Changing perceptions of rock art: storying prehistoric worlds
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Temporality and changeability are here considered vital characteristics of rock art, expressed through shifting light and moving bodies. Demonstrating deliberate use of non-quantifiable elements such as light is challenging. Nevertheless, there are rock art sites where its importance is apparent. For example, the results of a 3D scan of the site Hammer IX in Central Norway show how the same lines make out both an elk head and a whale. Whereas in Vingen in Western Norway, 77 panels positioned across a scree slope, non-corporeal elements appear to be as important as the motifs. Approaching rock art in a non-representational framework, we consider the involvement of intangible elements as part of the constant knowledge production and shaping of realities at sites. This is the point of departure for our discussion of the making and use of rock art as a meaning-making and storytelling practice in Late Mesolithic and Early Neolithic Norway.