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Semiotics of the image in archaeology: the case of the "escutiformes".

Abstract in spanish

Within societies which do not possess any writing system or another material support for linguistic texts, images frequently are one of the common discursive endorsements of group ideology. The image, as it appears in rock art, ceramics or archaeological textiles, has much to say on how disappeared cultures thought about themselves and the world, as well as on the fight over power that is, following Anthony Giddens, one of the three aspects of social interaction, understood as “the ability to produce a difference on a state of things or a preexistent events course” (Giddens 2011:23). If we want to analyze and study images –in our case, archaeological images-, peircean semeiotics is an extremely useful tool, very able to lay way for us to well sustained and effective interpretative hypotheses. Following these lines, we present hereby the semeiotic analysis of representations of personified axes, known as “escutiformes”, whose presence in the late rock art of Argentinean northwest area (s. X - XV), has always been associated to the idea of sprouting and consolidation of individuals or elites of power that struggled over the control of certain territories and resources, in a context of endemic conflict that affected great part of central and southern Andes communities during this period.

Keywords: Escutiformes,archaeology,ideology,image,power.
Author: Alvaro Martel. Doctor en Arqueología. Instituto de Arqueología y Museo, Universidad Nacional de Tucumán. Instituto Superior de Estudios Sociales (ISES, CONICET). San Martín 1545, (4000) San Miguel de Tucumán, Argentina.
Author: Silvia Giraudo. Doctora en Letras. Cátedra de Semiótica, Fac. de Cs. Naturales e IML, Universidad Nacional de Tucumán. Miguel Lillo 205, (4000) San Miguel de Tucumán, Argentina.
Received: December 18th, 2012, Accepted: September 24th, 2014
Revista Chilena de Antropología Visual - número 24 - Santiago, diciembre 2014 - 21/45 pp. - ISSN 0718-876x. Rev. chil. antropol. vis.