Licia Filingeri , Pietro Gaietto

Genova, Italy, November, 19 2002

In date July, 8 2002 we have sent to scholars everywhere in the world an appeal for the foundation of the "science of the prehistoric art" (the text is published here in the News).
The reached answers have been 52, not little, and perhaps this number is greater of that one of those who, in the second half of the Eight hundred century, founded the Palethnology.
To the appeal have answered from Europe, Australia and North America , while from the other zones of the world we have not had answer.



We had proposed the Paleoarteology name, instead has prevailed the name ARCHEOARTEOLOGY, deduced from approximately 10% of the suggestions.
The scholars who have introduced personal proposals, and that we have added to those previously formulated, have been approximately 25% of the total of those who have answered to the inquiry.
The scholars who have accepted the proposed text, have been approximately 30%.
The scholars who have written to us to be informed about the outcome, but without to give suggestions, approximately 35%.


The civilizations with writing are excluded, therefore the search fields result the following:
lower and middle Paleolithic from 2,500,000 to 40,000 years
duration 2,460,000 years................................................................ 98,32%
upper Paleolithic from 40,000 to 10,000 years
duration 30,000 years........................................................................ 1,20%
Mesolithic, Neolithic, Metals Age from 10,000 to 1000 years..........0,36%
Ethnography from 1000 years B.C. to 2000 years a.D.....................0,12%

1) The sculpture of the lower and middle Paleolithic can be looked for in Europe, Africa and Asia.
The sculpture of the middle Paleolithic, perhaps, also in America and Oceania.
The search can happen in surface layers, even if it is hoped to find sculptures in sites, that allow the absolute dating. This is the longer period, in which the prehistoric art is less known.
2) In the upper Paleolithic and the post-paleolithic ages, according to a census of the UNESCO 15 years ago, rock engravings (paintings in cave and shelters under rock, engravings and graffiti on cliff) have been estimated in beyond 20 millions of typologies
With these typologies, so abundant, the study is more important that the search of new sites. To the contrary, the sculpture search would be intensified, in how much is less frequent than the Rock Art, being many sculptures gone destroyed. A search would have to be made also in museum storerooms.


1) The system mostly used until today, is practically equal to that one adopted in the study of the art of the historical civilizations, and therefore insufficient for the prehistory, but, however, valid for who studies a circumscribed civilization; consequently, it will continue to be.
2) The prehistory has been studied nearly totally in the material culture. The art will have to be studied in its contents of spiritual culture, in order to equilibrate our knowledges about the Man. Currently (average of the recent Palethnology books), material culture (tools, etc.) occupies about 97%, while the spiritual culture (art, etc.) occupies approximately 3%.
It is to wish that the archeoarteology leads the spiritual culture until 60%, and consequently the material culture until 40%; however, the studies about the material culture do not have some damage from it, and continue their course; instead, the study of the art must increase and supply new material for the knowledge of the spiritual culture of prehistoric man.
3) The prehistoric art must be subdivided and studied in its components, that are six:
--stylistic language,
--technique of working,
--employed material,
--hypothesized rituals.

The SUBJECT can be anthropomorphic, zoomorphic or zooanthropomorphic, and in the prehistory it is identified with the religion, whose hypothesized cults are of many types, and are interpreted with historical and ethnographic comparisons.
The subject, if it is repetitive, is more certain to be interpreted than rare subjects.
In a civilization, if the religion changes, can change the represented subject.

The STYLISTIC LANGUAGE is extremely important, in how much is the fashion in making art of a civilization in a given place and a given time. A man or an animal can be carved or painted in one hundred different ways, in one hundred different civilizations.
Style transforms, but it doesn't evolve, and it has no quality..

The WORKING TECHNIQUE is important to know, in particular for the lithic sculpture of the lower and middle Paleolithic, in order to discriminate the true from the false.
Who knows the technique of working of the lithic tools, has no difficulty in recognizing the sculpture of the lower and middle Paleolithic, obviously if he initiates looking for it, specializing in it.
The working technique is the only component of the art that has progress, that is that evolves and is perfected.

The USED MATERIAL, as an example in sculpture, can be hard stone or soft stone, therefore with various techniques of working. The terracotta has technique of working different from the stone, but the represented subject can be equal. Moreover, a type of stone not present in zone, and circumscribed to the single sculpture, can indicate that the sculpture comes from far away.

The SIZE is not only useful to indicate in photography, but is deeply indicative of the use that was made of a sculpture. In fact, a small sculpture that stays in the palm of the hand is personal and transportable, while a great sculpture is presumed to be a public monument, like some anthropomorphic menhirs.

The HYPOTHESIZED USE IN THE RITUALS: the works of art in the prehistory were produced for cult rituals, in the same manner as the tools were produced for the preparation of the food or the hunting. Two examples, for the tools and the works of art:
--A Production of the tool.
--B Tool (as we find it).
--C USE of the tool in the preparation of the food.
--D Consummation of the FOOD.

--A Production of the work of art .
--B Work of art (as we find it).
-- C USE of the work of art in the cult ritual.
--D) Contact with the DEITY.

4) It is important to study the evolution of the prehistoric art, from its more ancient to most recent phases (as made for the prehistoric tools), and the study must be made for every component of the art.
5) It is important to begin the study about the affinities and the differences, between different shapes of prehistoric art of different civilizations in different territories. As an example: in the protohistory there have been people who have etched on the mountain cliffs much different subjects , while in other zones, at the same time, people who have produced in sculpture only some anthropomorphic subjects, always the same, that are interpreted like deities.
Therefore, two different religions, two different artistic applications, two different traditions, of which we must research the common origin.
6) In the study of prehistoric art it is important to abolish aesthetic values, which must remain a subjective appreciation; therefore, do not publish the works considered most beautiful, but those most significant in the study of the use of art in cult rituals.


When, in the second half of the Eight hundred century, has been founded the Palethnology, still the prehistoric art was not been discovered ; the prehistoric man was imagined like a monkey, and as such he was represented in the illustrations of books and magazines.
This being was considered "man", in how much manufactured stone tools, but a man "without spirituality". Therefore, has been studied only the material culture, that besides has given very good results, as the chronology of the prehistory, made by the palethnologists, is the only that, according to our knowledges, seems possible.
The original formulation of the Palethnology is continued until today, excluding the spiritual culture, therefore it cannot more represent in "exclusive manner" the studies on the prehistoric civilizations.
By some participants to the Call was proposed the following composition of the "new Palethnology":


tools, rests of food, dwelling-places,
ceramics, that is applied art etc...........material Culture
orientation, calendar, etc..................... material Culture
rituals of cult with stars,etc.................. spiritual Culture
sculpture, paintings, menhir,
temples, rituals of cult, etc....................spiritual Culture
funeral equipments, graves,
dolmens etc...........................................spiritual Culture
research about behaviors....................spiritual Culture

It is probable, that the today's palethnologists will not like the term archaeomatteriology; the term can also be another one, but the science must be renewed periodically, also in the names.


The method and the trend, that have been in agreement, allow a greater exchange of opinions between scholars of prehistoric art, in how much wide a lot the search field.
The scholars, who in the world are isolate, today have the possibility, through the Web, to have relations with other scholars of prehistoric art, and therefore to come out of isolation.
It is necessary to be aware of the importance of the study of prehistoric art, where there is still much to discover, as we know almost nothing about spiritual life.

The archeoarteology is born in order to join the scholars.
It is hoped that also scholars of other disciplines of the "new" palethnology undertake studies on the prehistoric art.

The archeoarteology will be able to become an official science when, through conventions and meetings, exchanges on common problems will be possible among a larger number of scholars.

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