Conceptual and Technical Connectivity in Indigenous South American Rock Art Traditions

Author(s): Phil C. Riris

Year: 2017


Archaeologists have long sought to explain the distribution of rock art traditions across Amazonia and circum-Amazonia with reference to stylistic variability in the iconography, often as a proxy for exploring shared concepts of symbolic representation, mediated through local cultural norms. Where it has been possible, cross-referencing this kind of data with the ethnographic and archaeological records has engendered valuable new interpretations of indigenous symbolic repertoires in a variety of settings. As more systematic research takes place, comparative syntheses of rock art have begun to emerge that hint at the true scope of a variety of traditions, providing tantalizing evidence of the extent that rock art is bound up in the exchange of other categories of culture, both material and ideational, across time and space. Building upon these trajectories, this paper will outline some new suggestions for how rock art, and perhaps indigenous iconography more generally, may be formally investigated along the axes of technical and iconographic variability. Methodological and conceptual challenges are identified in order to suggest the steps which may be taken to mitigate them. In doing so, the ultimate goal will be to connect disparate datasets by adapting cross-disciplinary methods to the study of indigenous art.

Cite this Record

Conceptual and Technical Connectivity in Indigenous South American Rock Art Traditions. Phil C. Riris. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429515)


Geographic Keywords
South America

Spatial Coverage

min long: -93.691; min lat: -56.945 ; max long: -31.113; max lat: 18.48 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16772