Archaeomorphological Mapping: Rock Art and the Architecture of Place

Jean-Jacques Delannoy, Bruno David, Robert George Gunn, Jean-Michel Geneste, Stephane Jaillet

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Understanding the rock art of a cave or rock shelter requires positioning the art in its landscape setting. This involves both spatial and temporal dimensions because a site’s layout changes through time, necessitating an examination of site formation processes. In this chapter, the authors present a new approach—archaeomorphology—that unites archaeological and geomorphological methods to explore the history of the objects and spaces that make up a site. Archaeomorphological mapping allows researchers to track through time the changing configuration of sites, including rock surfaces, the morphogenic forces at work, and, with this, the changing spatial contexts of the art on its surfaces. Archaeomorphology shifts attention away from the site as a ‘natural’ canvas
upon which inscriptions were made to its social engagement as an actively constructed architectural and performative space.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology and Anthropology of Rock Art
EditorsBruno David , Ian J. McNiven
Place of PublicationOxford UK
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9780190607364
ISBN (Print)9780190607357
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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