A Phenomenological Study of the Prehistoric Rock Art Tradition of central-western Thailand

A Phenomenological Study of the Prehistoric Rock Art Tradition of central-western Thailand
Victoria N. Scott

Summary

This study investigates the untheorised rock art tradition of prehistoric central-western Thailand. Of the research undertaken in the region, its rock art is generally dealt with within a processual framework of analysis; its contextual attributes are largely ignored. Phenomenology, art and agency, and metaphor form the theoretical foundations on which this study is grounded. It phenomenologically explores relationships between the rock art, the landscape and the human body in respect of the ways in which the human subject engages, corporeally and sensorially, with the rock art and its surroundings. The study then goes on to analyse the art in detail, exploring the possible significance and meanings attached to the motifs. Metaphor theory assists in finding meaning in all of these aspects. Finally, an ethnographic analysis explores how the rock art and landscape are negotiated by contemporary occupiers of the region. These lines of enquiry offer a deeper understanding of the relationships between the rock art, the landscape and of those who produced, engaged and interacted with the sites and their images.

Through a multi-sensory and bodily engagement with the rock art and landscape this study reveals that the rock art of central-western Thailand are the material traces of a prehistoric cosmological belief system that was actively incorporated into their rock art tradition, the experiential qualities of the landscape, rock art sites and their images.

Author

Victoria N. Scott

Defended in

2019

PhD defended at

University College London (UCL), Anthropology Department

Specialisation

Social Sciences

Region

Southeast Asia
Thailand

Theme

Archaeology
Art and Culture