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There are two essential points in any rock-art research: time and meaning. The former constitutes the basic precondition for an effective study of the evidence, while the understanding of the latter is the ultimate objective of the research. This paper starts with an overview of the methodological achievements of rock-art research in Northeast Africa concerning the dating and understanding of the original meaning of regional rock art. Subsequently, it focuses on the unintentional significance of rock art and discusses several themes worthy of elaboration but little explored so far. All of them unfold from two simple questions – “where” and “who” – with a view to outreaching from the imagery itself to the people who stood behind it to obtain social and other testimonies on the artists and their worlds – testimonies they themselves might have been unaware of or unwilling to give.

In: Journal of African Archaeology