We are grateful to Jules Masson Mourey for sending us the interesting paper on the rock art of the Mont Bego which he wrote with Nicoletta Bianchi. They are both good friends of Clarence Bicknell's family and well respected in their field. I had forgotten that Christopher Chippindale and Lawrence Barfield, both of whom I know, had proposed the "right of passage" interpretation of the graffiti engraved on the open surfaces of the rock; this paper further clarifies this possible meaning... "Either the teenagers climbed on the site to achieve their masculine status after gaining this place in their community, or such a social position was acquired following the realisation of this mark, on the occasion of a summer pasture."
MASSON MOUREY J., BIANCHI N. 2020, Moving beyond the Bego God. Some new remarks about the interpretation of the prehistoric engravings of the Vallée des Merveilles and the Val de Fontanalba (Tende, Alpes-Maritimes, France)
Their paper is included in a bigger volume: BAZZANELLA M., KEZICH G. (dir.), Shepherds Who Write, Pastoral graffiti in the uplands of Europe from prehistory to the modern age, Proceedings of the 20th International Rock Art Congress, Standing on the Shoulders of Giants (Valcamonica, Darfo Boario Terme, Italy, from 29 August to 2 September 2018), Oxford, British Archaeological Reports, International Serie, S2999, pp. 37-53. The volume summary is "In a number of significant sites of the vast ancient pasturelands of the Old World, generations of wandering shepherds have left their testimony in the form of graffiti drafted on the rocks, sometimes in their tens of thousands, over a period of hundreds of years from ancient to modern times. The phenomenon is a conspicuous one, and has considerable significance for two reasons. On the one hand, the study of such pastoral graffiti may convey fresh ethnoarchaeological information as to the circumstances of the pastoral activities and the pastoral economy of the past. On the other hand, these signs, which can be often fully alphabetic as well as drawing upon ancient symbolic repertoires, can be of some aid in the interpretation of rock art as a whole genre of human expression, and projected back, in their significance and their modes of appearance, the earliest times of prehistory." It is available for sale at https://www.barpublishing.com/shepherds-who-write.html
We previously published a note on Jules Masson Mourey and two of his papers on archaeology, the intriguingly-named "Key Hole figures and ZigZag Arm anthropomorphs" and "the humans with their feet turned inwards, pieds bots"... https://www.clarencebicknell.com/en/news-views/204-research-the-archaeology-of-jules-masson-mourey
Jules Masson Mourey: Chercheur doctorant contractuel, Aix-Marseille Université - Laboratoire Méditerranéen de Préhistoire Europe Afrique (UMR 7269), Location Aix-en-Provence (Bouches-du-Rhône). Sujet de recherche: "La représentation anthropomorphe comme marqueur culturel dans le Néolithique d'Europe méridionale", sous la direction de Maxence Bailly (LaMPEA UMR 7269).
Nicoletta Bianchi is a Graduate Student at the Université de Perpignan-Via Domitia, Medi-Terra, in Neolithic & Chalcolithic Archaeology. Her doctoral thesis was "ART RUPESTRE EN EUROPE OCCIDENTALE: CONTEXTE ARCHEOLOGIQUE ETCHRONOLOGIQUE DES GRAVURES PROTOHISTORIQUES DE LA REGION DU MONT BEGO. De la typologie des armes piquetées à l’étudedes gravures schématiques-linéaires" at the Department of Archéologie et Préhistoire, Université de Perpignan, 2013. https://tel.archives-ouvertes.fr/tel-00915928/file/these_bianchi_2013_vol_1.pdf