Engraving the ships. Shared ideas and practices
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Traces of ships can be seen on rock engravings, i.e. carvings or graffiti, along the coasts of Cyprus and the Levant. These engravings are frequently interpreted on religious grounds, however, the interpretation of these maritime images must be distinguished from different perspectives and reconsidered as a more complex phenomenon. Transmaritime navigation was one of the prime mechanisms behind the complexity of Bronze Age society and it is therefore likely that the seafarers themselves had a great impact on the iconography. What we see is a shared local practice that mediates intrinsic ideas involving images of ships and mariners. This type of maritime image is represented in many parts of the coastal area of the Eastern Mediterranean, yet the images show a clear variety in contextual placement and are found in opened landscapes, sanctuaries, as well as within the household. The contextual variety of the maritime engravings has hitherto not been discussed and, furthermore, the reason(s) for the variety are unclear and need to be elucidated. Above all, the important and neglected issue of whether these maritime images were restricted to specific groups or accessible for all members of a society will be taken into account and reconsidered. In terms of global perspectives, contextual variety will also be highlighted from a Southern Scandinavian point of view.