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Durham University

Department of Archaeology


Publication details for Professor Robin Skeates

R. Skeates (2005). Visual Culture and Archaeology: Art and Social Life in Prehistoric South-East Italy. London: Duckworth.

Author(s) from Durham


This book draws upon the complementary fields of visual culture studies and interpretative archaeology to examine how successive generations transformed their visual culture to construct themselves. It explores this process through an extended case-study of art and social life in prehistoric South-East Italy, between the Upper Palaeolithic and Bronze Age. A central argument is that a wide range of visually communicative artworks were produced and consumed in the cultural process. Such objects range from portable artefacts, to installations within sites, to monumental structures in the landscape, all of which were interwoven with people’s bodies in the experiences of daily life and special performances. More specifically, it is argued that these powerful aesthetic objects were actively used by people, across space and time, to perceive the world around them and to reproduce their social lives. They helped people to establish personal and collective boundaries, identities and relationships, to acquire and exercise power, to promote ideologies, and to contest them, particularly at times of social tension.