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Ancient Saharan Art – Decoding Art through Theoretically-sounded Archive


Rock art is one of the most fascinating and widespread cultural manifestations of humankind: it offers a unique and significant visual archive into the social and symbolic worlds of past human societies. Yet, the integration of rock art studies within the archaeological and anthropological domain faces crucial challenges. The complexity of documentation and publication, as well as of dating, have hampered its immense potential as archaeological source. The lack of a theoretically sound interpretive perspective, linking local peculiarities with general overviews has reduced its powerful capacity of transmitting human thoughts and emotions. This is particularly true for the Sahara, where outstanding paintings and engravings are now inaccessible for security reasons, at risk of destruction,

ASArt-DATA aims to provide a flexible tool for the in-depth analysis of the corpus of the Saharan rock art, produced by the pastoral communities ca. 6300-850 BCE. Relying on the complete archive of Acacus and Messak (SW Libya), and on other sets of data, for the first time this Rock Art will be investigated with an original multidisciplinary and systematic approach combining Archaeology, Anthropology, Visual Studies, and Digital Humanities. A cornerstone of ASArt-DATA will be the building of the open access webAtlas of Saharan rock art , properly customized for scientific research, CRM, dissemination and communication. Through the intensive theoretical training in Art iconography, a sound and innovative method of exploration of the artworks will be applied, and codes of representation will be reconnected with their geographical, environmental and archaeological context. The analysis will follow a bottom-up approach, with a main focus on human representation. The actions of ASArt-DATA aspire to strengthen the connection between archaeological and anthropological studies and between academy and society, thanks to the deployment of the underdeveloped potential of Rock Art.


€ 244 269,00
Piazzale Aldo Moro 5
00185 Roma

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Centro (IT) Lazio Roma
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
€ 244 269,00

Partner (1)