By Richard Bradley
Alongside the Atlantic seaboard, from Scotland to Spain, are various rock carvings made 4 to 5 thousand years in the past, whose interpretation poses a huge problem to the archaeologist.
In the 1st full-length therapy of the topic, established principally on new fieldwork, Richard Bradley argues that those carvings can be interpreted as a sequence of symbolic messages which are shared among monuments, artefacts and normal locations within the panorama. He discusses the cultural environment of the rock carvings and the ways that they are often interpreted with regards to historical land use, the construction of formality monuments and the burial of the useless. Integrating this attention-grabbing but little-known fabric into the mainstream of prehistoric experiences, Richard Bradley demonstrates that those carvings performed a basic position within the association of the prehistoric panorama.
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Extra info for Rock Art and the Prehistory of Atlantic Europe: Signing the Land
4 British and Irish rock art represented as versions of the human figure by Breuil in 1934 Johnston (1993) have all expressed doubts about whether those styles were really independent, but the overall objectives of these writers are different. Hadingham is concerned with the origins of open-air rock art, whilst Burgess and Johnston are much more interested in its overall chronology. 5 Outline distribution of megalithic art (after Shee Twohig 1981 and Bueno and Balbín 1992) 42 —TERMS OF REFERENCE— along the Atlantic coastline, this does not apply to the decoration of megalithic tombs.
The third important axis extends from Galicia in north-west Spain up the Atlantic coastline to Brittany, Britain and Ireland. There are traditional links between these areas evidenced by place names and church dedications, and there was some exchange of population between them during the post-Roman period (Bowen 1977). One indication of the extent of these different networks is found during the early Middle Ages when North Africa and the greater part of the Iberian peninsula belonged to the Islamic world.
This would have avoided the necessity of following another treacherous coastline, but, if so, that route was no longer used by the Late Iron Age (De Jersey 1993). Ironically, some of the most difficult passages were in precisely those areas with raw materials that could not be obtained anywhere else. In the Neolithic period there were important stone sources at a number of points around the coastline of western Britain, and the distribution of their products suggests that some of them were transported by sea (Darvill 1989).
Rock Art and the Prehistory of Atlantic Europe: Signing the Land by Richard Bradley