On the methodology of studying palimpsests in rock art: The case of the shalabolino rock art site, krasnoyarsk territory

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This article addresses the main problems in assessing the stratigraphy of superimpositions in rock art. When a petroglyph is overlain by one or several others, this may provide important chronological information not only about single images but also about entire stylistic traditions. Existing methods used for evaluating the relative chronology of the parts of petroglyphic palimpsests are discussed, and a new approach is proposed, combining high-resolution three-dimensional visualization at the macro level with traceological analysis. The article focuses on the characteristics of the pecked surface in the area outside the palimpsest and that of the overlap zone. The comparison of these parts makes it possible to reveal the traceologically informative features in the palimpsest areas, indicating the sequence of superimposed petroglyphs. This approach is illustrated by the analysis of one of the palimpsests at the Shalabolino rock art site in the Krasnoyarsk Territory. Images representing various stylistic traditions are stratigraphically associated in a complex way. The sequence of three main figures (the bear, bull, and elk) in this multilayered composition has been reconstructed. The results of the analysis cannot be used as an argument for attributing these petroglyphs to vastly different chronological periods. Rather, they provide new information relevant to the debate over the age of the Angara and Minusinsk petroglyphic styles in the Minusinsk Basin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-102
Number of pages10
JournalArchaeology, Ethnology and Anthropology of Eurasia
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019


  • 3d
  • Krasnoyarsk territory
  • Palimpsest
  • Petroglyphs
  • Photogrammetry
  • Rock art
  • Shalabolino rock art site
  • Traceology
  • photogrammetry
  • 3D
  • petroglyphs
  • Krasnoyarsk Territory
  • traceologv
  • palimpsest

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