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Title: Motifs, monuments and mountains : prehistoric rock art in the Cumbrian landscape
Author: Sharpe, Kate
ISNI:       0000 0004 2696 0499
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2007
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This thesis presents a comprehensive review and analysis of the prehistoric rock carvings in the county of Cumbria in NW England. It builds upon Beckensall's Prehistoric Rock Art in Cumbria (2002), focussing on a substantial study area with diverse topography, and seeking to understand the rock art in relation to the natural landscape and known archaeology, and in the context of rock art traditions in neighbouring regions. Systematic evaluation of the database resulted in the exclusion of several panels of `rock art', which were determined to be of geological origin. Additional panels were sought by increasing public awareness and through direct field-survey, and six new panels were documented. Further examples were identified from literature sources, and all were collated in a revised dataset. From the landscape characteristics of known panels, predictive theoretical models were developed, and areas matching these models were field-surveyed. These demonstrated that the upland rock art tradition of NE England does not appear to cross into Cumbria, and that a very different, outcrop-based practice occurred in the central valleys. GIS was used to explore the updated dataset for relationships between rock art, topography, and archaeology. Three groups of panels with shared characteristics were further investigated, focussing on the materiality of the carved rocks, their accessibility within the landscape, their potential social and religious dimensions, and their extended biographies within multiple contexts. Connections with seasonal expeditions for the procurement of stone were explored and the notion of natural route-ways applied to account for the location of rock art at key communication nodes. Concepts of `natural monuments' and `ancestral art' were also considered, with topographical elements such as rivers and mountains, and natural features like fissures and solution hollows, argued to be integral to a social and sacred landscape, which was signified and enhanced by rock carvings.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available