CeSMAP - Centro Studi e Museo d'Arte Preistorica
Pinerolo, Italy

Here follows the Alice Springs Symposium "Rock Art, Education and Ethics" rationale :

International Rock Art Congress - IRAC 2000
Alice Springs, Australia - 10 to 14 July 2000



Dario SEGLIE - CeSMAP, Italy
Co-Chair : To be announced

2000 International Rock Art Congress at Alice Springs
to be held in Australia - July 10 to 14 2000

Rock art is an enormous accumulation of data on human spiritual activities, the early expression of consciousness, and it is part of the cultural heritage of mankind, accumulating progressively in the course of civilization.From the end of World War II the discipline of Rock Art  reserch and Cognitive Archaeology studies has begun to emerge and, particularly during the last quarter of the century, the interest in Rock Art has greatly increased all over the world.The number of scholars similarly grown, and, thanks to the mass media, the public has become  attracted and charmed by the themes connected with the art of origins or "palaeoart".Unfortunately, the increased use of this prime source of knowledge has not been mutched  with a   corrisponding awareness of its extreme intrinsic fragility. Rock Art sites are often "sacrificed" to a new cultural tourism, which submits them to stress and to an accelerated decay and destruction.Environmental pollution, acid rains, forest fires,  and the environmental macro-modifications brought by men to the natural landscape, building roads, long distance power lines, ski lifts and cable ways, dams and water basins, railways, tunnels and others, are further tthreats to Rock Art.

Therefore the problems of preservation, conservation and protection of the Rock Art heritage   – paintings and petrogliphs on rock surfaces,  situated outdoors or under shelter – is the most urgent to tackle and to solve today.Concurrently, we have the problem of the quality and the growing of the research, of the site’s locating,  recording, filing, publication and diffusion of all information on Rock Art.These problems require new methodological strategies, the education of new generations of researchers and a renewed ethical code..

The urgency of this world work project, which we may say   will take several decades, requires the commitment  of the institutions in terms of energies and finances.Public’s education on Rock Art means ‘preventive conservation’; it may prevent the destruction by an anthropic impact.

Specific issues:

Exploitation and use
Management of sites
Teachers’ training
Technicians’ training
Publication and mass media

With the scientific research problem, we have also the problem of preserving, exploiting and making a good use of the Rock Art heritage, with a particular regard to the educational staff (guides and keepers) and to the professional updating of teachers of each order and degree; it is moreover necessary to introduce a specific curriculum in the schools’ world.

Educational Problem for  Rock Art culture managers, reasearchers and teachers: Rock Art  doesn’t always find its right place in the projects of the eco-territorial museums; this involves as consequences the lack of professional figures, the lack of structures and instruments to survey, to classify, to protect, to preserve and to valorise Rock Art.This also derives from the fact that we have not enough didactic structures set to these goals.

Therefore we think it is legitimate to explore all the possibilities offered by the educational structures already existing.

Schools today, taken in their broadest sense, should be privileged places characterised by a profound interaction between teachers and learners. Schools must be able to open up themselves to the continuing change in society, and they should be able to significantly control the process of change.Through the use of the environment as a resource, schools must become open institutions, which have a formidably equipped laboratory at hand, practically free of charge: the environment.School must learn to use this pedagogical/didactic supermarket as a source of information and to have an innovative task: the repossessing of anthropological culture, of individual and group identity, social identity on the part of all human beings.

The IFRAO World Congress is an opportunity that should not be missed. It will be held by AURA from 10 to 14 July 2000 at Alice Springs, Australia.

All the sections of the Congress are important if you want to understand the cultural value of Rock Art as the expression of the most ancient sign of man’s spirituality.

The "Rock Art Education" Symposium has been treated in sessions held at the International Rock Art Congresses at Pinerolo/Italy (1995), Swakopmund/Namibia (1996), Cochabamba/Bolivia (1997), Vila Real, Portugal (1998), Ripon, USA (1999). In particular this Symposium is aimed at teachers, scholars, journalist, researchers, students, and will offer the opportunity to compare methodology, experiences, programmes and projects in the field of cultural heritage, and its links to teaching and education, so as to plot and define the role of schools in forming the conscience of young people; hopefully their sense of civic duty and their solid scientific background will make up the strongest factor in the protection, conservation and appreciation of the cultural heritage that Rock Art  research, discovers and consign to future generations.

The environment in general, and Rock Art in particular, should be ethically considered as something we have borrowed from our children rather than inherited from our parents.All over the world, teachers and schools, associations, institutes, parks, museums, can play a fundamental role in Rock Art education, in trying to win this challenge for the Man’s progress.

Please, send me your ideas, opinions, abstracts and papers.

Yours sincerely,

Prof. Dr. Dario Seglie.

Abstracts of papers should be submitted to
the chairperson, Professor Dario Seglie (Director CeSMAP, IFRAO-UNESCO Liaison Officer)
Tel. ++39 0121 794382 Fax. ++39 0121 75547 E-mail : CeSMAP@cesmap.it