Rock Art and Seascapes

Ian McNiven, Liam Brady

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Maritime peoples cosmologically construct seascapes rich in symbolic meaning. Unlike landscapes, seascapes present unique challenges in terms of inscribing meaning and marking places across this fluid realm. A further challenge is the maintenance and expression of a maritime identity whilst on land and not engaging directly with the sea. Strategies to overcome both challenges include symbolic referencing of the sea on the land and the production of marine-themed rock art. Such referencing extends seascapes " inland " and sets a challenge for archaeologists to better understand the place of terrestrial contexts in the construction and maintenance of seascapes and the expression of a maritime identity.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationA Companion to Rock Art
EditorsJo McDonald, Peter Veth
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherBlackwell Publishing
Number of pages21
ISBN (Print)9781444334241
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jul 2012

Publication series

NameBlackwell Companions to Anthropology


  • Aneityumese rock art sites and fishing magic
  • Inscribed landscapes and seascapes, the phenomenological approach
  • Key elements, for an archaeology of rock art and seascapes
  • Maritime identity and marine motif rock art, being far from direct
  • Maritime peoples and seascape construction, rock art and maritime worlds
  • Maritime peoples, reconciling terrestrial spaces with maritime identity
  • Rock art and agency, poststructuralist understandings of material culture
  • Rock art and seascapes, and maritime peoples rich in symbolic meanings
  • Rock art, options limited for practical reasons to intertidal zone on land
  • Seascape rock art, not being the same as coastal rock art


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