Licia Filingeri and Pietro Gaietto

Genova, Italy, Europe


Currently the prehistoric art is studied with the methods of "history of the art", which are not appropriate for the study of prehistoric art.
In order to realize the uneasiness in which the studies on the prehistoric art are found, it is sufficient to analyze how much have made the other sciences that study the Man.
Paleoanthropology, through the study of fossil remains, gives us a complete picture of the evolutionary process of man all over the world, with continuous updates, as a result of new findings.
Palethnology (material culture) gives us a complete picture from the origins of making artifacts and worldwide, always with continuous updates for the discovery of new sites.
For the prehistoric art, instead, there are not studies of entirety. In order to have a general vision of the prehistoric art, a book does not exist, because a science of the prehistoric art does not exist, and therefore, who wants to be documented, must consult some hundred of books.
Because of this, those who love prehistoric art (scholars, amateurs, and owners of prehistoric art websites) are invited to contribute to the foundation of Paleoarteology.


For who want to participate to the foundation of the "science of the prehistoric art", we give some suggestions about those that could be the methods and the criteria of setting, that, however, can be accepted all or in part; rather, we hope that the participants add many suggestions of theirs based on their experience..

1) The Paleoarteology would have to include the Paleolithic, the Mesolithic, the Neolithic, the Age of Metals, and the Ethnography up to our days. The peoples with writing would remain excluded, pertaining to the "history of the art".

2) Object of study of the Paleoarteology would be the sculpture, the paintings in cave and outside cave, the rock graffiti, the menhir, the dolmen, the first architecture, the decorated tools, the ceramics, etc.

3) Art was produced for worship rituals, that is for the religion. Therefore, in the study, classify it like such; as an example: if it deals with zoomorphic paintings in cave one different from the other, to put it under the voice "magical rituals " or other denomination; if instead it deals with post-paleolithic sculptures with representation of deities always the same, then to use the word " idolatry ". However, the religions are so many as the several types of art, and are all to be interpreted, and will have to be invented some names in order to classify them.

4) Important is the study of styles. The style is the language of art, that is of the representation. As an example, the man near every prehistoric civilization is represented in a different style (lengthened, geometric, with abolition of particular like the features of the face), or the feet, much realistic, etc.).
Therefore, will be necessary to find new denominations for the styles, as the current ones are insufficient; for example: style I, II, III, etc., or schematic style, or stylized, etc.

5) Very important is Linguistics (writing), the most ancient of the sciences. This science does not concern the Prehistory, but it traces the limit of it. An example: recently, in a conference near the International Institute of Ligurian Studies of Genoa, we have known about the inscription of celtic names in etruscan writing on works of prehistoric art of peoples without writing of the northern Italy. Therefore, coexistence of different art and religions, between three peoples in contact, probably for commercial reasons.

6) Regional, continental and intercontinental parallels should be promoted, both in terms of affinity and diversity. For example : Valcamonica, North Italy (130,000 rock graffiti), with a people without writing but specialized in the working of the wrought iron (weapons, tools, etc.). They have been found commercial relations with Mycene (Peloponneso, Greece). Camunians and Myceneans had different religions and different artistic works. The Micenei had sculptures of divinities all the same, therefore "idolatry". Then, coexistence of art and different religions, between two people (civilizations) in contact.

7) Paleoarteology must program the study of the evolution of art. This evolution, however, does not concern all the components of the work of art, that are many. We cite only three of them: the represented subject depends from the religion, therefore if the religion changes, the subject changes; the style, that is the stylistic deformation, does not have evolution, but only transformation, and it does not have quality (at least according to us); the working technique, instead, has evolution, in how much with the time we assist to improvements of the quality of the work of art.
The connections between the works of art of a civilization with those of an other, from which it is thought this one can derive, are not made from the whole of the works of art, but from the various components of every work of art.

8) In order to construct the Paleoarteology it is necessary, also, to review all the prehistoric art studies made in the past, nothing must be considered obsolete, at most, the datings must be reviewed, and the interpretations rediscussed.

9) When publishing photographs of prehistoric art it is necessary to put complete captions that include :
- explanation of the represented subject (example: man with arc, running bull, etc.)
- form of artistic expression (example: sculpture, graffito, etc)
- material used (example: granite, ivory, etc.)
- dating (if it is known)
- attribution of the material culture (example: Mesolithic, Neolithic, etc.)
- measures: height, width, length.
- the people who has produced it (example: Celts, Liguri, etc.)
- the zone of origin (example: Cave of..., Excavations of..., etc.)
- the current location (example: Museum of..., etc)

10) In the publication of photographies of prehistoric art it is necessary to privilege the more meaningful works of a period, instead of more aesthetic ones. First the scientific argument must be there, then the aesthetic appreciation. Also, avoid photographs of only details of the artwork. Each work must be photographed complete, and, for sculptures, if there are images in many parts, they must all be photographed.


1) Who wants to patecipare to the foundation of the Paleoarteology must send his proposals to us, or to communicate if he approves the 10 expressed suggestions or some of these, providing possible modifications or addings. We have been synthetic, but in order to determine exactly the methods, the criteria of classification and to construct a general picture of the evolution of art, it is necessary to amplify much what we have written, and the experience of all is needed.
Writing to us, please say the BELONGING NATION (e.g.: France, Japan, etc), and, if you could summarize the mail from your country. It is important that at least one person from each Nation produce a summary of their Nation's mails.

2) The owners of web sites that have for object totally or partially the prehistoric art, if they wish to participate to the foundation of the Paleoarteology, are authorized to publish this our advice, and to receive the mails from their readers.
These mails will be sent by the several web sites to one or more scholars or amateurs of the Nation to which they belong, who will make a summary of all the letters of their Nation. The web sites must, of course, make contact with each other and with us for the sorting of the mails .

3) Participants' mails must be sent to the sites NO LATER THAN SEPTEMBER 30, 2002.

4) The people in charge of summarizing the mails from each Nation will receive mails whenever they arrive at the websites. These summaries will have to be done WITHIN NOVEMBER 15, 2002, better if before, and will have to be sent to all the websites that deal with them, that, if they want, can begin to publish them. .

5) This program is set up to be SELF MANAGED BY SCHOLARS, AMATEURS AND OWNERS OF WEBSITES OF PREHISTORIC ART, so these summaries will have to be transmitted, through the several web sites, to people that will summarize the mails from every Nation of their Continent, so as to obtain the proposals from AFRICA, AMERICA, ASIA, EUROPE, OCEANIA.

6) A summary of proposals from the five Continents will follow.

7) Participants in the Paleoarteology Foundation, both individuals and websites, will be entered in an Albo in memory of this event.

8) All the results will be published in the Liguria Paleolithic Art Magazine.

9) For further information, and to send the mails with your opinions, please contact:

Prof. Licia Filingeri

Genova, Italy, July 8, 2002

To The Index


Copyright©2000-2002 by Paleolithic Art Magazine, all rights reserved.