The social construction of caves and rockshelters: Chauvet Cave (France) and Nawarla Gabarnmang (Australia)

Delannoy, Jean‑Jacques and David, Bruno and Geneste, Jean‑Michel and Katherine, Margaret and Barker, Bryce and Whear, Ray L. and Gunn, Robert G. (2013) The social construction of caves and rockshelters: Chauvet Cave (France) and Nawarla Gabarnmang (Australia). Antiquity: a quarterly review of archaeology, 87 (335). pp. 12-29. ISSN 0003-598X


Caves and rockshelters are a key component of the archaeological record but are often regarded as natural places conveniently exploited by human communities. Archaeomorphological study shows however that they are not inert spaces but have frequently been modified by human action, sometimes in ways that imply a strong symbolic significance. In this paper the concept of 'amenagement', the re-shaping of a material space or of elements within it, is applied to Chauvet Cave in France and Nawarla Gabarnmang rockshelter in Australia. Deep within Chauvet Cave, fallen blocks were moved into position to augment the natural structure known as The Cactus, while at Nawarla Gabarnmang, blocks were removed from the ceiling and supporting pillars removed and discarded down the talus slope. These are hence not 'natural' places, but modified and socially constructed.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Copyright Antiquity Publications Ltd. Published Version restricted in accordance with copyright policy of publisher.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Arts - School of Humanities and Communication
Date Deposited: 15 Apr 2014 11:07
Last Modified: 09 Mar 2015 01:57
Uncontrolled Keywords: Chauvet Cave; Nawarla Gabarnmang; rockshelter; archaeomorphology; amenagement; geomorphological mapping; rock art
Fields of Research : 21 History and Archaeology > 2101 Archaeology > 210101 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Archaeology
16 Studies in Human Society > 1601 Anthropology > 160104 Social and Cultural Anthropology
21 History and Archaeology > 2101 Archaeology > 210105 Archaeology of Europe, the Mediterranean and the Levant
Socio-Economic Objective: E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970121 Expanding Knowledge in History and Archaeology

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