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.