Inora Newsletter #46

IFRAO Congress Global State of the Art. XV UISPP Congress
Lisbon 2-9 september 2006

This year the XVth UISPP (Union Internationale des Sciences Préhistoriques et Protohistoriques) Congress took place in Lisbon. This world meeting occurs every five years. The IFRAO Congress was associated to it. This welcome decision resulted in rock art being given a place that it had never had before during the previous UISPP meetings. As a matter-of-fact, 15 sessions were devoted to rock art and they attracted hundreds of participants:

Aesthetics and Rock Art (C73)
The Pleistocene Palaeoart of the World (C80)
Spirals and Circular Forms: The most common rock art elements in the world? (C81)
Place Theory in Rock Art Studies (C84)
European Cave Art (C85)
Rock Art Museum (WS19)
Rock Art Data Base. New Methods and Guidelines in Archivation and Catalogue (WS20)
Symbolism and Rock Art (WS34)
Current State of American Rock Art (WS37)
Euro-Mediterranean Prehistoric Art (S02)
Global State of the Art (S07)
Prehistoric Art. Signs, symbols, myth and ideology (C26)
Prehistoric Art and Ideology (C27)
Symbolic Spaces in Prehistoric Art. Territories, travels and site location (C28)
Archaeozooiconology. Pre- and Protohistoric Animal Representations (C47).

Unfortunately, a number of sessions bearing on subjects that interested most rock art professionals and enthusiasts were programmed at the same time, which entailed painful choices. We can also regret that the university rooms had no real shutters allowing obscurity in them, so that the images presented were too often indistinct when not invisible. During the presentations big planes would regularly roar by at low altitudes before landing. All the same, we muddled through, despite the torrid heat –unusual at this time of the year– to which we resisted thanks to the innumerable bottles of water kindly brought us by the volunteers.

The atmosphere of the Congress was in fact genial and exciting which amply compensated for the above-mentioned disgagreements and hundreds of volunteers went out of their way to help the 2000 or so participants. Young researchers were very numerous, which was also a big plus for this lively rich congress. Finally, the too numerous colleagues who, after registering and sending the titles and abstracts of their papers, decided not to come really lost out, because we learnt and discussed a lot, and all of us appreciated the warm Portuguese hospitality.

The organizer of this successful Congress was Pr. Luis Oosterbeek. He now replaces Pr. Jean Bourgeois as General Secretary to UISPP. The next UISPP Congress will take place at Florianopolis, in Brazil, in September 2011.

As to IFRAO, its new President is now Jean Clottes, and its next Congress should also take place in Brazil, but in March 2009, at the Serra da Capivara (Piaui).

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