Rockart Vocabulary 

 abstract design: a category of designs which are not animal/human. Geometric designs can also be abstract. 

additive technology: the process for creating art in which material is added to an original source in order to create the final product. 

archaeologist: someone who studies the artifacts and sites that past humans left behind. 

artifact: an object made of used by a person, such as a stone tool. 

culture: a set of beliefs, values, and way of life shared by most members of a society. It can also be used as a noun to describe a group of people who share beliefs, values, and ways of doing things. 

direct percussion: striking one rock against another to create a design. 

fixative: a sticky substance, like egg, blood, or urine, mixed with pigment so the pigment would adhere to a rock surface. 

gatherers and hunters: people who used the native plants and animals living in their environment for survival. 

geometric design: a pattern made up of combinations of lines and/or circles. A spiral is a geometric design. 

indirect percussion: pecking into the surface of one rock by holding a second rock as if it were a chisel and striking that with a third rock. 

magnesium: an element which causes rock varnish to be black in color. 

pecking: a technique used to make petroglyphs. A stone tool was used to chip away the layer of rock varnish covering the rock's surface. 

petroglyph: a design made on a boulder or rock face by chipping or scratching away the dark surface layer of rock varnish to reveal the lighter colored stone underneath or carving deep into a rock surface. For example:  

pictograph: a design made by painting on a boulder or rock face. For example: 

prehistoric: a period of time before written history. 

preserve: to protect and save for the future. 

reductive technology: the process of creating art by which material is taken away from the original source in order to create the final product. 

rock art: a term used to describe designs that were carved or painted on rock, or rock's that were used to make a design on the Earth's surface. 

rock varnish: a dark coating often found on rock surfaces in desert environments. It is made up of clay particles which are attached to rocks by bacteria. The dark color is caused by magnesium in the clay. 

sacred: a term, when used in describing a rock art site, usually means special. Often this refers to sites that have ceremonial or ritual importance. 

symbol: something that can stand for something else. An example is the mark "+". It can stand for a cross, or the intersection of two roads, a star, or the addition sign in a math problem.