Wednesday, 19 February 2014

New Publication: My Review of Brian A. Smith and Alan A. Walker's "Rock Art and Ritual" in Time and Mind 7(1)

I've just been informed that academic publishing house Taylor & Francis have published my latest book review over at their website. The review itself critically examines Brian A. Smith and Alan A. Walker's 2011 book Rock Art and Ritual: Mindscapes of Prehistory, in which they discuss the petroglyphs that were carved into the rock face in various parts of the British Isles during the Late Neolithic and Bronze Ages. A sequel to their 2008 book, Rock Art and Ritual: Interpreting the Prehistoric Landscapes of the North York Moors, it outlines their interesting, although very much conjectural, argument that these carvings reflect water symbolism and are furthermore associated with an underworld and the afterlife. I'm sceptical that their ideas can ever be proven, but it does offer us an intriguing possibility as to the belief systems that the people of this island held to five thousand years ago.

The ornate, swirling carvings at the entrance to the Early Neolithic
tomb of Newgrange. Image from Wikimedia.
The rock art of the British Isles is a lesser-known interest of mine, but it is a fascinating topic, and research into it is just beginning to flourish. Long-time readers of this blog might recall that in May 2013 I was part of a small UCL contingent who flew over to the Dordogne in southwestern France to view the Upper Palaeolithic cave art of that region; an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I would not hesitate to recommend.

The review is the first of mine to be published in volume 7, issue 1 of a great peer-reviewed journal, Time and Mind: The Journal of Archaeology, Consciousness and Culture, which is edited by Paul Devereux, whom I hope to feature in my Albion Calling interview series before too long. I've been a subscriber to Time and Mind for about a year now, and I'm happy to say that it's fast become my favourite archaeological journal being produced at the moment. For those with a university affiliation, you can download the review from the Taylor and Francis website here.

No comments:

Post a Comment