (Norway).

Kristin Oma Armstrong

Associate Professor Kristin Oma Armstrong is best known for her research on human-animal relations in the Bronze and Iron Age in Europe. Her thought-provoking explorations are manifested in her PhD from 2007 "Human-animal relationships: mutual becomings in the household of Scandinavia and Sicily 900-500 BC" as well as in a forthcoming monograph, which will be highlighted in this keynote. Through her inspiring research Associate Professor Armstrong not only challenges the naturalism worlding of our own time, but considers how human-animal relationships will alter and change in the Anthropocene. We have been inspired by Professor Armstong's seminal work within the field of human-animal relation – the A-turn – and are persuaded that her keynote will have bearings for our perception of north European rock art in general, and the three themes of this conference.

Professor Armstrong is the author of numerous books including "Human-animal relationships: mutual becomings in the household of Scandinavia and Sicily 900-500 BC" (Unipub forlag, 2007), "Hesten – en magisk følgesvenn i nordisk forhistorie" (Cappelen Damm AS, 2011) and "The Sheep People. The ontology of making lives, building homes and forging herds in Early Bronze Age Norway" (Equinox Publishing, in press 2017). She has been the author and/or editor of several anthologies including the recently published "Thinking about Animals in the Age of the Anthropocene" (Lexington Books, 2016) and "Animal Umwelten in a changing world. Zoosemiotic perspectives" (University of Tartu Press, 2016).

Further information on the work of Associate Professor Kristin Armstrong Oma


Pre-conference excursion

The two-day pre-conference excursion will go to Österlen in southeast Scania, in southernmost Sweden.

It will commence on Sunday, October 22 at 08.00, from Malmö Central Station and be led by senior lecturer Peter Skoglund, Linnaeus University. Peter has just finished a three-year project about the rock art on Österlen, on which he published a book in 2016 – "Rock art through time – Scanian rock carvings in the Bronze Age and Earliest Iron Age" (Oxford, Oxbow Books). He has also worked with contract-led archaeology in Scania for decades and knows the area's archaeology inside out. In other words, we could not have asked for a better guide!

Book by Peter Skoglund

On this picturesque excursion you will get to see some of the most iconic rock art sites in Sweden, including the Järrestad and Simris panels as well as the illustrious Bronze Age cairn Bredarör at Kivik, a monument and place where rock art research in Northern Europe began in 1748 or 1780 – debates on this are still ongoing.

Historisk bild

The cost of the excursion is SEK 2,000 + VAT and includes guide, fees for entering the Bredarör cairn, transportations and a shared two-bed accommodation at a regular three star hotel (breakfast included). Lunches and dinners are not included but will be arranged on your behalf at a decent price.

We need a minimum of 7 participants to run the excursion. The maximum number of participants is 35. Should the excursion be cancelled, fees will be refunded.

The excursion starts at Malmö Central Station just 25 minutes from Kastrup – Copenhagen International Airport – and ends in Kalmar just in time for registration and the opening ceremony of the conference at 17.00 on Monday, October 23. Keynote speech and mingle follows.

Note! It is wise to book your flight tickets to and from Copenhagen if you intend to participate in the excursion. After the conference, you can take a train from Kalmar back to Kastrup Airport without having to change trains. Train tickets are easily available and not necessary to pre-book (trains for Copenhagen leave from Kalmar roughly every second hour).

You register for the excursion in the registration form for the conference.

Details about the sites, maps and information about rendezvous, etc., will be provided well in advance of the excursion.

If you have any questions, please contact Joakim Goldhahn

Conference Fees

A conference fee of 2000 SEK will be charged for professionals, and 1200 SEK for students and non-professional researchers. This fee includes a conference program, coffee, lunch and a conference dinner. If there is interest from conference participants we will arrange a post-conference excursion to some of the nearby rock art areas.


Welcome to Rock Art Worldings 2017.

Make your registration here


We have pre-booked rooms at the hotels listed below. Please, call or email the hotel directly and mention the booking code "RAW 2017". With this code you get our special price. Note: The pre-booked rooms can not be booked on-line on the hotels website.

Calmar Stadshotell (single room from 852 SEK/night)
Stortorget 14
SE-392 32 KALMAR
You can book this hotel via email
or telephone +46 480-496900

First Hotel Witt (single room from 886 SEK/night)
Södra Långgatan 42
SE-392 31 KALMAR
You can book this hotel via email
or telephone +46 480-15250

Best Western Plus Kalmarsund Hotell (single room from 895 SEK/night)
Fiskaregatan 5
SE-392 32 KALMAR
You can book this hotel via email
or telephone +46 480-480380

Are you looking for more affordable accommodations we suggest that you visit the following website:

Svanen Hotell och Vandrarhem (hostel)
telephone +46 480 25560

How to reach Kalmar

From Copenhagen Airport (CPH)
From Copenhagen Airport/Kastrup, Denmark, take the Öresunds-train directly to Kalmar (about 4 hours). Train from Copenhagen airport/Kastrup to Kalmar railway station. More information regarding tickets and timetables can be found at

From Stockholm to Kalmar Airport (KLR)
Domestic flights from Stockholm, Arlanda airport (ARN)
Domestic flights from Stockholm Bromma airport (BMR)

Bus from Kalmar Airport
Take bus 402 from Kalmar Airport to Kalmar "Resecentrum" (train and bus station). Calmar stadshotel were the conference is located is in the city center, close to train and bus station.

Train from Stockholm to Kalmar

Taxi Kalmar
+46 (0)480-44 44 44
The taxi stand is situated by "Resecentrum" (train and bus station) and Kalmar Airport. You can also visit

Conference organizers

Professor Joakim Goldhahn, Linnæus University
Associate Professor Ingrid Fuglestvedt, University of Oslo
Associate Professor Antti Lahelma, University of Helsinki

Questions and information

Updates for this conference will be posted via this website.

For further information please contact:


This conference is made possible through collaboration between Linnæus University and the University of Oslo and the University of Helsinki.