Rock Art, Semiotics and Meaning of
The problem of the meaning of past societies’ material culture has been one of the main concerns of archaeology since its origins as a scientific discipline. Such interest in the meaning of things led archaeologists to make the first classifications, which were based primarily on utilitarian criteria. In this way, it was possible to differentiate between those objects with some functional meaning (an arrow, a pot, a plough, etc.) from those whose meaning was less obvious or could not be assigned a specific function, these were associated with the ambiguous sphere of the symbolic (a lithic statuette, a decorated rib, the ochre scattered on a buried body, etc.). Within this last group, rock art was – and still is – one of the cultural productions that has received most attention from researchers, precisely because of the difficulties involved in accessing its meanings. Even in ethnographic cases, where there was the possibility of working with aboriginal communities that...
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