Current Students

Barbara Oosterwijk

Hand and finger marks (HFM’s) such as hand stencils and lines, dots and striations left behind by the fingers, occur worldwide on the walls of caves and natural rock outcrops, most notably in France and Spain. Notably, HFM’s can be distinguished from later Palaeolithic art in which ice age animals were depicted, because they literally form an extension of the human body. Therefore, HFMs can be characterized, innovatively, as embodied art; a new scientific concept in archaeology. Little attention has been paid to embodied art, and formal research is almost completely lacking. I aim to remedy this imbalance. Recently it has come to light that human actors began to extend body ornamentation to hard surfaces before 40,000 years ago. Thus HFM’s define the earliest, non-figurative phase of human art. This research will for the first time address Neanderthal rock art, from a genuinely multidisciplinary perspective that aims to provide insight into marks that literally embody the connection between people, human bodies and the landscape.

Supervisory Team: Prof. Paul Pettitt, Archaeology (Durham), Prof. Mark White, Archaeology (Durham).

Start Date: October 2018