Looking for a Trace of Shamanism, in the Rock Art of Maros-Pangkep, South Sulawesi, Indonesia

Irsyad Leihitu, Raden Cecep Eka Permana

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Rock art is an archaeological phenomenon which spread all over the world. Generally, this prehistoric art consists of various forms, motifs, and also meanings. This article discusses Indonesian rock art, particularly the Maros-Pangkep region in South Sulawesi. According to David Lewis-Williams and David S. Whitley's theory about the neuropsychology approach to rock art, they describe some motifs as a depiction of stages or metaphors of the Altered State of Consciousness (ASC) that relates to shamanism. The aim of this study is to demonstrate how the ASC theory can be tested in Maros-Pangkep Rock Art, and also shows an indication of the existence of shamanism in Indonesian rock art. The research methods are formal analogy and comparative studies on the selected motifs of rock art in the Maros-Pangkep region with African, Siberian, and also American rock art. The result shows that the ASC theory can be applied in Indonesian rock art and there are some indications of shamanism in rock art motifs in the Maros-Pangkep region.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-26
JournalKapata Arkeologi
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018


  • Rock art
  • Shamanism
  • Neuropsychology
  • Altered State of Consciousness
  • Trance
  • Maros-Pangkep
  • Formal Analogy


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