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Durham e-Theses
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Grammatical Complexity in the Sanctuary Engravings at Les Trois-Frères

WHEELER, HECTOR,FRANK,LEMPRIERE (2022) Grammatical Complexity in the Sanctuary Engravings at Les Trois-Frères. Masters thesis, Durham University.

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The figurative depictions from the Magdalenian parietal art of Les Trois-Frères cave have been used as a small investigative sample to analyse the presence of grammatical structures that may underpin the 97 animal representations from the four panels studied. A database of measurements was created for the anatomical dimensions of each representation and their respective categories of species, orientation, behaviour, panel and completeness. Very few combinations of co-occurrences that would have constituted a grammatical structure were found through a panel-by-panel analysis of the data. The dominant trends overall were that most were engraved by artists/authors who had a dominant right hand. This included both instances of anthropomorphs (one of which being the famous ‘sorcerer’) and dangerous or powerful beings depicted throughout the panels (bear and rhinoceros). Because grammar could not be found through statistical analysis, an alternative hypothesis as to what produced variations in the cave’s art was put forward, examining the engravings from a more aesthetic perspective. This introduced the idea that the negative space of a ‘central animal’ was being appropriated and respected by multiple depictions around it, putting forward the case that aesthetic interactions between animals were effecting multiple dimensions of their depictions.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Archaeology, Department of
Thesis Date:2022
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:26 Oct 2022 08:50

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