Prehistoric imagery is enigmatic and has been largely overlooked by archaeologists; it is only in the last two decades that it has garnered serious academic attention. This volume addresses this lacuna and discusses visual expression across Neolithic Europe. The papers in this volume result from a meeting of the Neolithic Studies Group on the topic of 'Neolithic visual culture' at the British Museum in November 2010. The intention of the meeting was to assess new studies of rock art from across Britain and Ireland, and to compare these with studies of Neolithic visuality from continental Europe. Here, the scope of the original meeting is widened, and includes further papers to provide a broader context and more coherent analysis of prehistoric expressionism. The volume is organised so that the rock art and passage tomb art traditions of the Neolithic in Britain and Ireland are compared for the first time to the rock art traditions of Northern and Southern Europe, with the mortuary costumes and figurines of South-eastern Europe.
Visualising the Neolithic: an introduction (Andrew Cochrane and Andrew Meirion Jones) Strange Swans and Odd Ducks: Interpreting the Ambiguous Waterfowl Imagery of Lake Onega (Antti Lahelma) `Noble death': images of violence in the rock art of the White Sea (Lila Janik) Reading between the grooves: Regional variations in the style and deployment of `cup and ring' marked stones across Britain and Ireland (Kate Sharpe) Ben Lawers: Carved rocks on a Loud Mountain (Richard Bradley and Aaron Watson) Living rocks: animacy, performance and the rock art of the Kilmartin region, Argyll, Scotland (Andrew Meirion Jones) The halberd pillar at Ri Cruin cairn, Kilmartin, Argyll (Stuart Needham and Trevor Cowie) Painting a picture of Neolithic Orkney: decorated stonework from the Ness of Brodgar (Nick Card and Antonia Thomas) Inside and Outside: Visual culture at Loughcrew, Co Meath (Elizabeth Shee Twohig) The Figurative part of an abstract Neolithic Iconography: hypotheses and directions of research in Irish and British Passage tomb art (Guillaume Robin) Assuming the Jigsaw had only one piece: abstraction, figuration and the interpretation of Irish Passage tomb art (Robert Hensey) Composing the Neolithic at Knockroe (Andrew Cochrane) Lara Bacelar Alves) The Grimes Graves Goddess: an inscrutable smile (Gillian Varndell) The life and death of Linearbandkeramik figurines (Daniela Hofmann) `The `no's' to the left have it!': sidedness and materiality of prehistoric artefacts (Bisserka Gaydarska) The shell, the pin and the earring: Balkan Copper age Mortuary Costumes in Context (John Chapman) Trapped in Postures (Stratos Nanoglou) Discussion: Personality and Neolithic Visual Media (David Robinson)