Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2014 CERTIFIABLE ROCK ART PREVARICATION (C.R.A.P.) AWARD:

After deep research and careful consideration, the coveted 2014 C.R.A.P. award goes to www.examiner.com for seeing through the NASA cover-up and breaking the story of the discovery of rock art on Mars by our Martian rovers. The first example is the petroglyph of a human as recorded in a photograph taken by the Martian rover Curiosity.

Martian petroglyph of a human figure.
http://www.abovetopsecret.com
“A video posted to YouTube (as seen above) by UFOvni2012 shows the petroglyph and compares it to several of the Earth engravings and paintings, noting its stunning similarity to terrestrial carvings from ancient Egypt and other millennia-old civilizations. Highlighting the humanoid image and its bracketing lines (one below the stick-man, two above, and all parallel), the video suggests that the petroglyph may well be part of a stone column of some sort.” (www.examiner.com) The author of this story noted its stunning similarity to terrestrial carvings from ancient Egypt and other millennia-old civilizations. (www.examiner.com)

Martian petroglyph of an encircled Celtic Cross.
It is not just this one particular image either; But Curiosity isn't alone in producing photos that capture remarkable images. Last week, NASA's Opportunity rover, an exploratory vehicle that has been on Mars now for a decade, photographed an image that looked every bit like an encircled Celtic or Irish cross.” (http://www.abovetopsecret.com)

Isn't that the darndest thing, that looks sort of like the sort of artifact I would expect if the end of Curiosity's rock drill had been forced into a layer of dust on that rock surface? Luckily I have the savants at www.abovetopsecret.com to straighten me out and help me interpret it correctly - thank you colleagues!
In light of the ongoing cover-up of the truth of UFOs and Ancient Aliens by our government it is very surprising that they let this slip through into the media. It makes me wonder how they could have kept so many other important secrets for so long.
NOTE: RockArtBlog wants to apologize to all the other wonderful sites that picked up the stories of the rock art on Mars and ran with it. You all deserve to be included in this 2014 C.R.A.P. award; I am sorry I just could not compile a full list of resources on this subject, but you have all truly earned a full share of C.R.A.P.
SOURCES:

http://www.examiner.com/article/photo-ancient-petroglyph-of-human-found-on-mars-rock-by-curiosity-rover-video.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

MERRY CHRISTMAS 2014
From RockArtBlog


Rain tree, from Hicklin Springs,

5BN7, Bent County, Colorado.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

THE DOHENY SCIENTIFIC EXPEDITION TO THE HAVA SUPAI CANYON, NORTHERN ARIZONA, OCTOBER AND NOVEMBER, 1924, PART 2 - THE FIGHTING MAN AND ELEPHANT:


Hubbard's photograph of a man supposedly fighting
with an elephant in Havasupai Canyon.

On June 21, 2014, I posted a column titled DINOSAURS IN ROCK ART – THE HAVASUPAI CANYON HADROSAUR. In this I expressed my disbelief in the claims of creationists that there are rock art examples of dinosaurs that prove that humans and dinosaurs coexisted and interacted. The example I discussed in that posting, the Havasupai Canyon so-called “hadrosaur” was first recorded by the Doheny expedition in October and November of 1924. On December 13, 2014, I posted a column about that expedition entitled THE DOHENY SCIENTIFIC EXPEDITION TO THE HAVA SUPAI CANYON, NORTHERN ARIZONA, OCTOBER AND NOVEMBER, 1924. In this I gave more detail about the background for the publication of the astonishing claims of Samuel Hubbard.

This expedition was led by Samuel Hubbard, Honorary Curator of Archaeology at the Oakland Museum, Oakland, California, who also wrote the report that I quote below:

“The Doheny Scientific Expedition to the Hava Supai Canyon in Northern Arizona, was organized for the express purpose of bringing before the scientific world, certain discoveries relating to prehistoric man made by the writer in three previous visits to this isolated region.” (p. 3)

“This canyon was first visited by the writer in November, 1894, and in February and March, 1895. Most of the matters of prehistoric interest described in this pamphlet, were observed at that time but their true significance was not fully recognized. Endeavors were made at various times to interest scientists in this discovery, but without avail. - - - -
The fact that some prehistoric man made a pictograph of a dinosaur on the walls of this canyon upsets completely all of our theories regarding the antiquity of man. Facts are stubborn and immutable thins. If theories do not square with the facts than the theories must change, the facts remain.
Samuel Hubbard, Director of the expedition.
Oakland, California,
January 26th, 1925.” (p. 5)

Not content with just finding a petroglyph of a standing dinosaur on this expedition, Hubbard also discovered a petroglyph supposedly showing a man and an elephant fighting.


Hubbard's outline drawing of his
"elephant" in Havasupai Canyon
showing the "crab claw" feet of a
bighorn sheep portrayal.

“THE ELEPHANT PICTURE
On the same wall with the dinosaur pictograph, and about 15 feet from it, we found a pictograph which was evidently intended for an elephant, attacking a large man. The elephant is striking the man on top of his head with its trunk. The wavy line represents water into which the man has retreated up to his knees. Both arms are upraised and the fingers are visible on one hand. The other hand holds something, the form of which is too vague to be determined. Because there are no tusks indicated our surmise is that it is a cow elephant.
The remains of elephants are very common all over North America and they are found from Alaska to Mexico. Three species are represented: the mammoth, the mastodon and the imperial elephant (elephas imperator) of California. -
We think it probable that the pictograph is intended to represent the California variety. It is apparent that if the man and the elephant are drawn to the same scale, the man is taller than the elephant. In other words the man is more than 14 feet high.
This prehistoric tragedy is significant of several things. Did the men of that day have a taste for elephant meat and prey on the elephant calves? The attack of an infuriated cow elephant whose baby has been slain can be easily understood.” (p. 15)


Crabclaw bighorn portrayal, Petrified Forest
National Park, Photograph Peter Faris.


Grand Canyon desert bighorn sheep,
National Park Service Photo.

The first problem that I see with the claim that this picture shows a human fighting with an elephant is that the supposed elephant appears to have long, relatively thin legs ending in the cloven hoofs of what Campbell Grant called “crab-claw bighorn sheep.” There is no possible way that the feet on this creature could belong to an elephant. Then we have to look at that problematical trunk of the elephant. It extends on past the head of the man farther to the left. If the man is 14 feet tall as Hubbard contends, then this elephant has a trunk that is around 20 feet long! I submit that Occam's Razor points to the improbability of a race of 14 foot tall men fighting toe-to-toe with elephants in prehistoric North America.

I am afraid that I have to ascribe the identity of the animal next to the human figure to the desert bighorn sheep species (albeit a very crude portrayal of such), which still lives in and around the Grand Canyon and are commonly seen there, a food species of considerable importance to the ancient inhabitants of the American southwest. It is clear that Samuel Hubbard led a very unscientific expedition.

SOURCE:

Hubbard, Samuel
1925    The Doheny Scientific Expedition to the Hava Supai Canyon, Northern Arizona, October and November, 1924, Oakland Museum, Oakland, CA.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

THE DOHENY SCIENTIFIC EXPEDITION TO THE HAVA SUPAI CANYON, NORTHERN ARIZONA, OCTOBER AND NOVEMBER, 1924:



The Grand Canyon petroglyph in question.

On June 21, 2014, I posted a column titled DINOSAURS IN ROCK ART – THE HAVASUPAI CANYON HADROSAUR. In this I expressed my disbelief in the claims of creationists that there are rock art examples of dinosaurs that prove that humans and dinosaurs coexisted and interacted. The example I discussed in that posting, the Havasupai Canyon so-called “hadrosaur” was first recorded by the Doheny expedition in October and November of 1924 and here is an abbreviated version of that account from Samuel Hubbard's account of that expedition.

“The Doheny Scientific Expedition to the Hava Supai Canyon in Northern Arizona, was organized for the express purpose of bringing before the scientific world, certain discoveries relating to prehistoric man made by the writer in three previous visits to this isolated region.” (Hubbard 1925:3)

“This canyon was first visited by the writer in November, 1894, and in February and March, 1895. Most of the matters of prehistoric interest described in this pamphlet, were observed at that time but their true significance was not fully recognized. Endeavors were made at various times to interest scientists in this discovery, but without avail. - - - -


Havasupai Canyon hadrosaur,
Doheny expedition, p. 10.


Hubbard's conception of what the petroglyph
represents. Doheny expedition, p. 11.

The fact that some prehistoric man made a pictograph of a dinosaur on the walls of this canyon upsets completely all of our theories regarding the antiquity of man. Facts are stubborn and immutable thins. If theories do not square with the facts than the theories must change, the facts remain.
Samuel Hubbard, Director of the expedition.
Oakland, California,
January 26th, 1925.” (Hubbard 1925:5)
                   
Hubbard's map. Doheny Expedition, p. 4.

“THE DINOSAUR PICTOGRAPH
The “Tobocobe Trail” after leaving the “Warehouse” at the Hill Top, makes its way for about six miles down Lee Canyon, a tributary canyon to the main canyon of the Supai. Just at the junction of these two canyons are the most important wall pictures so far discovered. –
The accompanying halftone, taken from a photograph made by Robert L. Carson of San Gabriel, California, gives a better idea of the figure than any description can possibly attempt to do. The fact that the animal is upright and balanced on its tail would seem to indicate that the prehistoric artist must have seen it alive.” (Hubbard 1925:7)

“That dinosaurs were in the vicinity, is proved by the tracks we discovered, which were identified by Mr. Gilmore as belonging to one of the carnivorous dinosaurs. These tracks were in the “Painted Desert” not over 100 miles from the picture.
The dimensions of the figure are as follows: Total height, 11.2 inches; greatest width, 7 inches; length of leg, 3.8 inches; length of body, 3.9 inches; width of body, 3 inches; length of neck to top of curve, 3.5 inches; length of tail (approximately) 9.1 inches, length of neck (approximately) 5.1 inches.
About a year ago a photograph of the “dinosaur” was shown to a scientist of national repute, who was then specializing in dinosaurs. He said, “It is not a dinosaur, it is impossible, because we know that dinosaurs were extinct 12 million years before man appeared on earth.” (Hubbard 1925: 9)


 Edmontosaurus (an early hadrosaur)by 
Mineo Shiraishi. museumvictoria.com


Diplodocus, wikipedia.org

In my previous posting of June 21, 2014, titled DINOSAURS IN ROCK ART – THE HAVASUPAI CANYON HADROSAUR, I pointed out that, while this petroglyph fit what was thought about dinosaurs at the time we now know that the figure is completely inaccurate according to today’s scientific knowledge. Far from being the limp nebbish shown, standing on his hind legs with his tail dragging on the ground behind it, modern paleontologists see the hadrosaur as running bipedaly with his tail straight out behind, and relatively rigid. So, while the image might have made sense as a dinosaur in 1925, it no longer does. The same goes for the tail of the diplodocus that Hubbard equates the petroglyph with. It stuck out straight and relatively rigid, and while it would have been able to swing from side to side it probably rarely dragged on the ground at all. The designation of this petroglyph as a picture of a dinosaur must be rejected on the basis of our current scientific knowledge. So sorry creationists, it just isn’t true.

SOURCE:

Hubbard, Samuel
1925    The Doheny Scientific Expedition to the Hava Supai Canyon, Northern Arizona, October and November, 1924, Oakland Museum, Oakland, CA.

Wikipedia

Saturday, December 6, 2014

SPEECH SCROLLS IN ROCK ART?


Chaco Canyon, trail to Penasco Blanco, San Juan county,
New Mexico. Photograph Peter Faris, May 1994. 

A familiar convention in Mesoamerican art is the speech scroll, a curved line or shape in front of the mouth used to indicate that the possessor is speaking. We do know that the rock art creating peoples of Mesoamerica, including Aztec, Maya, and Zapotec, all had symbols to represent speech or sound. These we generically lump together under the title “speech scrolls”. Examples exist in stone sculpture, on painted pottery, and in the few remaining books that survived the Spanish destruction, the codexes. We also know that these peoples had influence on the cultures and rock art of the American southwest. With this in mind I have kept an eye out for the general shape of a Mesoamerican speech scroll in rock art.
Aztec god Xochipilli, p.4, Archaeoacoustics
 Graeme and Lawson, 2006.



Aztec Codex Boturini, Fig. 11, p. 39, The Road To
AztlanFields and Zamudio-Taylor, 2001. 

The Mesoamerican speech scroll was a curved line or scroll found issuing from the mouth, or in the general area of the mouth. My assumption is that a speech scroll connected to the mouth would represent a sound being made (speaking) where a speech scroll that is not connected to the mouth would represent a sound that had been made (previous speaking), but this might just be over thinking the problem. They could, in fact, just be two variations of exactly the same thing, a generic vocalization.

The petroglyphs at the top of this posting are to be found in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico, and bear an uncanny resemblance to many examples of the Mesoamerican speech scroll. Do they actually represent speech? I do not know, and we probably cannot know.  Indeed, without a figure in the picture to represent a speaker I must assume that it is unlikely that this was actually intended as a speech scroll. We do, however, know that there were contacts between the people of Chaco Canyon and Mesoamerican civilizations so there is the possibility that some of the imagery also made it to New Mexico. In any case it is fun to speculate.


Figure with speech scroll, carved
Mayan stela, from pu5h.info.


Mayan pottery cups with Camazotz, the bat god.

I have included some examples of Mesoamerican speech scrolls above for comparison, and below I have also included a European example of the same thing.


Figure with banderole (speech scroll),
Bernhard Strigel, 1506, Wikipedia.

As a side note, this phenomenon is also represented in our European art history as is explained in this comment from Wikipedia. “A speech scroll, also called a banderole or phylactery in art history, is an illustrative device denoting speech, song, or, in rarer cases, other types of sound. Developed independently on two continents, the device was in use by European painters during the Medieval and Renaissance periods as well as by artists within Mesoamerican cultures from as early as 650 BC until after the 16th century Spanish conquest. While European speech scrolls were drawn as if they were an actual unfurled scroll, Mesoamerican speech scrolls are merely scroll-shaped, looking much like a question mark.” (Wikipedia)

SOURCES:

Fields, Virginia M., and Victor Zamudio-Taylor,
2001    Aztlan: Destination and Point of Departure, pages 38 – 77, The Road To Aztlan: Art From A Mythic Homeland, edited by Fields, Virginia M., and Victor Zamudio-Taylor,
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles.

Scarre, Chris and Graeme Lawson, editors
2006    Archaeoacoustics, McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, Cambridge.

Wikipedia

Saturday, November 29, 2014

HOPI CLAN REGISTERS AS A ROCK ART LEXICON FOR THE SOUTHWEST - RABBIT:


 Jackrabbit, Legend Rock, WY. Photograph Peter Faris.


Black-tailed or desert jackrabbit, Wikipedia.


Mimbres bowl with rabbit in the moon. From Kachinas in
the Pueblo World, 1996, Polly Schaafsma, University of
New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, p. 96.

The rabbit is found in rock art throughout the American West and Southwest. It is a well known fact that most Native American cultures saw the figure of a rabbit on the face of the moon, as on the Mimbres bowl that shows a rabbit on a crescent moon. Given this, a rabbit in rock art is often assigned lunar connotations Assuming, however, that a rabbit image always implies the lunar connotation would be a mistake.


1894 Hopi Petition. Big Falling Snow: A Tewa-Hopi Indian’s
Life and Times and the History andTraditions of His People,
Albert Yava, 1978, University of New Mexico Press,
Albuquerque, page 11.

A wonderful reference into many of southwestern rock art symbols, previously mentioned, is found in the 1894 Hopi Petition, a document from Hopi clan chiefs to U.S. government officials in Washington D.C. urging them to cease the reallocation of Hopi lands into individual holdings, and also to designate official Hopi reservation boundaries. This document “was signed in clan symbols by 123 principals of kiva societies, clan chiefs, and village chiefs of Walpi, Tewa Village, Sichomovi, Mishongnovi,Shongopovi,Shipaulovi and Oraibi.” (Yava 1978:167) In his book Big Falling Snow (1978), Albert Yava illustrated two pages (pages 11 and 14 found between pages 82 and 83) of these signatures with their interpretations. These identified symbols surely provide a useful lexicon for rock art imagery in the Southwest.  



Rabbit Clan symbol, #87, from 1894 Hopi Petition, page 11.


Rabbit track as symbol for the Rabbit Clan,
#92, from 1894 Hopi Petition, page 11.


Rabbit tracks. Photograph Peter Faris.

One of the images from page 11 of the 1894 Hopi Petition is the symbol for Rabbit Clan, #87. Another Rabbit Clan symbol is #92 showing rabbit tracks but conveying the same meaning as a rabbit designation.

Its presence in the Hopi Petition as a clan identification symbol suggests other possible affiliations as well. Many North American tribes include the rabbit in their collection of clan symbols. Among the Hopi Masau’u owned this world and welcomed the Hopis when they climbed into it from below. Masau’u was also their ‘giver of fire.” The ceremonial portrayal of Masau’u includes smearing the head with rabbit blood as part of the costume thus associating the rabbit with Masau’u, creation and even fertility. (Tyler 1964:20)


Rabbit with Barrier Canyon Style figure,
Harvest Scene, The Maze, Canyonlands,
Utah. Photograph, Don Campbell, 1979.

The rabbit serves roles in Native American mythology as well and a rabbit image might have been intended as a reference to one of these stories.


Three Rivers, New Mexico. Photograph
John and Esther Faris, 1988.


Finally, the rabbit was an important food source for Southwestern peoples who held periodic rabbit drives. A youth’s first kill as a hunter was often a rabbit and that was then often the occasion for ceremonial adoption into a male fraternal group, certainly an important occasion and one worthy of recording. Thus, I submit that the image or theme of rabbit has many more possible meanings than just the rabbit in the moon.

 REFERENCES:

Grant, Campbell
1981    Rock Art of the American Indian, Outbooks, Golden, Colorado.


Schaafsma, Polly
1994    Kachinas in the Pueblo World, University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque.

Thompson, Marc
1994    The Evolution and Dissemination of Mimbres Iconography, from Kachinas in the Pueblo World, University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, p. 93 - 105.

Tyler, Hamilton A.
1964    Pueblo Gods and Myths, University of Oklahoma Press, Norman.

Yava, Albert
1978    Big Falling Snow: A Tewa-Hopi Indian’s Life and Times and the History and Traditions of His People, University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

NORTHERN PLAINS SHIELD BEARING WARRIORS - A BOOK REVIEW:



I cannot speak for everyone else, but Shield Figures have long been a favorite rock art theme of mine. The many ways they are portrayed, and visual conventions used, have fascinated me from the beginning. Additionally, they have a feeling of personal identity lacking in many other rock art symbols. Especially in instances where a shield design can be discerned the viewer has the sense that this represents a particular, identifiable individual. Thus I was particularly thrilled when I received a copy of the new book Northern Plains Shield Bearing Warriors by the dynamic duo James D. Keyser and George Poetschat, and published in 2014 by Oregon Archaeological Society Press, Portland.


SBW-WY-161, Castle Gardens, Wyoming.
Photograph James Adams.

The authors state that “the shield bearing warrior motif is the best known and most widespread in Northern Plains Ceremonial Tradition rock art. Found throughout the region from north of Calgary, Alberta to near Denver, Colorado, and from Wyoming’s Green River Basin to the Black Hills of South Dakota, the motif shows a human whose torso is almost entirely positioned behind a large circular (or in rare instances, rectangular) shield.“ (p. 7)


SBW-MT-164, Hilej Site, Montana.

“The shield bearing warrior motif shows a standing or (less frequently) horseback-riding warrior holding a shield that obscures most of his torso. Typically the warrior’s head (and sometimes also his neck) projects above the shield and his legs extend below it. However, it is not unknown for a shield bearer to lack either a head or legs  - as if the shield were actually covering more of his person. Many shield bearing warriors also have a weapon; often projecting out from behind the shield perimeter, usually between the 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock positions. Other warriors extend their arm out beyond the shield’s margin to hold a weapon.” (p.7)


Shield figure record, site SBW-MT-122, page 189.

This remarkable 314 page compendium, with contributions by Becky Steed, Sue Ann Jansen, Susan Gray, and David Kaiser, discusses the subject of shield bearing warriors at length, explaining their history, style, and cultural affiliations, it provides an exhaustive listing of examples from the Northern Plains, including; Alberta, Colorado, Montana, South Dakota, and Wyoming. Each listed example is provided with a black and white drawing and extremely detailed description including: media, site, and features. Appendix II lists 604 examples of shield bearing warriors from some 157 sites – how is that for exhaustive? Keyser and Poetschat have provided rock art researchers with a whole reference library of the subject in one volume. My only disappointment with the whole thing is that they did not continue their coverage on further south to include examples in Utah, New Mexico, and the rest of Colorado. This book is required reading for anyone interested in the rock art of North America, and the history and art of Native Americans in general.


Keyser, James D., and George Poetschat,
2014    Northern Plains Shield Bearing Warriors: A Five Century Rock Art Record of Indian Warfare, Oregon Archaeological Society Press Publication #22, and Indigenous Cultures Preservation Society Publication #2, Portland.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

SHIELDS AND SHIELD FIGURES IN ROCK ART:



All-American Man, Salt Creek, Canyonlands, UT.
Photograph: 1983, Don I. Campbell.

One fascinating class of imagery in rock art is the well-known shield figures of the American West. Although seen in a number of variations the shield figure is basically a shield (usually the larger sized shield carried by a pedestrian warrior) with portions of the anatomy of the figure carrying it seen protruding from the edges of the shield; legs at the bottom, head at the top, and with weapons or ceremonial items often portrayed as well. Shield figures have always fascinated me because they very often portray the sorts of details of adornment, decoration, or accessories that allow us to assume that the representation is of a specific shield that would be the property of a specific, and recognizable, person – in other words a portrait.


All-American Man, Salt Creek, Canyonlands, UT.

Photograph: 1983, Don I. Campbell.

One of the most famous shield bearing figures is found in Utah, in Canyonlands National Park. The “All-American Man” figure is rounded and bears a brightly decorated shield. He is seen in front view with straight legs and feet angled down slightly to his left. His face and head are seen straight on and we can discern facial features as well as some form of neck band as well as two antenna-like projections from his head, perhaps feathers in a headdress. His name refers to his decoration in red, white, and a bluish paint and references indicate that he has a radiocarbon date of A.D. 1295. 


Close-up of shield figures, Werstwater canyon, UT.
Photograph:  Oct. 8, 2001, Peter Faris.

With his rounded contours All-American Man resembles the shield bearing warriors from Westwater Creek, Utah, much more than the shield bearing warriors from McConkey Ranch, near Vernal, Utah.



Shields, Castle Gardens, Fremont County, WY.
Photograph: Peter Faris, Sept. 1992.

Dr. Lawrence Loendorf has written some insightful comments about shield figures: “The oldest shields or shield warriors found in the Montana and Wyoming region are in the Castle Garden Shield Style. - - Castle Garden Shield Style figures are made in a unique way. Before making these pictographs, the artist prepared the rock surface by abrading it to remove undulations or protuberances and produce a flat, smooth palette. This surface preparation removed the less-consolidated outer layer of surface sandstone to reveal a harder, inner layer for painting."


 Shields, Castle Gardens, Fremont County, WY.
 Photograph: Peter Faris, Sept. 1992.

           "Once smoothed, the artist incised a pattern of the shield or shield warrior on the rock palette. - - Paint colors include two shades of red (one more purple than the other), two shades of orange (one more yellow than the other), black, white, and green. Polychrome paintings are rare in Wyoming and Montana and this is one of the criteria by which the Castle Garden Style shields and shield warriors can be identified. Use of green paint is also an important criterion because it is rare in the region.
            In an excavation in the Valley of the Shields, I recovered two sandstone-abrading tools used to smooth the surface in preparation for the paintings (Loendorf 1990). One of these had paint adhering to it as though the artist picked it up to do some additional smoothing while in the process of applying paint. The tools were found in direct association with the remains of a hearth, and it was possible to obtain standard radiocarbon dates on the charcoal. Two dates with overlapping sigma were obtained using the correction tables it is clear the Castle Garden Shield Style pictographs were made at the Valley of the Shields ca. A.D. 1100.” (Loendorf 1990:49) Great information Larry, as always.

Shields and shield figures are so fascinating to me because they offer entry points into a whole range of questions in rock art: portraiture, the pedestrian-to-equestrian warrior transition (and thus the societal changes cause by the adoption of the horse), heraldry, and even inter- and intra-tribal interaction and communication.

REFERENCE:

Loendorf, Lawrence
2004   Shields and Shield Warrior Pictographs and Petroglyphs in the Intermountain West, pages 103-117, in New Dimensions in Rock Art Studies, edited by Ray T. Matheny, Museum of Peoples and Cultures Occasional Papers No. 9, Brigham Young University, Provo.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

ROCK ALIGNMENTS IN THE SAN RAFAEL SWELL, UTAH:


The lower loop of the large, 450' rock figure.
Photograph courtesy of Jonathan Bailey.

Have you ever wondered what, in our fascination with looking at rock art on the cliff faces, we might be missing under our feet? Well, it appears that in some places we might be missing quite a lot. An article by photographer Jonathan Bailey, printed in the Fall, 2014, issue of the quarterly newsletter of the Colorado Archaeological Society, The Surveyor, (p. 23-24), discusses and illustrates some geoglyphs or rock alignments that he has photographed in the San Rafael Swell in Utah, an area notable for wonderful rock art.


Anthropomorphic rock alignment resembling
Barrier Canyon Style figures. Photograph
courtesy of Jonathan Bailey.

In his article in The Surveyor Jonathan Bailey described the largest of these rock alignments: “This layer is carpeted with hundreds of thousands of discarded chippings, the remnants of prolific prehistoric tool makers huddling around one of the only reliable water sources: a perennial spring that collects into an impression in stone, a veritable storage tank that provided water for hundreds of people separated by thousands of years.
At the sandstone's apex, a colossal geoglyph commands recognition. The four hundred and fifty-foot convex form slithers along its horizons, placing its head near a natural sandstone pathway to the south-west. The 'head' is composed of two large bulbous knobs and a single line-like neck. Its form and shape are not distinguishable even from the air and appears to represent an entoptic phenomenon, relating to a visual experience within the eye or brain.
It is not the only geoglyph within the San Rafael Swell. I have been researching these earth structures for some time, photographically documenting accompanying artifacts, correlating cultural ties, and identifying similarities in the space, context, and structure. It is one of ten geoglyphs I have photographed within the San Rafael Swell but incomparably larger than the others.”


An example of a "simple curvilinear form including
parallel lines, circles, and half circles commonly found
in batches near Barrier Canyon Style images."
Photograph courtesy of Jonathan Bailey. 

Bailey also stated that the rock alignments “are located within a half mile of typical Barrier Canyon Style images containing ghostly, elongated anthropomorphic figures with circular eye sockets and other diagnostic elements” possibly suggesting a relationship between the geoglyphs and the people who created the Barrier Canyon Style pictographs.


Another example of "simple curvilinear forms including
parallel lines, circles, and half circles commonly found
in batches near Barrier Canyon Style images."
Photograph courtesy of Jonathan Bailey.

As Bailey put it These geoglyphs are isolates in a profusion of Barrier Canyon Style artworks or maybe they are just the surviving archetypes of a traditional medium.” I urge you to check out Jonathan’s photography at his website listed below, and also take a look at The Surveyor, quarterly newsletter of the Colorado Archaeological Society, edited by Robert Dundas.

REFERENCES:
Bailey, Jonathan
 2014   The Surveyor, Fall issue, Vol. 12, number 4, p. 23-24, edited by Robert Dundas.


Saturday, November 1, 2014

HOPI CLAN REGISTERS AS A ROCK ART LEXICON FOR THE SOUTHWEST - SQUASH BLOSSOMS:

Back in the 1980s, Jim Keyser pointed out the value of sources of Plains Biographic Style art such as robe painting and ledger book art as a lexicon for understanding Plains Biographic Style imagery in rock art. Since then he has used these insights as the basis for his tremendous contributions in interpreting so much of the rock art of the northern Great Plains.

Hopi Clan Symbols, Willow Springs, Arizona.
Illustration from Campbell Grant, p. 39.

On Saturday, October 4, 2014, I posted a column entitled Clan Symbol Rosters – Tallies or Not? In this I looked at the question of whether the Hopi Clan Registers at Willow Springs, Arizona, where some 40 boulders contain 2,178 images of Hopi Clan symbols can be considered tallies, or have another implication. Since the specific meaning of most of these can be designated by modern residents of the Hopi villages these should serve as much the same sort of lexicon for rock art of the American Southwest as Keyser’s Plains Biographic Art serves as a lexicon for interpreting rock art of the Great Plains. 


1894 Hopi Petition, Page 12 signatures.
Source: U. S. National Archives.

Another wonderful reference into many of these symbols is found in a 1894 document from Hopi clan chiefs to U.S. government officials in Washington D.C. urging them to cease the reallocation of Hopi lands into individual holdings, and also to designate official Hopi reservation boundaries.


Squash Blossom Clan signature, #98, 1894 Hopi
Petition, page 12. Source: U. S. National Archives.


Squash blossom.

This document “was signed in clan symbols by 123 principals of kiva societies, clan chiefs, and village chiefs of Walpi, Tewa Village, Sichomovi, Mishongnovi, Shongopovi, Shipaulovi and Oraibi.” (Yava 1978:167) In his book Big Falling Snow (1978), Albert Yava illustrated two pages of these signatures with their interpretations. These identified symbols surely provide a useful lexicon for rock art imagery in the Southwest. Other symbols from the clan symbol signatures can also be identified for inclusion in this lexicon.  

In order for this to work, of course, I would have to be able to find symbols in rock art that match symbols drawn in the registers of clan markings. One obvious example is the symbol for the Squash Blossom Clan (#98, page 12). Examples of this can be found in rock art throughout the southwest.


Squash blossom, West Mesa, Albuquerque, NM,
Photograph: Peter Faris, 1988.

  
Signal Hill, Tucson, AZ, Photograph:
John and Esther Faris, 1990.

Other examples of this can be identified and I will present more in future postings.

 REFERENCES:

Grant, Campbell
1981    Rock Art of the American Indian, Outbooks, Golden, Colorado.

http://research.archives.gov/description/300340

Yava, Albert
1978    Big Falling Snow: A Tewa-Hopi Indian’s Life and Times and the History and Traditions of His People, University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

BARRIER CANYON STYLE PICTOGRAPH DATES?


Great Gallery, Horseshoe Canyon, Canyonlands, Wayne
County, UT, Photo: Peter Faris, 28 May 1992.

A recent article from the Salt Lake City Tribune, written by Brian Maffly, reopened the question of the famous Barrier Canyon Style rock art at the Great Gallery in Utah’s Canyonlands. This article, available at http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/58323218-78/canyon-rock-style-barrier.html.csp presented results from a new study by geologist Joel Pederson and anthropologist Steven Simms, of Utah State University, that has suggested that the dating of the rock art at the Great Gallery falls between 900 and 2,000 years in age. This study did not involve the imagery upon the Great Gallery wall itself. Instead, Pederson used optically stimulated luminescence dating of sediments beneath the panel to attempt to determine when the paintings could have been produced. The Great Gallery is located in Horseshoe Canyon in Canyonlands National Park (known locally as Barrier Canyon).


Great Gallery, Horseshoe Canyon, Canyonlands, Wayne
County, UT, Photo: Peter Faris, 28 May 1992.

This analysis led to conclusions that are considered quite controversial by many rock art experts. Pederson’s results state that the paintings cannot possibly be older than about 6,000 years B.P. because that part of the wall was supposedly covered by sediment then. Additionally, he determined that the paintings must have been produced between two rock fall events. The second rock fall, which damaged part of the panel, occurred 900 years ago so the paintings predate that. The previous rock fall, which I assume provided the flat cliff face for painting upon, had occurred some 700 to 1,000 years earlier.  

Maffly then pointed out the interesting conclusion, that “these findings open the intriguing possibility that people who painted Barrier Canyon art shared the landscape with the Fremont. These ancient Indians occupied southern and eastern Utah from about A.D. 400 to 1300 and left a rich archaeological record that includes petroglyphs, images pecked into rock in a style much different then Barrier Canyon.”


Great Gallery, Horseshoe Canyon, Canyonlands, Wayne
County, UT, Photo: Peter Faris, 28 May 1992.

Rock art expert David Sucec of Salt Lake City disagrees with these findings and argues for dating of the figures considerably earlier, at least several millennia. Supporting his position are figurines that were found in two caves in 1975 eight miles up the canyon from the Grand Gallery. Sucec points out that these figures stylistically resemble the Barrier Canyon Style figures and were found in strata that were dated at 7,000 years BP.

Sucec has a very strong argument based upon considerable knowledge and experience, however, a more recent date might explain why so much of the Barrier Canyon Style figurative art is in good condition. But, at this time I believe that I, and RockArtBlog, will have to reserve judgment on the conclusions of this study until more information is available.

REFERENCE:

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/58323218-78/canyon-rock-style-barrier.html.csp