Seeing and Knowing Cover

Seeing and Knowing

Rock Art With And Without Ethnography

328 pages

December, 2010

ISBN: 9781868145133



Also available in


Geoffrey Blundell is a Lecturer in the Department of Archaeology and Curator at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.

Christopher Chippindale is a Reader in Archaeology at the University of Cambridge and is Senior Curator at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.

Jean Clottes is internationally renowned scholar and authority on rock art and is now retired.

Margaret W. Conkey is Professor Emerita in the Archaeological Research Facility and Department of Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley.

Edward B. Eastwood was Research Associate of the University of the Witwatersrand's Rock Art Research Institute until his death in 2008.

The depth and wide geographical impact of David Lewis-Williams. 

It is largely through the work of David Lewis-Williams that San rock art has come to be understood so well, as a complex symbolic and metaphoric representation of San religious beliefs and practices. The purpose of this volume is to demonstrate the depth and wide geographical impact of Lewis-Williams' contribution, with particular emphasis on the use of theory and methodology drawn from ethnography that he has used with inspirational effect in understanding the meaning and context of rock art in various parts of the world. Seeing and Knowing explores how to understand and learn from rock art with and without ethnography. Because many of the chapters are based on solid fieldwork and ethnographic research, they offer a new body of work that provides the evidence for differentiation between knowing and simply seeing. This volume is unique in that it focuses exclusively on rock art and ethnography, and covers such a wide geographic range of examples on this topic, from southern Africa, to Scandinavia, to the United States. Many of the chapters explore studies in rock art regions of the world where variation and constancy can be observed and explored across distances both in space and in time. The editors have entitled the book Seeing and Knowing to echo Lewis-Williams' Believing and Seeing published almost thirty years ago; they say 'seeing' again because looking at rock art is and will always be central, and then what is seen when human eyes and minds look; they say 'knowing' in recognition that, by his work and by his example, archaeologists now know a little more than they knew before. Even so, as Lewis-Williams will be the first to say, we still know only a fraction.