Robert G. Bednarik auranet@optusnet.com.au

At some point in time it is essential that a scholarly discipline establishes its specialist terminology, and at the dawn of the twenty-first century rock art research reached this stage in its development. In August 1999 the 'Proposed Glossary of Rock Art Research' was published by IFRAO (International Federation of Rock Art Organizations), the result of two years of consultation following the publication of a suggested and very preliminary list of words that might be included in a standardised dictionary of rock art science. Without such a standard, communication would always remain imprecise, and especially in the case of a science would necessarily lead to misunderstandings and needless disagreements.

The IFRAO Rock Art Glossary is the result of further consultation and was published in Rock Art Research in November 2000. It became the terminological basis of the publications of the IFRAO-Brepols series, of the Australian Rock Art Research Association (AURA), and of the other IFRAO-affiliated organisations. It provides a framework of scientific and epistemologically based definitions for terms frequently used by students of palaeoart, but one that was offered for expansion and refinement.

This site is dedicated to the task of enlarging the glossary to a more comprehensive dictionary.

It is envisaged that this goal is best realised by further consultation, and by international discussion and forum-style debate. This site provides a medium for the ongoing expansion of the IFRAO Rock Art Glossary through such debate, consultation and consensus, especially by inter-disciplinary dialogue with the many scientific disciplines that are in some way related to the study of pre-Historic art, including anthropology, archaeology, archaeometry, archaeo-zoology, art history, conservation science, epigraphy, ethnography, geochemistry, geography, geology, geomorphology, heraldry, history, linguistics, megalithic studies and semiotics.

The IFRAO Rock Art Glossary is not the responsibility of this e-group (but of the Editorial Committee within the IFRAO). This e-group will continue the evolution of the e-RockArtGlossary (which is now and then synchronised with the IFRAO Rock Art Glossary).

This site offers debate on the current or proposed e-RockArtGlossary. For those who wish to contribute to the debates there is a message section (Forum) and a file section (Shared Files)where papers and longer proposals can be deposited. These sections can only be accessed by members.

There are also several other facilities for members including a Chat (for live text based discussions), Photo (for examples), Bookmarks and Polls (for vote on proposed terms) section. We are very keen to welcome you and to hear your views on any subject connected with the terminology of palaeoart studies, especially rock art research.


Homepage of the Australian Rock Art Research Association (AURA)


Australian homepage of the International Federation of Rock Art Organisations


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