Symbolic behavior at the end of the Paleolithic: a view from Cantabrian region rock art

Author(s): Aitor Ruiz-Redondo

Year: 2017


In the field of graphic activity, the recent Magdalenian (14,500-11,500 BP) is characterized by a homogenizing process along a vast territory in southwestern Europe. It also represents the most splendorous rock art period and, at its end, figurative graphic activity suddenly disappears from Europe for millennia. A representative assemblage of recent Cantabrian Magdalenian rock art sites has been studied. The results of this research led to the discovery of several unpublished figures and reinterpretations of an even larger number of graphic units. Most importantly, they form a body of data large enough to produce statistically significant information. This can be used to define guidelines about the symbolic behavior of the populations that inhabited the Cantabrian region during that period. This communication summarizes the main results and presents a brief discussion about the implications of these data in the social and cultural context of Late Pleistocene populations in southwestern Europe. The conclusions reveal the existence of rich graphic activity that reflects complex societies with large exchange and social networks, including cultural elements within a common realm of ideas that covered many hundreds and even thousands of kilometers at the end of the Pleistocene.

Cite this Record

Symbolic behavior at the end of the Paleolithic: a view from Cantabrian region rock art. Aitor Ruiz-Redondo. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430163)


Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -11.074; min lat: 37.44 ; max long: 50.098; max lat: 70.845 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15940