Rock Art and the Wild Mind presents a study of Mesolithic rock art on the Scandinavian peninsula, including the large rock art sites in Alta, Nämforsen and Vingen.
Hunters’ rock art of this area, despite local styles, bears a strong commonality in what it depicts, most often terrestrial big game in diverse confrontations with the human realm. The various types of compositions are defined as visual thematizations of the enigmatic relationship between humans and big game animals. These thematizations, here defined as motemes, are explained as being products of the Mesolithic mind ‘in action’, observed through repetitions, variations and transformations of a number of defined motemes. Through a transformational logic, the transition from ‘animic’ to ‘totemic’ rock art is observed. Totemic rock art reaches a peak during the final stages of the Late Mesolithic, and it is suggested that this can be interpreted as representing an increasing focus on human society towards the end of this era. The move from animism to totemism is explained as being part of the overall social development on the Scandinavian peninsula.
This book will be of interest to students of rock art generally and scholars working on the historical developments of prehistoric hunter-gatherers in northern Europe. It will also appeal to students and academics in the fields of art history and aesthetics and to those interested in the work of Lévi-Strauss.
Table of Contents
0/ ARCHAIC MEETINGS – A PROLOGUE; 1/ OBJECT AND OBJECTIVES; 2 / THE SETTING; 3/ NORTHERN EUROPEAN HUNTERS’ ROCK ART – PRODUCTS OF THE ‘WILD MIND’ IN ACTION; 4 / THE ‘KEY MOTEME’ AND ITS TRANSFORMATIONS: VISUAL PATHS OF A LATE MESOLITHIC ANALOGICAL LOGIC; 5 / MEDIATING NATURE AND CULTURE OR, BODY DESIGN IN THE EASTERN NORWEGIAN GROUP OF HUNTERS’ ROCK ART; 6 / DESIGN PATTERNS AS AN AUTONOMOUS SYSTEM OF REFERENCES; 7 / APPROACHING ROCK ART THROUGH ANIMISM AND TOTEMISM; 8/ "MEASURING" THE TOTEMIC IMPACT; 9/ THE MAPPING OF DESIGN PATTERNS OR, FRAGMENTS OF A TOTEMIC GEOGRAPHY; 10/ THE LATE MESOLITHIC ’LINES OF CONTACT’; 11 / LATE MESOLITHIC SEXE IN ROCK ART; 12 / ANIMISM AND TOTEMISM THROUGH TIME, AND THE INTRODUCTION OF THE SYMBOLIC GIFT
Ingrid Fuglestvedt is a senior lecturer in archaeology at the University of Oslo, Norway.
'Organised into 12 well-crafted chapters, the book is unlike many other studies of rock art in that it delves deep into the mindset of the artist and the community he or she would have served... The book's theoretical basis provides the reader with numerous discussion points, and will be of use to scholars researching prehistoric hunter-fishergatherer archaeology in northern Europe (as well as prehistoric rock art, of course).'
George Nash, Current World Archaeology, 2018
"The methodologies of research displayed in this book, both on theoretical and practical levels, are of tremendous inspiration for all the experts in the field; thanks to this research, there are now increased possibilities to find new ‘meanings’ for the art of past human groups, if investigated with the scrupulousness, deep attention and philological cure that Prof. Fuglestvedt demonstrated in her volume."
Gianpiero Di Maida, Graduate School Human Development in Landscapes, 2019