Contested Images: diversity in Southern African rock art research by Thomas A. Dowson & David Lewis-Williams
Witwatersrand University Press (January 1, 1994)
Soft Cover, 437 pages
The work of David Lewis-Williams, as it has been developed through the Rock Art Unit at the University of the Witwatersrand, has been seminal in providing a paradigm which places the problems of the interpretation of South African rock art in an entirely new light. This volume brings together the work of a number of scholars in the field of rock art studies who engage the so-called "trance hypothesis" in terms of their own empirical data and theoretical interests. The consensus is that the hypothesis is basically correct, but questions are raised about points of detail and the applicability of the hypothesis to all paintings and engravings. Many of the chapters engage in wider issues that impinge on other disciplines, such as linguistics and folklore studies, and demonstrate the relationship between them and the art. The editors give an overview of the development of rock art studies which aims to provide a contribution to the epistomological problems of this type of research, showing how the approach has been modified in the light of criticisms and new insights.