Back in the early 1990s I organized and led a multi-year project to record the rock art at Hicklin Springs (5BN7) in Bent County, Colorado. One of the panels that we dealt with in 1993 is illustrated here. According to published descriptions of rock art styles in that area the team agreed that this was a panel of abstract figures, and it was recorded as such. Not what are often called “geometric abstract” based upon simple geometric shapes, but certainly not readily identifiable as to a specific subject matter. While I found the fact of this group of similar figures existing in this one panel to be unusual and even remarkable, I acquiesced with the group vote on their identification and labeling at that time.
Centipede, Vogel Canyon, Otero County, Colorado.
Photograph Peter Faris, 1993.
Tarantula, Picketwire Canyonlands, Otero County,
Colorado. Photograph Peter Faris, 1994.
I am now more than ever convinced that you really cannot trust the so-called trait or element lists in rock art recording. I recognize the desire for standardizing descriptions to make any data base more user friendly, but you just cannot discern the intentions of the creators of different images and panels in that way. So, the question remains – Abstract or Insect?