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While there has always been a large public interest in ancient pictures painted or carved on stone, the archaeological study of rock art is in its infancy. But intensive amounts of research has revolutionized this field in the past decade. New methods of dating and analysis help to pinpoint the makers of these beautiful images, new interpretive models help us understand this art in relation to culture. Identification, conservation and management of rock art sites have become major issues in historical preservation worldwide. And the number of archaeologically attested sites has mushroomed. In this handbook, the leading researchers in the rock art area provide cogent, state-of-the-art summaries of the technical, interpretive, and regional advances in rock art research. The book offers a comprehensive, basic reference of current information on key topics over six continents for archaeologists, anthropologists, art historians, and rock art enthusiasts.
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David S. Whitley is one of the leading North American experts on rock art. A member of the Council of Directors of the ICOMOS Committee on Rock Art and head of a contract archaeology firm, he has published extensively on the subject both at an academic and more popular level. His Art of the Shaman is the definitive work on the subject and only one of his many contributions to rock art research. Whitley has done field work in the U.S., Guatemala, France, and South Africa, and has taught at the University of Witwatersrand and UCLA. He also edits a successful series of readers in theoretical archaeology for Routledge.Review:
A landmark in the development of ... knowledge [in studies of rock art].... An immense literature is covered. (N. James Antiquity)
This 863-page tome presents a comprehensive discussion of rock art research worldwide through a compendium of 24 scholarly essays by as many eminent authorities... [T]he authors of this outstanding compilation present excellent discussions on style, classification, and structure and use various methods--such as semiotic approaches, ethnographic studies, and even neuropsychological approaches--to shine some scientific light on rock art in order to illuminate this difficult subject. (F.G. Bock Choice)
Contributors to Whitley's handbook have demonstrated that rock art studies at the turn of the century are moving towards a more central position in archaeological research. David Whitley has succeeded in producing a volume which summarises the past and sets the state for future rock art research. It is sure to become a recommended student text and a frequently used reference source for practitioners. (June Ross Archaeology In Oceania, Vol 37.1, April 2002)
Rock art specialists and aficionados will want this book; others should take a look. (Robert H. Bates American Anthropologist, Vol 105.1, March 2003)
[O]ffers a diversity of readings for the heavyweight, the student, and the reasonably determined enthusiast. (Sven Ouzman American Antiquity Vol. 68 No. 3 2003)
A landmark in the development of ... knowledge [in studies of rock art].... An immense literature is covered..... (N. James Antiquity)
By publishing this book Whitley has challenged the rock art community and sought to promote and aid the acquisition of new knowledge. Whether this will be achieved depends on the response of that community to addressing the unresolved issues. (Dr. Alan Watchman Rock Art Research)
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