5.2.3 Tacit knowledge and chronological contexts

Three key elements or characteristics need to be considered in our discussion of the figurative paintings at Faravel: the animals (a deer and perhaps a dog), the way they are represented (facing one another), and the probable projectile in the back of the deer. Each of these elements, plus the possible human figure, suggests a relationship with hunting. We have to accept that in the absence of direct dating of the composition that there are two contenders for the chronological context for this art – the Neolithic and the Iron Age. For that reason, we offer contextual assessments for both periods. The notion of tacit knowledge is important when we have a phenomenon that appears across a range of different temporal and spatial contexts. The persistence of a particular motif might represent resilience in a specific belief or set of beliefs, where certain people accept how an activity should be structured. Tacit understanding or knowledge might refer to experiences that are not easily shared, and are thus different from explicit knowledge (Polanyi and Sen 2009). Tacit knowledge is founded on the articulation of socially embedded messages that have meaning across space and probably time (Collins 2010). An emphasis on this form of motif could have been part of collective representations associated with individuals whose worlds were often far from other of people. Despite the possibility that the appearance of stylistically similar motifs across a region imply 'rule following' (Johannessen 1998), we should also question the notion that this type of art was designed to reproduce a normative understanding or narrative regarding the animal depicted (Herva and Ikäheimo 2002, 100).