Embodiment in animic rock art: an example from the Canadian Shield

Author(s): Dagmara Zawadzka

Year: 2017


Perceptions of self and of personhood are fluid within animic ontologies that tend to stress spiritual similarities between humans and non-humans. This fluidity is reflected in concepts of bodies. Bodies endow their owners with particular qualities, perceptual skills, behaviours and ultimately, identities. Beings can transform their bodily appearance, therefore what is perceived by an onlooker does not necessarily correspond to the being that is perceived. In the Canadian Shield, depictions of anthropomorphic bodies range from simple schematic stick figures to elaborate idiosyncratic images where clothing and facial features are indicated. Bodies are also evoked in images of heads, hands and probable vulvas. In this paper I will attempt to shed light on how embodiment was enmeshed within rock art by looking at bodily experiences depicted in rock art; at the effects that rock art could have had on living bodies; and at the importance of the kinetic process of creating rock art for upholding relationships with other-than-human persons. The experiences and motivations that led to the creation of rock art, as well as the process itself, ultimately reveal the agency of rock art.

Cite this Record

Embodiment in animic rock art: an example from the Canadian Shield. Dagmara Zawadzka. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430615)


Geographic Keywords
North America-Canada

Spatial Coverage

min long: -142.471; min lat: 42.033 ; max long: -47.725; max lat: 74.402 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15590