Not currently offered

Credit points: 15

Subject outline

The appearance of art in the archaeological record has often been said to herald the appearance of our species, behaviourally modern human. In this subject, students explore the art and symbolic behaviour of past human societies. We investigate the earliest expressions of art; its chronology and the various interpretations of why art appeared at the time it did in the archaeological record and it covers the time from over 100,000 years ago up until the Neolithic period. Art is examined in its variety, form and iconic content and we seek to determine common themes of humanity. Theoretical aspects of the interpretation of ancient art by various practitioners are discussed and we examine the links between the changing environment and humans through the images preserved in the archaeological record. A global approach is taken using examples from Australia, Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas

SchoolHumanities and Social Sciences

Credit points15

Subject Co-ordinatorRichard Cosgrove

Available to Study Abroad/Exchange StudentsYes

Subject year levelYear Level 2 - UG

Available as ElectiveYes

Learning ActivitiesEach week a film on rock art of a region of the world will be shown. Focus on discussion and exercises relevant to that topic.  Assessed through the exam and peerwise questions. Class discussions.  Peerwise questions. One 1-hour examination 30% Essay. Group discussions and presentation in class (as part of the 1000-word assignment) of main issues on the weekly theme. Choose a rock art site and describe the images in terms of techniques, size, character, form and structure. Examples of the use of imagery and rock art in different societies to provide analogies for explanation of the role and purpose of ancient art.  Assessed through an essay, and in-class assignment.

Capstone subjectNo

Subject particulars

Subject rules

Prerequisites Students must have completed at least 60 credit points at first year, or obtain the subject coordinators permission


Incompatible subjectsARC2ASA

Equivalent subjectsN/A

Quota Management StrategyN/A

Quota-conditions or rulesN/A

Special conditionsN/A

Minimum credit point requirementN/A

Assumed knowledgeN/A

Career Ready


Work-based learningNo

Self sourced or Uni sourcedN/A

Entire subject or partial subjectN/A

Total hours/days requiredN/A

Location of WBL activity (region)N/A

WBL addtional requirementsN/A

Graduate capabilities & intended learning outcomes

Graduate Capabilities

Intended Learning Outcomes

01. Draw on theoretical and methodological literature to develop and answer research questions about comparative rock art from a region or locality.
02. Integrate and understand the theoretical approaches, methodology and research questions appropriate to the evidence from rock art site across the globe.
03. Present findings of analysis of rock art images in discussion groups, identifying the methods, styles and locations of the sites.
04. Understand the various cultural attributes & customs of contemporary societies through investigations of the rock art contained within the archaeological record.

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