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Deciphering The Meaning of Stone Age Rock Art (Video)


Prehistoric rock art presents a fascinating challenge for archaeologists seeking to decipher its meaning. Stone Age rock carvings in Scotland offer valuable insights into ancient cultures, including spiral designs that were particularly important. These intricate patterns, found in both Orkney and Portugal, may suggest a connection between distant societies. Spiral designs held significant cultural and symbolic importance for ancient peoples. They potentially represented a connection between the earthly and spiritual realms or symbolized the cyclical nature of life and death. The creation of prehistoric rock art involved using stone tools to carve or peck into rock surfaces. This process required skill, patience, and an understanding of available materials and tools.

In Scotland's Kilmartin Glen, the dominant prehistoric rock art motifs are cup and ring designs. These circular depressions and concentric rings have sparked various interpretations, ranging from celestial bodies to spiritual rituals or land division markers. While deciphering the true meaning of prehistoric rock art remains challenging, ongoing research and technological advancements are providing new insights. Photogrammetry and 3D scanning techniques are helping unravel the mysteries of these ancient visual languages, bringing us closer to understanding our distant past and the diverse cultures that once thrived.

Top image: Cup and ring prehistoric rock art. Source: Dmitry Naumov / Adobe Stock.

By Robbie Mitchell

Robbie Mitchell's picture


I’m a graduate of History and Literature from The University of Manchester in England and a total history geek. Since a young age, I’ve been obsessed with history. The weirder the better. I spend my days working as a freelance... Read More

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