Table of Contents
Journal of Archaeology
Volume 2013, Article ID 342801, 6 pages
Review Article

The Visual Brain, Perception, and Depiction of Animals in Rock Art

Department of Archaeology, University of York, Kings Manor, York Y01 7EP, UK

Received 17 May 2013; Accepted 7 July 2013

Academic Editor: Ravi Korisettar

Copyright © 2013 Derek Hodgson. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Several aspects of the depiction of animals in rock art can be explained by certain perceptual correlates relating to the visual brain and evolutionary factors. Recent evidence from neuroscience and the visual brain not only corroborates this claim but provides important new findings that can help delineate which graphic features relate to biological/genetic criteria. In addition to highlighting how the insights from visual science and evolutionary studies can promote a greater understanding of the depictive strategies employed to portray animals, this paper will also explore ways in which the findings from these disciplines can be assimilated with semiotics that provide novel insights into the preference for depicting animals in a particular format over an extended period. The emphasis throughout is placed on dual-inheritance theory where culture and evolutionary determinants are seen as complementary.