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The Study of Finger Flutings

  • Kevin Sharpe (a1) (a2) and Leslie Van Gelder (a3)

Archaeologists have usually glossed over parietal finger flutings, especially non-figurative and non-symbolic lines. This article develops a nomenclature and defines four forms to provide a descriptive structure from which to build analyses. It then develops methods for such investigations, using experiments and studies of physiology to derive information about the fluters from the flutings. The methods are applied to each of the four forms of fluting, showing which approaches may be most useful for each form. Broader questions and applications are touched on, including approaches to meaning, figures, and other families of parietal markings such as hand stencils. This approach to flutings augments other approaches to prehistoric ‘art’ by seeking to know about the artists themselves, their gender, age, size, handedness, and the number of individuals involved in creating a panel.

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Cambridge Archaeological Journal
  • ISSN: 0959-7743
  • EISSN: 1474-0540
  • URL: /core/journals/cambridge-archaeological-journal
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