To the delight of archaeologists and laypeople alike, our ancestors have been driven to doodle for at least 30,000 years. From charcoal drawings of woolly rhinos locking horns by Ice Age Remingtons to these 500-year-old stencils of hands, axes, and boomerangs by Aborigines in the Central Queensland Highlands of Australia, rock art serves as a window into the world of earlier cultures. In Contemporary Approaches to World Rock Art , archaeologist Mike Morwood of the University of New England in Armidale, Australia, and colleagues present images from around the world (although it's heavy on Aboriginal art from Australia) and describe the science of rock art. Classic approaches to studying ancient civilizations rely on artifacts sturdy enough to have survived to the present day. Rock art helps fill out this record, depicting trappings of culture otherwise lost to the ages: feathered headdresses, belts, skirts, hair and beard styles, quivers and bows, and plants and skins. Follow links to visit rock art sites around the world.
Science News Staff