Weapons and tools are frequently found depicted in rock art in many parts of the globe and different periods and in varying social contexts. This collection of papers by leading rock art specialists examines the subjective and metaphorical value of weapons and tools in art, the actions that created them, and their contexts. It also takes into account that such representations incorporate and transmit some kind of understanding about the world and the relationship between objects and humans. Contributors analyse objects and weapons as status symbols, as evidences of cultural contacts, as ideological devices, etc. Divided into regional sections which, for once, do not focus on Scandinavia, chapters deal with the representations of weapons and certain kinds of tools (such as axes and sickles) in different prehistoric, protohistoric and traditional community contexts all over the world. Attention focuses on rock art, but also looks at stelae and statue-menhirs, as well as other kinds of ‘container’ or vehicle for this kind of depiction.
The major concern is to discuss the possible meanings of these embodied signs in different areas and periods, since meanings are permeable both to time and space. Papers either centre their attention in broader approaches based on a specific area, region or people, or focus on particular case studies.