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Worshippers and Warriors

Reconstructing gender and gender relations in the prehistoric rock art of Naquane National Park, Valcamonica, Brescia, northern Italy

Lynne Bevan
Publication Year:
215pp. Includes 10 tables, 59 figures, maps, plans, drawings and photographs
ISBN 10:
BAR number:


This study is the first gendered study of the prehistoric rock art of Naquane National Park in Valcamonica, northern Italy. Its purpose is to identify and describe gendered representations and imagery in the rock art of Naquane, in order to reconstruct potential gender roles, gender relations and ritual activities during the Bronze and Iron Age periods. The social role of art in non-western cultures is explored, as well as recent work on gender studies in archaeology and rock art, with a view towards placing the prehistoric rock art of Naquane within a social and cultural context. Gender-specific access to and usage of the rock art sites during successive phases of prehistory is considered and analysis is presented of the possible rituals being portrayedin the rock art and their potential social implications. Discussion also focuses on the social and ritual construction of femininity and masculinity during different chronological periods, as well as upon possible gendered motifs and sexual imagery in the rock art. The study concludes with a discussion of the incidence of over-carving and the incorporation of earlier images into later rock art panels, considering potential reasons why certain earlier carvings were actively curated among the predominantlymale-orientated Iron Age rock art.