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Community Art: Communities of Practice, Situated Learning, Adults and Children as Creators of Cave Art in Upper Palaeolithic France and Northern Spain

Liliana Janik / Jessica Cooney Williams
Published Online: 2018-05-12 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opar-2018-0014


This paper presents acts of fluting as tangible expressions of activities performed by Palaeolithic communities of practice, in which situated learning was part of the social transmission of knowledge and communities of practice include children, men and women. To identify individual members of the communities of practice who were involved in the creation of parietal art in the Franco-Cantabrian region we have analysed the age and the sex of the people who ‘decorated’ the caves. Secondly, by following the analysis of lines created by flutings by different members of the community of practice, we suggest that children under the age of seven, who had no the cognitive abilities to comprehend the meaning of images, were active and prolific fluters and performed acts of decorating cave walls by themselves or with the support of other community members. This approach allows us to consider parietal art as community art where visual contributions were created by community members of all age and sexes.

Keywords : Palaeolithic art; community of practice; situated learning


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About the article

Received: 2017-06-30

Accepted: 2018-03-01

Published Online: 2018-05-12

Citation Information: Open Archaeology, Volume 4, Issue 1, Pages 217–238, ISSN (Online) 2300-6560, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opar-2018-0014.

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