21 August 2012

Artists' rectification of natural forms: da Piacenza, Italy, finds by rock art investigator Luigi Chiapparoli suggest a vibrant local prehistoric tradition

da Piacenza, Italy, hand held rock art find by Luigi Chiapparoli

Luigi Chiapparoli investigates portable and fixed stone art at da Piacenza, Italy, where he found this left-front portrait.

Mother nature has delivered an inspiring form which required a few flake removals to "rectify" it, to disambiguate it visually with a couple of tweaks. The artist created the facial plane with top of nose,  and cheek, the right eye in sunken relief and the left eye in raised relief. A seemingly creative 3 level staggered rock surface treatment. The person's head and face has a female appearance to this author. The portrait may be taken as 'on the back' of a bird-like figure. The neck truncation may also be seen as the abrupt end to the tail feathers on the bird figure. Is this woman dead? Asleep? In mournful anguish?

The context Luigi has established suggests she could have been manufactured, or recognized and curated, in a culturally mediated tradition. Here is a direct link to a similar "face in anguish" from da Piacenza identified by Luigi in releif work on a large fixed boulder.

Are these faces of humanity pre-certified to so obviously have been formed and deposited by the forces of natural chaos to not be worthy of scientific evaluation, as mainstream anthropology would continue to have it? Or, could they provide prehistoric cultural information which is otherwise being forsaken at this time?

"Archaeologists must also realize the bias they may have. As anthropologists, they must strive to view a culture in relative terms to how that culture they are studying viewed the world. This is known as "cultural relevatism" where we can not judge a culture on the basis of our own values. Again we can turn to Jeremy Sabloff for some insights and a reminder of how important it is to minimize bias:
In recent years, some scholars have been casting a critical eye at how Western culture has influenced the thinking of archaeologists. Clearly, archaeologists are not unbiased observers of the past, collecting completely objective data about the archaeological record. It was not too long ago, for example, that Maya archaeologists did not "see" peasant house mounds because they were not perceived as "important." And we can be certain that archaeologists in the not-too-distant future will shake their heads in disbelief at some of the assumptions and procedures of contemporary scholars."
from- How is Archaeology Science?

Photo (c) Copyright Luigi Chiapparoli (ldp), All rights reserved.


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