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Chronologically dating rock art elements and its importance in the symbolic interpretation of cultural identity

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Title:
Chronologically dating rock art elements and its importance in the symbolic interpretation of cultural identity
Creator:
Brazeau, Craig E
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
xi, 164 leaves : illustrations ; 28 cm

Thesis/Dissertation Information

Degree:
Master's ( Master of arts)
Degree Grantor:
University of Colorado Denver
Degree Divisions:
Department of Anthropology, CU Denver
Degree Disciplines:
Anthropology

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Rock paintings -- Dating ( lcsh )
Petroglyphs -- Dating ( lcsh )
Ethnohistory ( lcsh )
Genre:
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

Notes

Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 156-164).
General Note:
Department of Anthropology
Statement of Responsibility:
by Craig E. Brazeau.

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|University of Colorado Denver
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Auraria Library
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
166267641 ( OCLC )
ocn166267641
Classification:
LD1193.L43 2007m B72 ( lcc )

Full Text
CHRONOLOGICALLY DATING ROCK ART ELEMENTS AND ITS
IMPORTANCE IN THE SYMBOLIC INTERPRETATION OF CULTURAL
IDENTITY
by
Craig E. Brazeau
B.S., University of Maryland, 1977
M.A., Webster University, 1988
A thesis submitted to the
University of Colorado at Denver
in fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Masters in Arts, Anthropology
2007


This thesis for the Master of Arts
Degree by
Craig E. Brazeau
has been approved
by
Date


Brazeau, Craig E.
Chronologically Dating Rock Art Elements and its Importance in the Symbolic
Interpretation of Cultural Identity
Thesis directed by Professor Tammy Stone
ABSTRACT
Generally older petroglyphs exhibit a darker-colored varnish cover than more recent
ones and researchers use the degree of varnish cover as a means to establish relative
age. The problem is that visually inspecting petroglyphs is subjective and multiple
researchers do not see the same color definitions. In an effort to find a standard
technique for measuring the degree of darkness on petroglyphs I propose that a
reliable, fast, and relatively inexpensive chronological dating technique is possible
using a photographic light measuring device used to calculate the brightness of the
varnish that has accumulated on the lines of the petroglyph. Taking into account
environmental conditions, petroglyph locations on the landscape, and sunlight
exposure, these precise calculations can then be rank ordered to show the relative age
of the petroglyphs. My procedure involves an experimental method developed to
chronologically seriate petroglyphs based on their relative amount of re-patination.
The procedure uses a ratio of light illuminating the rock and petroglyph compared to
the amount of light reflecting from them. This allows the use of available light from
the sun and provides for the control of brightness changes in the level of sunlight that
illuminates the rock face of the petroglyph being studied. Objective measurements
used in the development of a brightness ratio (illumination in foot-candles, versus
reflected light in foot-lamberts) can be informative in developing an objective method
of chronologically dating petroglyphs. This chronology can then be applied in an
interpretative effort.
This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidates thesis. I recommend
its publication.
Sign


ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
My thanks to all of the good folks at the U. S. Army Directorate of Environmental
Compliance and Management (DECAM), Fort Carson, Colorado for their superb
support. They provided several days of access for my field research, copies of the
petroglyph drawings, and much welcome advice.
The Fort Carson Cultural Resources Management Program does not necessarily share
the views and/or opinions contained in this thesis. All statements are the express
opinion of the author.
Dr. Lawrence Loendorf has performed a great deal of fieldwork at Pinon Canyon and
has produced a large volume of documentation in the process. He has granted me
permission to use many of his charts and diagrams in my thesis, and I am very
grateful.
Dr. John Antoniades and I have had many conversations concerning the physics of
light and how I might apply them to my research. My thanks to Yianni for his
patience and his friendship.


TABLE OF CONTENTS
Figures....................................................viii
Tables...................................................... xi
CHAPTER
1. INTRODUCTION........................................ 1
2. THEORY...............................................9
Human Use of Symbolism...........................10
Metaphor and Rock Art as Social Symbolism........13
Metaphor, Rock Art and Cultural Identity.........21
Importance of Relative Chronology in Studying
Symbolism and Cultural Identity Through Rock Art.24
Ritual Symbolism.................................27
Ritual Ceremonies............................... 31
3. BACKGROUND..........................................36
Rock Art Definitions.............................37
Rock Art Imagery.................................45
Function and Meaning of Rock Art.................51
Regional Introduction............................56
4. METHODS.............................................61
The Informed Method............................. 62
v


The Kiowa
62
The Formal Method.....................................65
Recording Methods.....................................66
Dating Techniques......................................71
An Experimental Method of Chronologically
Dating Petroglyphs....................................73
Research Part One.....................................76
Limitations of this Process...........................81
Research Part Two.....................................82
5. RESULTS..................................................86
Data Tables...........................................96
Research Statistical Findings.........................102
Periods of Activity...................................103
Overall Site Development..............................106
A Superimposition Example.............................108
6. INTERPRETATIONS AND CONCLUSIONS.......................... Ill
Use of Ethnohistorical Data...........................112
The Kiowa, Long Time Residence of the Great Plains....113
Linguistic Evidence...................................113
Historical Evidence...................................114
Petroglyph Evidence...................................117
vi


The Foothills Abstract Tradition and the Link
toPCMS Site 5LA5598............................... 122
A Chronological Theory............................ 127
A Ritual Explanation for PCMS Site 5LA5598........ 129
Chronological Age of the Petroglyphs and Their
Location within PCMS Site 5LA5598................. 141
Conclusion........................................142
Ideas for Future Studies..........................143
APPENDIX A..................................................... 145
REFERENCES.....................................................156
Vll


LIST OF FIGURES
Figure
2.1 Metaphor Applications..................................................15
3.1 Bighorn Sheep Petroglyph Created by Gouging...........................42
3.2 Two Shaman Pictograph Panel from Ayers Rocks, California..............43
3.3 A Petroglyph Panel from Indian Wells, California with
only one Plane.......................................................44
3.4 Petroglyphs from Indian Wells, California showing an example of
multiple panels......................................................45
3.5 Petroglyph of a Dog at Indian Wells, California........................47
3.6 Pictograph of a Skunk from Ayers Rock, California.....................47
3.7 Petroglyph Shaman from Inscription Canyon, California..................48
3.8 Two Shaman Pictograph from Ayers Rocks, California.....................48
3.9 Petroglyph of a Basket from Inscription Canyon, California with
Geometric Elements of Angled Lines...................................49
3.10 Petroglyph Showing a Series of Concentric Circles from Inscription
Canyon, California...................................................50
3.11 Rake petroglyph from Inscription Canyon, California...................51
3.12 Petroglyph Located Along a Valley Trail in Poison Canyon,
California. No Other Petroglyphs are Located in the Near Vicinity....55
3.13 Location of Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site.................................57
4.1 Positioning of the Light Meter.........................................78
viii


I
4.2 5X Collection Scheme............................................78
5.1 Style Chart from Loendorf (1991)..................................88
5.2 Style Chart Showing Age Group Divisions on the Right
and Style Divisions Along the Top.................................89
5.3 Style Chart Showing New Early Anthropomorphic.....................91
5.4 Examples of Crude Testicles and Penis..............................92
5.5 Examples of Crude Testicles and Penis, Highlighted.................92
5.6 Example of Crude Vagina...........................................93
5.7 Example of More Refined Testicles and Penis with Vagina
in Correct Juxtaposition..........................................94
5.8 Photo Showing Birds Feet on Boulder Number 175...................95
5.9 Photo Showing Birds Feet on Boulder Number 175, Highlighted......95
5.10 Dark/Light Value Determination Histogram..........................101
5.11 Style Chart from Loendorf (1991) with Dark/Light Scale
Overlaid and Indigenous Habitation Dates (Pitblado 1993
and Stone 1999). The Dark/Light Values Indicate that the
Site was Most Active During the Late Archaic......................105
5.12 Site Map from Loendorf (1991) with Dark/Light Values Overlaid.
These Findings Indicate that Section D was the Oldest Group,
Followed by Group E. Both Sections Date to the Middle Archaic.....107
5.13 Photo Showing Historic Petroglyph Created Over Earlier Petroglyph.... 108
5.14 Close Up Photo Showing Historic Petroglyph Created Over
Earlier Petroglyph. Notice the Visual Difference in Brightness
Between the Two Petroglyphs................................109
6.1 Photo Showing Birds Feet on Boulder Number 175.................... 118
IX


6.2 Photo Showing Birds Feet on Boulder Number 175, Highlighted...119
6.3 Stylized Dragon Petroglyph.....................................120
6.4 Authors Drawing of Silver Horn Dragon Fly.................... 121
6.5 Anthropomorph Petroglyph on Boulder 9..........................124
6.6 Anthropomorph Petroglyph on Boulder 9, Highlighted.............124
6.7 Anthropomorph Petroglyph on Boulder 7..........................125
6.8 Anthropomorph Petroglyph on Boulder 7, Highlighted.............125
6.9 Anthropomorph Petroglyph on Boulder 238....................... 126
6.10 Anthropomorph Petroglyph on Boulder 238, Highlighted..........126
6.11 Style Chart from Loendorf (1991) with Dark/Light Scale
Overlaid Showing Selected Petroglyph Chronology and
Approximate Dates of Creation.................................128
6.12 Red Painted Grizzly Bear.......................................130
6.13 Highlighted Photo of the Grizzly Bear in Figure 5.10...........131
6.14 Painted Reproduction of the Red Grizzly Bear on Display
at the PCMS Visitor Center....................................131
6.15 PCMS Site 5LA5598 as Seen from a Distance (Black Lines
Indicate Site Location)...................................... 133
6.16 Anthropomorphic Marker Stone...................................135
6.17 Examples of Crude Testicles and Penis..........................136
6.18 Examples of Crude Testicles and Penis, Highlighted.............137
6.19 Vagina Petroglyph in Section B.................................138
6.20 Vagina and Penis Petroglyph in Section B.......................138
x


LIST OF TABLES
Table
5.1 SSPS Statistical Data.........................................................96
xi


CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION
Rock art offers the potential to contribute much to archaeological study.
These enigmatic designs and haunting drawings offer a glimpse into an ancient past
and present opportunities for identifying the people who made them, as well as
cultural and social aspects of their societies. For example, identification of specific
peoples allows mapping migration patterns while the identification of cultural and
social patterns allows the study of social structures, cultural comparisons, and cultural
relationships. My research presents a possible interpretation of the symbols at a rock
art site in southern Colorado. It also allowed me to posit that the Kiowa could have
contributed to the rock art at the site, and possibly over a long period of time. To
make this determination, it was critical that the symbols be dated. However, the
study of rock art is limited because of critical difficulties in dating it. This is
especially true with petroglyphs. Petroglyphs are created by removing the rock
varnish on a boulder or rock face to create a symbol (human, animal, geometric, etc.).
Their creation does not leave any organic residue, carbon, plant fiber, etc. that would
be susceptible to the common archaeological dating techniques.
This thesis addresses that problem by introducing an experimental method to
chronologically date petroglyphs based on reflected light readings. I will demonstrate
1


a procedure that is accurate in chronologically seriating petroglyphs using an
advanced photographic light meter, data collection procedures that account for natural
light variations, and the unevenness of the rock surface. A subjective measure of
brightness (i.e. the human eye) is not a precise measure of relative or chronological
age. I believe however, that using an objective measure of brightness can be
informative in developing a chronological method of relative dating for petroglyphs.
To support the archaeological discussions in the later chapters, I begin the
thesis with a discussion on issues about the theories of rock art. Imagery from
California and Colorado are used to visually illustrate the different types of symbols.
Many rock art theories deal with shamanism and ritual and an introduction on these
topics is provided.
The field research took place in southeastern Colorado on the U. S. Armys
Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site (PCMS). An environmental and physical description of
the study site and surrounding area provides a setting to envision the living conditions
that impacted the creators of the areas rock art. The high desert plateau next to the
deep valley of the Purgatoire River provided a diverse and interesting area for
gathering food and finding shelter.
My research consists of two major parts. Part I determines which symbols
were placed in the landscape first and then chronologically orders the rest. Statistical
analysis is used to determine a chronological timeline to support the following
hypothesis:
2


The degree of re-vamishing of a petroglyph can be used to determine its
chronological age. Darker, more heavily re-varnished petroglyphs are older than
lighter, less re-varnished petroglyphs on the same panel or within the same landscape,
and on the same type of rock.
I begin with the assumption that the amount of re-vamishing of a petroglyph
can be an indication of chronological age when compared to other associated
petroglyphs within a landscape. My research methods (in Part I and Part II) are based
on an experimental method developed to chronologically seriate petroglyphs based on
their relative amount of re-patination. This is done by creation of a petroglyph/rock
varnish average taken under natural sunlight conditions with an advanced
photographic light meter of the varnish on the petroglyph themselves and the varnish
on the boulder in close proximity to the petroglyph. Multiple reflectance readings
from the same petroglyph and boulder varnish are averaged and compared to the
amount of illumination to produce a single petroglyph/rock varnish average ratio for
each petroglyph. The experimental chronological dating method is explained in
detail. It is my hope that others will look at this critically, and offer suggestions to
improve the method, and to build upon it. My explanations should allow for
recreating the techniques and procedures I used by other archaeologists. The data
collection method, the statistical methods used, and the final application of the data
are all outlined. Original field data is presented in Appendix A.
3


This experimental method is not meant to be a standalone method. It must be
used in conjunction with ethnohistorical research, habitation debris association, and
numerical dating techniques to establish its baseline chronology, and will be best
employed when used in complementing other dating techniques. For example, the
petroglyph/rock varnish average ratio readings developed for this study are compared
to PCMS style age groups to validate this method.
The second part of my research focuses on a theoretical application of the
rock varnish reflectance chronological seriation method and the applicability of rock
art to answer questions of cultural identity. Humans have used symbols for thousands
of years to express spiritual, historical, and culturally important events. Individual
meanings of the symbols vary, and are culturally based. They can be deciphered only
by understanding the individual cultures that used them. Although the rock art in the
study area is generally believed to be 3000-4000 years old, I performed a general
ethnographic study of the indigenous peoples who lived in the area just prior to and
through historical times. As a result, I believe that I have been able to provide a
chronological baseline for the experimental study, and answer questions as to whom,
and generally when, at least some of the petroglyphs in the study area were created.
To do this I identified the importance of where they were placed, and attempted to
determine the metaphoric meaning of the symbols. The symbols do not present
themselves in a format that is readable to the casual observer. In fact, they are not
readable to any living peoples. After finishing the ethnographic research for this
4


paper, I am uncertain if any descendants of the historic indigenous tribes can truly
decipher much of ancient rock art.
The arrival of early Americans further complicated the issue of indigenous
memories. Early Americans actively tried to destroy indigenous languages, cultures,
and spiritual beliefs. Much of indigenous oral history and many indigenous
languages were lost, and will never be totally recovered. There were also archaic
human groups living in the region long before the historic tribes arrived. These
groups may or may not be related to the subsequent historic tribes that inhabited the
area. It is also possible that groups moved in and out of the study area over long time
periods. I believe that indigenous descendants can provide a general feel for
meaning, but caution dictates that we use this as a starting point, and not the final
basis of interpretation.
Metaphor and metonym can be instructive when interpreting petroglyph
symbols, and in defining activities that occurred in the areas of rock art sites. The
sections of the thesis dealing with these concepts provide a background that I use in
the interpretation chapter, and the following two hypotheses are addressed in the
second part of my study:
a. Hypothesis One: There is an association between element location within
the rock art landscape (or subgroups within the overall area) and the
element characteristics. The location of the element(s) are significant and
may indicate group, clan, ritual, etc. Different groups can be identified
5


and chronologically seriated, and indicate area use by multiple groups and
the order of occupation by these groups over time. If the three styles of
rock art identified on PCMS are of different ages, they are susceptible to
chronological brightness seriation.
b. Hypothesis Two: There is a relationship between the chronological age of
the petroglyphs and their locations within the panel or landscape. That is,
the entire area of the rock art field was used equally, or there was a
chronological first group, second group, third group, etc.
The hypotheses in Part II of my research are answered considering direct
ethnographic historical evidence, metaphor and metonym approaches, and
ethnographic analogy. I have come to appreciate during my studies that the life ways
of the indigenous American groups are filled with a rich diversity of symbolism.
Ethnographic and historical evidence gathered by the early ethnographers exists that
outlines the symbolism of many of these groups involving their daily lives, their
rituals, their creation myths and their supematuralist religions. Many petroglyph
symbols are directly attributable to specific cultural groups, i.e. the Ganhs figures of
the Apache (Haley, 1997), and the four sacred arrows of the Cheyenne (Berthrong
1963). Also, my ethnographic research revealed that pictographs in the Montana area
that is considered to be the homeland of the Kiowa were very similar to some of the
petroglyphs I found in my southern Colorado study area. Ethnographic analogy is
used when attempting to identify/interpret culturally non-specific petroglyphs, and
6


particularly petroglyphs that are chronologically seriated to dates that are pre-historic,
or prior to the arrival of western civilizations that began to document American
Indian cultures. The works of the early ethnographers are our best resource
concerning indigenous life, and even these must be viewed with caution. They
themselves were biased with by the thoughts and times that they lived in, schooled in
different disciplines, and approached ethnographic research in different ways and for
different reasons.
The identification of rock art symbols that my dating method dates to
approximately 2000 years ago, and that I believe are distinctive to the Kiowa,
supports my conclusion that the Kiowa were present on the southern Plains long
before they migrated from Montana in historic times. Also, Kiowa historical data is
all over the map. This is central to my argument that the Kiowa were not a
contiguous group that lived in one massive enclave. There were scattered in many
different areas and came together for ceremonies, etc. Their movement throughout
much of the Plains contributes to the theory that they were highly mobile, and did
move freely. I do not mean to imply that the Kiowa did not inhabit that area of
Montana around the Missouri and Yellowstone Rivers for many years prior to the
coming of the European explorers. They certainly did, and then migrated south to
areas that included the study area. I do however, present linguistic data that is
intended to show a connection of the Kiowa language to languages that developed in
the present day American Southwest and Mexico. This linguistic similarity indicates
7


a connection in the past that most probably occurred prior to a migration to what the
Kiowa consider their ancestral homeland in present day Montana. I do not say that
the Kiowa memories and traditions of Montana being their homeland are incorrect.
I simply show that linguistically, and through the rock art at the study site, there is a
possibility of the Kiowa being on the southern Plains prior to their migration to their
remembered homeland.
In the final analysis, data are only important if they can be used to answer
questions such as Who lived here? When did they live here? What did these
symbols mean to the people who created them? etc. As we move into the theory
chapter, keep in mind that the concepts introduced here will be used in later chapters
to suggest possible answers to these questions, interpretations of the petroglyphs in
the study area, and how some of the petroglyphs may identify specific uses of parts of
the southern Colorado Plains. My interpretations are not meant to be final analyses,
but will I hope, fuel many discussions.
8


CHAPTER 2
THEORY
There were cryptic messages placed on stone by humans who lived thousands
of years before humans went to the moon. Our understanding of these messages is
limited at best. Rock art is recorded and studied as part of archaeological research to
increase our understanding of the people who made them, and to gain insight into the
world in which they lived. However, research efforts have found that some of the
tried and true archaeological methods are lacking when applied to rock art. New and
improved procedures for recording and dating rock art offer opportunities for the
development of data that will increase our knowledge of prehistoric peoples. This
chapter of the thesis contains the basic information that will support my later
interpretations and conclusions and provides the reader with a basic understanding of
symbolism, metaphor and metonym, ritual, and the concepts of cultural identity.
I propose in this thesis that the first petroglyphs placed on the landscape
defined the nature of subsequent rock art at that location for a given people.
Therefore, knowing the relative age of the petroglyphs present allows for the
identification of the order the elements placed on the landscape and facilitates
analysis. One reliable, fast, and relatively inexpensive chronological dating technique
uses a sophisticated light measuring device that can be used to calculate the
9


brightness of the varnish that has accumulated on the lines of the petroglyph. Taking
into account environmental conditions, petroglyph locations on the landscape, and
sunlight exposure, these precise calculations can then be rank ordered to show the
relative age of the petroglyphs.
Once a relative ordering of petroglyphs is established, narratives of cultural
identity and Plains Indian ethnographic documents may be used to study possible
interpretations of the petroglyphs. This study will consider the placement of each
petroglyph group, their overall order of creation, and their placement within/on the
landscape as we focus on the applicability of rock art to answer questions concerning
the identification of specific groups who placed rock art in the area, their social
relationships, gender indications, status, and class. We will also see how rock art can
identify specific parts of the landscape as sacred places, and give us indications of the
activities that took place at these locations. Ethnographic analogy is explored to
determine its applicability in interpretation of pre-historic petroglyphs. I begin with a
basic primer on rock art that will provide important points of reference later when I
discuss the study site, its physical layout, and the petroglyphs located there.
Human Use of Symbolism
Rock art is a visual, symbolic, illustrated history of people that lived long ago
(Chippendale and Tacon 1998). Human ancestors recorded their histories to help
guide and teach their descendants. They marked places to explain their culture, and
10


to record important events. We continue to do this today; only the media on which
we record is different.
The special attraction of rock art is its directness. These messages are direct
from the prehistoric minds that created them (Chippendale and Tacon 1998), much
the same as the words in a book communicate directly from the author to each
individual reader. They are also in the context that the rock art creators perceived
them (Chippendale and Tacon 1998). When we read a book today, we know at which
location within the book to begin reading, how the words are read on a page, and we
know how the words are arranged to communicate a message. This process may vary
from culture to culture, but members of each culture know its own method of
communicating. Conkey (1984) uses the term mythogram to develop the idea that
placement of petroglyphs on cave walls, in the landscape, or within rock art panels is
not random, but is assumed to be ordered and patterned based on generative
principles. I agree with her and believe that the meaning of the symbols is revealed
by metaphor, metonym, and the physical location of the symbols, both within the
landscape and within a panel. Whitley (1987) discusses a linguistic model for the
study of rock art. In it, he describes rock art as a method of communication that must
have operated under formal rules and with specific structures.
Rock art however, is based on a shared frame of reference within a culture
that, in most cases, no longer exists. Even the Indigenous American cultures of today
may not remember, with any accuracy, the thoughts and feelings of their ancient
11


ancestors. This lost frame of reference is a major hurdle in understanding the
meaning of rock art symbology. Symbols matter to humans and development of an
understanding of rock art can contribute to understanding the lives and intellectual
evolution of humans (Whitley 2001).
A symbol is meant to direct someone to a higher level of abstract thought, and
to reveal its meaning to them at the same time. However, it may also conceal this
knowledge from others who are not privy to the information. Knowledge of symbols
is not accessible to everyone (Lurker 1974). Symbols are multivalent and their origin
and purpose are not easily explained. In developing meaning in the study of rock art
symbols, care must be taken not to forget that our twenty-first century reasoned logic
might be alien to those who originally created them (Lurker 1974). We must be
objective, and not project our own beliefs, or those of todays cultures back in time in
an attempt to read these ancient symbolic messages. We must develop awareness
of the people who created them, and of the time and environment in which they lived,
and in the beliefs that they held. We must let the symbols speak for themselves in
the context of the people who created them. For example, Indigenous American
nations use symbols as ornaments and to decorate jewelry. However, only a few
people may know what the symbols actually mean. It is the meaning that transforms
the ornament into a symbol, because for the beholder, it is the meaning that gives it
significance. Indigenous Americans themselves have lost much of their spiritual
culture and the meaning of many of their ancient symbols (Owusu 1997). Although
12


symbols can provide a focus for ritual practices long after they are made, they can
also produce contested interpretations of the past (Robb 1999). Increasing the
difficulty is the fact that there is not one Indigenous American culture, but many.
These various cultures speak different languages, have different culturally important
symbols, and have different views of the world (Owusu 1997).
Symbolism carried by travelers to the New World, and eventually to
Colorado, expressed concepts and meanings that were particular to their culture and
ideology. Although not a formal written language that reads like the words in a
book, the symbols metaphorically express culturally important values, ideas, and
information that may be used to unlock the secrets of the creators thoughts and
behaviors. The interpretation of symbols as metaphors and the meaning they convey
will be important to my interpretative account of the study site.
Metaphor and Rock Art as Social Symbolism
All of us use metaphors in our daily use of language. Metaphors are the most
complex of figurative expression. Metaphors say one thing, but mean another.
Unlike a literal language that means what it actually says, metaphors are an
embellishment, an imitation of the original that is used to persuade or conform to an
ideology. To use a metaphor is to use imagination and is linked to emotion and
subjectivity (Tilley 1999). They are a critical part of human communication and they
provide the foundation for an interpretative understanding of rock art. They are an
illustrative device that uses a term from one frame of reference to another, different
13


level or different reference frame. To speak metaphorically involves moving from a
whole or member to a part of the whole or to a general class, and then moving back
again to the whole. It involves understanding something from the point of view of
another. A term from one system is transferred into another. It is carried over to a
sense different from its original signification (Tilley 1999).
The meaning of the original word is transferred to another word that belongs
to the same category of meaning. This is a form of compressed analogy, in which the
reader builds the logic and does the work of making the connections. Metaphor
involves two conceptual domains with one being understood in the terms of an
external other. They act as an intermediary between partial or abstract ideas
expressed in a verbal plane and concrete sensual images that work on a non-verbal
plane (Tilley 1999). Thus the attributes of the bear, which defines a large and
powerful carnivore in North America, can represent bravery and power when used to
describe a warriors behavior in battle (Figure 1.1).
14


Figure 2.1. Metaphor Application.
A symbol can be used in the same way to express the same meaning, if the
researcher knows how specific cultures symbolized characteristics like bravery.
Ethnographic and historical research of the cultures that are known to have used the
PCMS area will aid in the interpretation of the symbols there. My research involved
many Plains cultures that did not inhabit the PCMS 3000-4000 years ago. However,
the culture and beliefs of all of these groups contributed to an overall view of life on
the Great Plains and demonstrated similarities and differences between these cultures
that include language, ritual, and religious beliefs. A look at many cultures allowed
me to identify one possible primary contributor to the study site. Metaphor and
metonym played a key part of this interpretation.
Metaphor and metonym are used to bridge the rational and the sensory
thought processes (Beck 1978). While metaphors involve a move from the whole to a
part of the whole, metonymy concerns a move from a part to the whole. If a person is
15


shopping for a new set of wheels, they are really interested in purchasing a new
car, of which the wheels are only a part. Metonymy involves only one conceptual
domain rather than mapping across domains, and is therefore based on internal
relationships. Metonymy performs a transfer of meaning using associations that are
based on specific contexts and cultural traditions. Unlike metaphors, metonyms rely
on historical connections that are constructed over time for their production of
meaning (Tilley 1999). My later interpretations of male and female areas within the
study site are based on metonym.
Metaphors are used because of problems inherent to language when language
is used to precisely describe a thing or event in a world of words. A shaman who
returns to the real world after a journey to the spirit world undoubtedly finds it very
difficult to describe to the uninitiated what a spirit is, how power is received, or how a
transformation to a spirit being is accomplished. Metaphors become necessary to
express what is otherwise inexpressible and they provide a means of giving form to
ideas and explanations that are impossible in a literal language. Metaphor allows the
imagination to be put into action (Tilley 1999).
In order for metaphors to provide a communicative means, the meaning
imparted by the use of the metaphor must be understood between communicants.
These metaphoric symbols are arranged so that they allow the maximum amount of
information flow (Hodder 1982). In order to unlock the symbolic world of rock art
we must be able to decode the general syntax and syntagm of a rock art panel, or
16


location of a symbol within a rock art landscape. In a sense, we must create an
artificial frame of reference to take the place of the original one used by the message
creator. I use the term artificial because we will never be able to know for certain
what the original creators were thinking when they created the rock art. We can
however, create a frame of reference to interpret a general understanding of the
original message and knowledge of the arrangement and chronology of the rock art
symbols is key. Ethnographic and historical research aid in the construction of this
artificial frame of reference and chronological dating allow us to see how the panel or
landscape was pieced together.
We tend to see a rock art panel or a landscape of rock art symbols as a
finished product, much like the words of a page, or the many pages of a book.
However, the author put the first word on the page, and then filled in the rest of the
page according to a plan. The same is true of a rock art panel or landscape. There
had to be a first symbol, and a last. Knowing the location of the first symbol or first
group of symbols, just like knowing the location of the first word on the page of a
book, is key to interpreting the meaning hidden within this ancient form of
communication. My overall interpretation of the study site was aided by the
chronology I was able to construct, and my research into Plains cultures and rock art
that could be associated with them.
In a large rock art landscape, identifying which group of elements were placed
first and which last will allow the identification, and possibly the separation of the
17


various peoples who may have placed the symbols over time. The totality of
elements in any given rock art site, (for example, there are over three hundred in the
proposed research area) were not made in one great rock-inscribing event. They were
placed on the landscape in a series of creative events for any number of reasons. At
any rock art site, different rock art creators even used different techniques to add
elements to a rock art panel or landscape at a later time (Keyser and Klassen 2001).
If the rock art was created by a single people over a large time frame, then the first
area they chose within the landscape was significant and the images they created in
this area are important indicators as to why. If they were created by a series of groups
who used the same area for recording and ritual activity, chronological seriation helps
to separate and identify the time periods of occupation.
The location of the first group of symbols on the landscape may also be
culturally important when related to the remaining symbols. Clues to cultural
identity, such as group identification, social relationships, gender, status, ownership,
and power may be revealed in the location and metaphorical and metonymical
meaning of the first group of symbols. Knowing which group of symbols was placed
last will also provide relevant information. They indicate the last group to use the
area, and the end of the messages. This knowledge helps to solve problems in the
application of interpretations based on ethnographic analogy by defining when
cultural groups moved into and out of an area. This will help to associate symbolic
18


meaning to the correct groups and give a measure of the depth of ethnographic
analogy for a given region.
One problem in anthropology with the way the theory of metaphor has been
used is that it has been separated from the analysis of social, ritual, and narrative
contexts and has instead concentrated on the analysis of individual symbols or
expressions used in the figurative sense (Tilley 1999). It is important to integrate a
consideration of metaphor relevant to social action and other figurative symbols or
expressions such as rock art. In order to create a useful artificial frame of reference
we must create a sense of wholeness by fusing together what appear to be many
different areas of human experience. Tacking back and forth between metaphor and
metonymy is one way of accomplishing this (Turner 1991).
Metaphors also can be used to create clear and memorable images of the
world. Metaphors and memory are frequently connected, and the use of metaphors
can both make clearer the intent of communication, and aid in the recall of
information. Rock art has often been viewed as mnemonic memory devices that are
used to recall details of a story, or an event. Used in this way, rock art can facilitate
the recording of cultural histories. Rock art may act as a storage container for
human memory, containing the stored, traditional knowledge of a culture (Sassaman
2000).
Metaphors create novel understandings and interpretations of objects, events
and actions (Tilley 1999). For rock art symbols to work as cultural metaphors they
19


must be used repeatedly in the same way, and within the structuring of a society.
Structural and symbolic actions are used to form social actions, and in this way are
reproduced, reinterpreted, and modified as a result of these actions (Hodder 1982).
The degree of repetition in symbolic decoration across numerous objects (rock art,
pottery, etc) and the frequency in which a symbol is used can indicate the scale of
cultural commitment to a collective politic and ideology. Conversely, the amount of
symbolic dissonance can indicate multiple ideologies or resistance to more dominant
politics and ideologies. Interruptions or discontinuities of symbolic patterns (or their
intentional defacement) can indicate deeper social divisions, cultural tensions that
have not been resolved, and more open forms of resistance to societal relationships
that sustain class distinctions (Saitta 1992). I demonstrate cultural clashes at the
study site with examples of the intentional destruction of ancient rock art by historical
peoples. The degree of standardization or variation within subsets of rock art
symbols, or a widening or narrowing of a subset can indicate political and ideological
commitment, or a resistance to them. Symbolic variation can also indicate majority
versus minority voices and identities. Multiple identities give rise to concepts of
ethnicity, race, cultural differences such as class or servitude, and gender (Mercer
1992). Here class is not thought of as the process of production and distribution of
surplus labor society, or as the differential access to wealth. In this context it is
conceived as a differential access to power or status through metaphorical knowledge
that is indicated by the rock art (Saitta 1992).
20


Metaphors serve a distinct purpose in binding together concepts that provide
an interpretative account of the world. It is also a quality that links together
individuals and groups (Tilley 1999). Metaphoric rock art symbols provide an insight
into a groups cultural identity, and help to identify sets of ideas that are held by a
group of people (Darvill 2002).
Metaphor, Rock Art and Cultural Identity
Rock art symbols are common to all regions of the world. Specific meanings
of the symbols however, are culturally and socially independent. They represent
ideas, knowledge, and practices that result in the reproduction of social relationships
(Darvill 2002). Members of the same culture share unique metaphorical
understandings. These understandings are historical in nature and form the aims,
ideals and exemplars for different practices that work upon the people within a
culture. Human beings are, by nature, historical creatures. They need to know where
they came from and who their patron spirits are. They need to know who they can
turn to in time of need, and who they should avoid. A sense of the past gives them a
sense of the future, a sense of direction in their lives (Rose 1996). The Cheyenne
Indians practiced a form of Supematuralism. They worshipped all things, birds,
animals, mountains, etc. as beings created by Wise One Above. However, it was not
the bird or the bear, or the mountain they worshipped. It was the spirit they embodied
(Berthrong 1963). The Apache had a great fear of the owl, and its representation had
cultural meaning (Haley 1997). The placement of these symbols within the landscape
21


provides metaphoric meanings and give clues to who made them, and why. Repeated
use of the same metaphoric symbol may indicate linear family descent or family
relationships, and may provide a basis for leadership or ancestral claims concerning
resources. Symbolic representations of claims can validate status and help maintain
the status quo (Adams 1981). It is the similarity of the symbols within the study site
that provided the basis for my identification of one cultural group that could have
used the PCMS over many years, both prehistoric and historic.
Cultural identity can be seen as a meeting point, or those points where a
culture is tied together as members of a society, in particular the social settings and
relationships that the practices of that society allow (Hall 1996). Metaphors provide a
means for cultures to express and communicate their societys collective experiences.
However, there also can be distinct metaphorical relationships that are shared only by
distinct sub-cultures within a society. These metaphors, or symbols, may be very
hard, or impossible, to decode by those who do not share some frame of reference. In
this instance, metaphors can be used as vehicles of power in perceiving social
domination or control (Tilley 1999). Cultural identities are constructed through these
differences in relation to others either internal to a culture or external to it (Hall
1996). In this way, rock art symbols can be used to overtly establish and display a
relationship of dominance, or to covertly disturb or challenge an established
relationship of dominance (Hodder 1982). Cultural identities are formed in the
context of cultural relationships. It is only through our relationships with others that
22


we establish an understanding and an expression of our identities and become aware
of who we are and where we stand (Robins 1996). Anthropologists must grasp the
system of experience-near concepts in terms of which members of a culture
ordinarily understand and represent their own actions, beliefs, and feelings. These
must be balanced by the appropriate experience-distant concepts that are not
necessarily familiar to all of the people being studied but that make intelligible the
symbolic forms of their culture (Geertz 1973). Cultural identities can act as points of
identification because of their capacity to exclude (Hall 1996). Those who do not
understand the metaphoric meanings within a culture, either a sub-group within a
culture or an outsider (or a researcher), cannot understand the knowledges and
behaviors that are considered important for social reproduction, and that these are
relegated to positions of little or no authority. Learning the metaphors of a culture
and how the metaphoric meaning is modified or enhanced by their arrangement and
chronology is a critical part of the process of learning about the cultural knowledge
and the power that resides in their acquisition (Tilley 1999).
The meaning of identity refers to persons, objects, activities, and to things
(Bauman 1996). It is important to understand that the metaphors that identify items
within a culture are not entirely arbitrary. When a culture selects a symbolic
metaphor, there is likely to be a connection between the form of the metaphor and the
meaning. The question What does this symbol mean? must be followed by Why
was this symbol selected? Using again the example of the bear, the bear symbol
23


may be selected to describe a warriors actions because of what bears do and how
they behave. The meaning of the metaphor depends on knowing how the change is
effected from the object to the symbol by means of the particular mode of
representation, and the manner in which reality is actually experienced. The concrete
symbols objective qualities and apparent suitability to its actual meaning are vital
(Barth 1975).
Also important may be the way in which the information is presented. Ritual,
in association with rock art, may elicit more culturally specific responses than the
isolated symbols individually. Much as a crowd is drawn into emotional alliances
with musical performers and with other members of the musical audience, rock art
and the accompanying ritual (which may have included music), stands for,
symbolizes, and offers the immediate experience of collective identity. The linking
concept here is narrative. The ritual narrative acts to provide a structuring of time
within temporal space. It gives the ritual dynamism and the ritual performance its
structure (Frith 1996). Aspects of symbolism and cultural identity can be established
in rock art symbols. The key to their understanding is knowing where to look, what
to look for, and in what order they are meant to be interpreted.
Importance of Relative Chronology in Studying Symbolism and Cultural Identity
Through Rock Art
Prehistoric rock art is perhaps the richest source we have that allows us to
begin to read the origins and structure of social relations. There are many different
24


explanatory frameworks for the functions that rock art served for the people that
made it. It should be emphasized that different approaches and theories are not
necessarily competing or mutually exclusive (Welsh and Welsh 2000). The
landscape settings of these rock art symbols and their placement on the rocks may
constitute an important portion of their meaning.
Distinct rock art zones within an area may represent use of selected sites by
separate cultural groups (Tilley 1999). Chronologically dating one site as compared
to others will help to determine an order of use. They may reflect different time
periods or changing social evolutionary development of a single culture. Different
symbolic zones may also reflect social divisions within a culture or to power
rankings of individual societal leaders. The symbols specific to these areas may
give insight into the power structures within the group, how that power was gained
and maintained, rank or status, whether social divisions of labor existed, clues to the
distribution of wealth, and gender divisions or restrictions. My interpretation of men
and womens areas within the study site is one example. Specific symbols may also
be identified as prestigious, perhaps indicating a further division among elites.
Superimposition of designs and designs that merge into one another can be an
indication of dominance or control. Such placement can be assumed to be
intentional, and would form part of the meaning of the symbols through association.
This type of rock art symbology may represent a master-servant relationship where,
although a single ideology is represented, all people may not necessarily accept the
25


ideology most people explicitly see (i.e. women, servants, outsiders, etc.) (Johnson
1982). Such a reading takes into account each individuals own immediate response
to the symbols, and different approaches to the symbols themselves (Frith 1996). As
I show later, early historic cultures on the PCMS acted with disregard for more
ancient prehistoric petroglyphs when they carved their initials onto rocks in the
study site, eradicating older symbols in the process.
The literal direction in which rock art is physically approached, and the
sequence in which symbols are viewed, may offer important evidence of meaning.
Walking in one direction past a series of symbols, or standing and turning the body
from a specific starting point, may be the only way that the symbols tell a sensible
story. Even a few symbols placed on a single stone may require knowing the point of
departure, the place that begins the metaphor, and places it within a specific frame of
reference enabling its decipherment. The placement of the symbols within the
landscape may have formed a focus for processions or ritual ceremonies. The
symbols themselves may be ritual experiences and states of being that were actually
ceremonially re-enacted during different rites. Sites can also be seasonally symbolic,
marking areas visited only during certain times of the year for specific rituals.
Viewed in this context the meanings encoded in rock art build up a complex story that
is used and reused in ceremonial performance. The context is built up by looking
from one symbol to the next in a step-by-step approach. One symbol and its
metaphoric meaning is replaced and changed through movement from one symbol to
26


another. Key symbols in any attempt to understand rock art symbols may come from
a linearity, or definite structure or sequence of their arrangement. Chronology and
arrangement of this type of structure or sequence may provide insight into their
metaphoric order. If we can understand the order, we may be able to construct a story
that makes sense of the spatial arrangement of the symbols (Tilley 1999). This may
suggest a set of rules for their use. An organization into sets of symbols and the
meaning of individual symbols in relationship to others, or a culturally defined
syntagm (Hodder 1982).
Rock art symbols must be seen on a large scale, and their relationship to one
another must be considered (Tilley 1999). Symbols set by themselves, symbols
mixed with others, symbols carved on different surfaces, and symbols facing in
different directions within the landscape may all be metaphorically reflective of social
position, power, ethnicity, or gender. Even the same symbol in combination with
others may represent a different metaphoric expression of cultural significance.
Rock art symbols played an important part in the lives of the indigenous
peoples of Colorado. By developing an understanding of the symbolic and
metaphoric representations of their culture, we can gain a glimpse into their past
world.
Ritual Symbolism
A cultural system of symbols, autonomous and language-like, allows the
interpretation of ritual in terms of an independent system for the primary purpose of
27


communication. This view shifts the focus from what social reality may be
represented by a symbol to a focus on what the symbol means or communicates
within a whole system of symbols. This new focus brings something other than
social organization to the forefront; it highlights culture as a more basic level of
meanings, values, and attitudes that shape social organization. In this view, ritual is a
means for the cultural and social system to interact and harmonize with each other. It
is a view more concerned with questions of meaning than with function (Bell 1997).
The cultural approach makes a distinction between the cultural level equated with the
conscious and unconscious ideals of a group and the social level equated with the
empirical reality of actual existence. Bell (1997) quotes Levi-Strauss when he wrote
that language is the cultural phenomenon par excellence, and is the cultural
manifestation necessary to the understanding of religion as a code formed of
articulated signs that follow a linguistic form of communication. Religious ideas and
symbols were thus regarded as systems in themselves with the meaning of one
symbol depending on its relationship to other symbols (Bell 1997).
Ritual then, becomes a medium to express cultural ideas and models that serve
to orient other forms of social behavior. In this way, ritual can be used to modify a
persons position within the cultural order. For example, ritual can turn a young boy
into a man. It maintains responsiveness to human needs, and keeps culture
meaningful (Bell 1997).
28


Clifford Geertz described religion itself as a cultural system in that it is a set
of symbols that influence peoples feelings and motivations. Geertz saw the symbols
of religious belief and the activities of religious ritual as a model of reality, and a
model of how things should really be (Geertz 1973). The idea that ritual is a means
of interaction between cultural ideas and social experiences provides a means of
showing that change is a constant process. It becomes a mechanism for the
continuing process of adaptation and renewal in communities and plays an important
part in the way culture and social roles interact (Geertz 1973).
In some cases, to say something is to do something. The idea of performance
utterances (Austin 1975) is that words do not just describe a deed they literally are
the deed. The example cited by Austin is the voicing of the words I do followed by
the statement I now pronounce you... actually render two people married. The
symbolic language of ritual is another example of performance utterance.
The physical performance by the participants of a ritual is seen as a method to
reinterpret symbols as they are communicated. The active imagery of performance
brings a fuller vocabulary used to discuss the nonintellectual aspects of ritual, such as
the emotive, and even sensual aspects of ritual performance. Performance during a
ritual emphasizes human creativity. Ritual does not mold people; people create ritual
performances that mold their world (Bell 1997). There are basic concepts central to
performance. First, ritual is an event that changes peoples perceptions and
interpretations. Second is the concept of framing or the setting up of some
29


activities in an interpretative framework that allows subsequent acts or messages to be
understood. Also, ritual is concerned with a peculiar efficacy of ritual activity.
Rituals are not literal communication, nor are they pure entertainment. They bring
about a change or a shift, a new reality, i.e. a boy is now recognized as a man (Bell
1997).
Practice theory (Bourdieu 1977) emphasizes the inherent productive and
political dimensions of human activity. It is particularly interested in the political
dimensions of social relationships in regards to how positions of domination and
subordination are created, manipulated, or resisted. Practice brings together structure
and history, system, and event. Ritual enables long lasting patterns of social
organization and cultural symbolic processes to come together on real life events.
Practice also defines a relationship between ritual and the acquisition of power.
Using the practice approach ritual should be analyzed in its real context, the central
quality of ritual is the moving about of the body in a confined space while conducting
the ritual, and ritual performance acts to promote the authority of forces that derive
from beyond the immediate situation. Practice theory makes it possible to focus on
what people actually do and how they do it (Bell 1997). When you read the
interpretations chapter of this thesis, recall this information as you consider the types
of rituals I discuss, and where they could have been performed within the study area.
30


Ritual Ceremonies
Bell (1997) reaches a compromise between several researchers to identify six
different kinds of ritual action. She states that this is not an exhaustive list, but it does
provide a usable list of categories. The Plains Indian rituals exemplify many of these
categories.
The first is the rite of passage. The rite of passage accompanies and
dramatizes major events in the life of people such as birth, coming of age ceremonies,
or a death. They cultural identify a persons transition from one stage of social life to
another. They provide order and meaning to the bio-cultural life cycle. This
particular rite could specifically have taken place with the study area as I identify in
the interpretations and conclusions chapter.
Second are calendrical rites that mark important rituals that are marked
according to a natural calendar. Calendrical rites give social meaning to the passage
of time, and create an ever-renewing cycle of days, and years. These rites occur
predictably at times of seasonal changes and other social activities. Calendrical rites
impose cultural schemes on the order of nature. The possible performance of the
Kiowa Sun Dance of 1856 on the PCMS would be an example of a calendrical rite
held at or near the study site (Blythe 2005).
Next are rites of exchange and communion. During these rites people make
offerings to a god or gods with the expectation of receiving something in return.
Direct offerings provide an opportunity to praise, placate, or please a divine power.
31


Sacrifice of animals or humans focus on the communion it affords between humans
and gods. An example relevant to Plains cultures would be the Pawnee human
sacrifice of a young woman during their star cult ceremonies (Hyde 1974). To
distinguish sacrifice from ritualized killing, sacrifice first involves sacralization and
then the killing of the animal or person. Human sacrifice is an extension of the logic
underlying other forms of offerings.
Rites of affliction seek to lesson the effects of spirits thought to be afflicting
human beings with misfortune. They attempt to correct a state of affairs that has been
disturbed or disordered and to heal, exorcise, protect, or purify. Purification is a
primary theme with rites of affliction. This rite also demonstrates peoples efforts to
seek forgiveness for wrongs, and lesson suffering. The Plains Sim Dance involved
afflicting great suffering on individuals through cutting and tearing of human flesh.
Rites of feasting, fasting, and festivals are major community activities where
there is a great deal of public display of cultural/religious sentiments, but little
emphasis on specific deities. They serve to provide an avenue to express publicly a
commitment to basic religious values. Again, the Sun Dance is an example.
Participants fasted during the days of the ceremony, then feasted at its conclusion.
Political rites make up ceremonies that construct, display and promote the
power of the political institutions, or the political interests of groups. A prominent
strategy used in political rites is that of display. Individuals specifically appointed by
32


group leaders directed the Sun Dance. It was a great honor to be chosen for this
important task.
In most societies rituals have many meanings, and many accomplish the same
things. They have multiple messages or purposes. Rituals are a way to formulate a
sense of the interrelationship of cultural things, and to reinforce cultural values.
Ritual characteristics can likewise be formulated into six general categories (Bell
1997).
Formality is a frequently cited characteristic of ritual. The more formal the
movements and activities, the more ritual-like an activity appears. Formality
promotes acquiescence to what is going on. It forces the performer and the audience
into roles that are difficult to disrupt. Formality in some cases, can send symbolic
messages about class by identifying in some an understanding of specific social
situations. The Plains Sun Dance was a very formal affair. It had specific ritual
requirements with a specific order of performance.
Traditionalism attempts to tie an activity to an older cultural precedent. It is a
powerful tool for legitimization. Most ritual evokes links with the past. In many of
the Plains societies, transition from child to adult was marked with public ceremony,
announcing a change in status that indicated a readiness to marry or an ability to
support a family.
33


A disciplined set of actions marked by precise repetition and physical control
identifies a ritual invariance. This feature is considered the primary characteristic of
ritual behavior. Again, the Sun Dance is an excellent example.
Rule-governance controls the chaos and violence that may otherwise erupt in
a ritualized event. The Sun Dance is a prime example. Specific activities were held
on specific days of the ceremony to control the buildup of events heading to the
concluding ceremonies.
Rituals that appeal to supernatural beings or symbols are examples of sacral
symbolism. These symbols demonstrate the values, feelings, and histories of national
ideas and loyalty. The Sun Dance was an appeal to the gods to restore the buffalo
that would bring prosperity to the group.
Performance is also a general characteristic of ritual. Rituals can
communicate on several sensory levels. Performance allows a heightened multi-
sensory level experience. Performance doesnt show or tell; it leads a person to
experience the ritual firsthand. For example, the Sun Dance was held within a
planned and specifically built enclosure, centered around a pole cut from a ritually
acquired tree.
It is really a combination of approaches that I feel best applies to a discussion
of religious traditions among the Plains Indians of North America. The various
American Indian beliefs all center on the individual, the beliefs are based on myth
34


and ritual, and include a religious tradition that function to socially bond these
individuals into a cohesive group (Bell 1997).
The chapter provided a basic understanding of such concepts as metaphor,
metonym, symbolism, ritual, and ritual ceremonies. The information is important to
understanding how I identified distinctive rock art zones at the study site, and how the
information on metaphor and metonym is used to determine the possibility of specific
rituals that may have been performed within these rock art zones.
The next chapter deals with various theories of rock art. It presents
information that will make clear the terminology used throughout the rest of the
paper.
35


CHAPTER 3
BACKGROUND
Rock art, and the history of the people it represents, is common to all regions
of the world. This history is written in enigmatic symbols that are difficult, at best, to
decipher. The messages are cut directly into the rock surface or by removing an
overlying layer of dark pigment known as rock varnish to create petroglyphs, or they
are painted onto the rock surface with a variety of pigments to create pictographs.
This chapter provides an in depth introduction on rock art that I used to identity the
specific petroglyphs at the study site. It is important to a general understanding of the
study of rock art and the problems encountered by researchers. Note the many
different ways to create rock art and the multiple theories for its use. This chapter
will also introduce you to the study site and describe why so many different peoples
had access to the area.
Humans have been using symbols to record and express thoughts, ideas,
dreams, and histories for thousands of years. These symbols are part of a Social
Symbolism: part of a system of social recognition used by members of society to
whom the symbols have a common meaning. These symbols reflect culture and
express identity. Rock art, as one manifestation of visual symbolism, is therefore a
means of recording social symbolism and expressing cultural identity. A study of a
36


cultures rock art reveals ideas, knowledge, or practices that give insight into social
relationships, gender, status, class, and power within a society. Rock art studies can
aid in the definition of individuals and groups in the past (Hodder 1982) providing
information on a cultures concepts and how they understand and represent their
actions, beliefs, and feelings (Geertz 1973).
Rock Art Definitions
As with any field of study, definitions and terminology specific to that field
help us discuss concepts and document findings. The area of rock art research is no
different. The definitions and terminology used in this paper are a compilation of
many authors and researchers that have worked in this field, as well as from my own
field observations. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but these definitions
form a common frame of reference to start a discussion of the topic. Much of this
terminology is used throughout this thesis.
Clean, bare rock surfaces are rarely seen on the earths surface. They are
almost always partially covered by rock coatings (Dorn 1998: 323). Rock coatings
are part of the field of weathering, which is the breakdown and decay of the
lithosphere into products that are in equilibrium with conditions at or near the earths
surface. Minerals can be weathered to change the appearance of a rock by creating a
weathering rind that is sometimes interpreted as a rock coating. However, there is a
clear distinction between weathering and rock coatings. Weathering breaks down and
decays minerals already in place on the rock, whereas rock coatings are accretions
37


deposited on top of the rock. These accretions are, in most cases, not derived directly
from the underlying rock. The accretions are transported to the rock surface and
added to it. Dust for example, is transported and deposited on rocks as fine coatings
by the wind in all global environments. Rock coatings are a mixture of materials
added to the rocks surface by physiochemical processes that are biologically
mediated by bacteria and are sensitive to environmental changes. Prominent among
desert rock surfaces are bacteria that are desert oxidizers (Dorn 1998: 11-44).
Rock varnish is the dark coating of clay minerals that accumulates and is
cemented on rock surfaces by oxides and hydroxides of manganese and iron. It is
created in layers called visual micro laminations (Dorn 2001). Generally, it is a layer
of manganese and iron oxide that accumulates on the rock surface in arid climates and
is produced by manganese-oxidizing bacteria (Keyser and Klassen 2001). It is found
in a wide variety of environmental settings. It can completely cover rock surfaces
within decades in some places, while in others grows very slowly over thousands of
years. The color of rock varnish is determined by the material of which it is made.
Rock varnish that is blue-black is made of manganese, while rock varnish that is red
is made of iron. Some black rock varnish has a distinct sheen, or shining appearance
that has been attributed to polishing by wind blown dust, and to surface micro-
morphology in combination with manganese enrichment (Dorn 1998: 186-194).
Some of the rock varnish at the study site has this distinct bright shiny appearance.
38


Rock varnish is made up of many different mineral elements and oxides such
as Manganese (Me) Iron (Fe), Calcium (Ca), Magnesium (Mg), Sodium (Na),
Potassium (K), Titanium (Ti), Sulfur (S), Barium (Ba), and Phosphorus (P). The
concentration of these various elements vary from place to place. In some cases
fragments of organic matter are mixed within and under the varnish. Generally, silica
and aluminum form the bulk of rock varnish, as clays are the dominant mineralogy.
Manganese and iron make up one quarter to one third of rock varnish. The other
minor elements (i.e. Mg, K, Ca, Ba, and S) occur in varying amounts dependent on
the make up of the dominant source. For example, Mg, K, and Ca are associated with
clays, while barium (Ba), and sulfates (S) are associated (Dorn 1998: 198-204).
In arid regions of the American Southwest rock varnish is composed
primarily of clays infused with hydrous iron manganese oxides (Schaafsma 1980).
As dew collects on the rough surface of a rock, it collects an even distribution of wind
blown clay particles that allows water migration between them, depositing small
amounts of manganese and iron oxide that act as a cementing agent (Chronic and
Williams 2002).
Rock varnish can be changed after it is originally created by the leaching of
cations from rock varnish. Cation exchange occurs when negatively charged clay
minerals attract cations in the natural environment to exchange positions because of
isomorphous substitution. This cation leaching is an important part in rock varnish
creation (Dom 1998, 212-213).
39


The process of creating a petroglyph exposes the lighter colored rock beneath
the varnish rendering an image of light lines on a dark background. Once the lines of
a petroglyph are created, they begin to re-accumulate varnish on the exposed surfaces.
This process is very slow and re-patination of these surfaces can provide relative
dating clues as petroglyphs cut into the rock at different times will show different
amounts of repatination (Keyser and Klassen 2001). Petroglyphs that present a
lighter appearance are generally younger than darker ones created on the same surface
(Keyser 2001). Different types of stone have varying rates of patination. This
restricts relative dating to petroglyphs on the same panel (Keyser and Klassen 2001)
or within a confined area with petroglyphs created on the same type of stone. The
orientation of the rock face should also be considered, as it may affect the rate of
accumulation of rock varnish. Patination dating techniques are best when combined
with other dating evidence to develop regional chronologies (Keyser and Klassen
2001). My experimental method takes advantage of the re-varnishing process by
determining the relative brightness of a petroglyph when compared to the undisturbed
rock varnish adjacent to it.
Rock varnish has been used to relatively date rock art in southeastern
Colorado for more than 50 years (Loendorf 1989; Renaud 1931; Baker 1964;
Campbell 1969). However, varnish geomorphic surfaces, and factors other than time
affect its appearance and growth. While there have been observations of fast forming
rock varnish, most archaeologically-oriented researchers hold that desert type rock
40


varnish takes a long time to develop and can indicate relative antiquity of items such
as landforms and petroglyphs (Dorn 1998: 224-225).
Rock surfaces containing rock art are generally non-portable and have a
consistency of solid rock to mud. Petroglyphs can be created by several methods
such as engraving, incising, pecking, gouging, grinding, or etching (Chippendale and
Tacon 1998). Direct percussion of a hand held stone (hammer stone) onto the rock
surface on which the image is to be created is an example of pecking. Pecking is the
dominant creation method found at the study site. Rubbing a hand held stone back
and forth on a rock surface would be an example of grinding. There are historic
petroglyphs at the study site that were created by this method. Modem rock art that
imitates prehistoric rock art elements and is created on small, portable rocks for the
tourist trade is sometimes created with a Dremel tool. This is a high tech example of
grinding. Using a hammer stone and a chisel implement would be an example of
gouging. This method leaves a telltale rounded depression with uneven ridges in the
petroglyph as the petroglyph is created. The bighorn sheep petroglyph from Fossil
Falls, California (Figure 2.1) is an example of a petroglyph created by gouging.
41


Figure 3.1. Bighorn Sheep Petroglyph Created by Gouging.
Pictographs are made with a variety of pigments, such as charcoal, or minerals
and plant based paints (Chippendale and Tacon 1998). Brushes made of plant fibers,
animal fur, or sticks, and human hands are some methods used to apply the pigment
(Cole 1990). Pictographs are generally placed on rocks that are light in color. Ayers
Rocks in California consist of large gray boulders, and contain spectacular red,
orange, purple, and black pictographs. One of the panels at Ayers Rocks shows two
large Shamans with headdress, associated animals, and other designs (Figure 2.2). A
pictograph known as the red bear pictograph in Sitting Bear Cave on PCMS will be
shown and discussed in the last chapter of this thesis.
42


Figure 3.2. Two-Shaman Pictograph Panel from Ayers Rocks, California.
A panel, as defined by Whitley (2001), is any rock surface that is generally
oriented in one plane, and contains rock art (Figure 2.3).
43


Figure 3.3. A Petroglyph Panel from Indian Wells, California with only one Plane.
If the direction or plane of the surface changes direction, the point where it changes
direction, or where the plane changes, is considered to start a new panel (Whitley
2001). There may be many panels at a rock art site, as boulders and canyon walls are
not made of a single flat surface (Figure 2.4). An important part of rock art study is
determining where one panel ends, and another begins. While there is no single panel
at the study site, the entire site could be viewed as a large landscape panel that I have
divided into sections, or sub-panels, as illustrated in Chapter 5. The rock art in Sitting
Bear Cave on the PCMS is an example of a panel that contains both petroglyphs and
pictographs.
44


Figure 3.4. Petroglyphs from Indian Wells, California Showing an Example of
Multiple Panels.
An element is an individual petroglyph or pictograph (Whitley 2001). Elements can
be found placed individually on a rock face, or as part of a larger number of elements
on a rock art panel. Single elements placed on separate boulders are the predominant
method of petroglyphs displayed at the study site.
Rock Art Imagery
Rock art images are as varied as human expression and a desire to
communicate can make them. There are representations of animals, people, cultural
45


items, and geometric designs, as well as elements that leave us scratching our heads
in wonder. All of these are found within the study site. Again, this is by no means a
comprehensive list, but will show the breadth of creativity and imagination of those
that created them. It also should be understood that the names of the elements are
those given by modem scholars who are studying and writing about them. Thus,
when we refer to a rake we are referring to what a particular element looks like, in
our modem shared frame of reference, and not to what the element is meant to
represent (Cole 1998).
Zoomorphs are figures that portray an animal (Figures 2.5 and 2.6). The term
is often used as an inclusive term, but can also be used to describe a figure whose
specific identity is unclear (Welsh and Welsh 2000). A representation of an animal
may have more than one meaning. For example, a bighorn sheep may literally mean
a bighorn sheep, or it could mean rain spirit helper as is indicated from studies in
the Coso Mountain range in California (Whitley 2000). Zoomorphs such as dogs and
mountain sheep are found at the study site.
46


Yr
Figure 3.5. Petroglyph of a Dog at Figure 3.6. Pictograph of a Skunk from Ayers
Indian Wells, California. Rocks, California.
Anthropomorphs are figures that portray people (Figure 2.7 and 2.8).
Anthropomorphs can be fully recognizable human figures, or they can be abstracts
that are representations of modified humans, such as figures created with no arms.
They may or may not have facial features, and may or may not be adorned with cloths
or headdresses (Cole 1990). Depictions of anthropomorphs led me to the
identification of a specific culture (the Kiowa) that could have had a presence at the
study site over a long period of time.
47


Figure 3.7. Petroglyph Shaman from
Inscription Canyon, California.
Note the geometric Elements Added
to the Petroglyph.
Figure 3.8. Two Shaman Pictograph
from Ayers Rocks, California.
Figurative elements are designs that are recognizable elements like an
anthropomorph (Welsh and Welsh 2000). They are recognizable representations of
people, animals or objects (Figure 2.9). Examples of figurative elements found at the
study site are two Spanish crosses that indicate the Christian religion practiced by the
early Spanish explorers and later the Hispanic sheepherders that used the area.
48


Figure 3.9. Petroglyph of a Basket from Inscription Canyon, California with
Geometric Elements of Angled Lines.
Non-figurative elements are designs, shapes, or lines that do not represent
identifiable items (Welsh and Welsh 2000). These are items such as lines, dots, and
circles (Figure 2.10). All of these non-figurative elements are present in the study
area.
49


Figure 3.10. Petroglyph Showing a Series of Concentric Circles from Inscription
Canyon, California.
Geometric elements are elements created using angled lines and shapes
(Welsh and Welsh 2000). They are often times used within other elements. An
example would be to give a pattern to an element (See Figure 2.9), or to embellish an
anthropomorph with clothing (See Figure 2.7). There are many geometric elements
within the study area.
Rake elements consist of a straight line with a row of shorter lines extending
down from it (Welsh and Welsh 2000). Rakes literally look like the business end of a
garden rake (Figure 2.11).
50


Figure 3.11. Rake Petroglyph from Inscription Canyon, California.
Function and Meaning of Rock Art
There are many different explanatory frameworks for the functions that rock
!
i
! art served for the people that made it. One of the first questions that comes to mind
when we first see a rock art site is I wonder what it says? To assume that rock art is
a form of early writing is a natural inclination in a culture where written language is
taken for granted. In the case of rock art, this is probably not the case (Whitley
2001). No evidence or data has been produced to date that allows the simple
reading of rock art. One common misconception is to associate each element with
a word (Welsh and Welsh 2000). As we are missing the context of the original
51


people who created the rock art, developing this type of interpretation is risky at best.
Modern day indigenous American nations may be able to help in this regard.
However, as the meanings may have changed over time due to the mobility of
indigenous American nations, their combination with historic peoples, and proto-
historic displacement, it is hard to know with certainty if current indigenous
American nations are living on the same lands that their ancestors were, thus making
their interpretations suspect (Whitley 2001). We simply do not know enough to say
definitively. I do agree with Whitley (2001) that rock art is not ancient text.
However, I also believe that it could be a form of writing that could have evolved into
what we call a written language. As previously discussed, metaphor and metonym
may offer clues.
One of the primary theories in rock art studies is that rock art was produced by
Shamans as a way of recording and communicating their experiences while in altered
states of consciousness, or trances (Whitley 2001). Shamanism relates to the
particular way in which religious beliefs and practices are integrated into a society
(Welsh and Welsh 2000: 73). The primary features of shamanism are the ability of a
Shaman to enter into altered states of consciousness or trances, and then travel into
the world of spirits, or supernatural beings (Welsh and Welsh 2000). Journeys to the
spirit world were undertaken to cure illnesses, control the weather, or to gain control
of game animals to ensure successful hunts (Whitley 2001). The Shaman, entering
into the world of the supernatural for vision quests or as part of a ritual, gained power
52


to interact with the normal world upon their return. Upon returning to the normal
world they created rock art to finalize the experience and to serve as a permanent
record of their visions (Whitley 2001).
These records serve many purposes. First, they acted as a visual record of the
Shamans power and abilities. They show that the Shaman could enter the spirit
world, commune with the supernatural beings, acquire supernatural power, and return
to aid the people. Rock art elements often depict the Shaman as part human, and part
spirit animal. Upon entering the world of the supernatural, the Shaman was
transformed into a power being. They could only exist in the world of the
supernatural in this form. Upon leaving the spirit world they would assume their
human form. These abilities were part of their power, and was displayed in rock art
to communicate the Shamans skill and abilities to the rest of the group (Whitley
2001).
Second, rock art identified a site as being associated with supernatural powers
or as a ritual location. The rock art site was as important as the rock art itself, as the
sites were thought to be portals to the spirit world (Whitley 2001). Indigenous
Americans treated the entire landscape as sacred. Rock art marks sites that are
concentrated with spirit energy (Klassen 2000). I will demonstrate how rock art
could identify the study site as a location for ritual performances.
Third, rock art served as a communicative means to inform the populace of
the existence and importance of the spirit world. Although not a written language,
53


rock art acted as a vehicle to communicate important information from the Shaman to
the rest of the group who relied on the information in the conduct of their daily lives.
In this regard it would have served not only as a visual representation of the spirit
world, but also as a memory assist for the Shaman when retelling the details of their
journey (Welsh and Welsh 2000). Although the shamanistic origin of rock art is
gaining in popularity, not all rock art is shamanistic (Ouzman 2000).
Hartley and Vawser (2000) discuss the possibility of the use of rock art as an
indication of various land use strategies. These findings indicate that rock art was
used to mark territory boundaries, warn outsiders away from food or water resources,
and as trail markers that indicate paths to and from different areas (Figure 2.12). As
humans use sight as the primary means to assist our memories, rock art could have
been placed as landmarks, road signs, and Keep Out signs that conveyed ownership
and restricted access to resources and land areas (Hartley and Vawser 2000). I
demonstrate this feature of rock art in my interpretation of two sections within the
study area. Rock art can also be sacred without being shamanistic. For example, the
Zuni have no Shamans but create a large amount of rock art (Stone, personal
communication 2005).
54


Figure 3.12. Petroglyph Located Along a Valley Trail in Poison Canyon, California.
No other Petroglyphs are Located in the Near Vicinity.
Another promising theory concerning the function of rock art is that it may
have been created to act as a mnemonic device used to assist the memories of a
storyteller (Welsh and Welsh 2000). In this theory, the elements and panels are
thought to be arranged like a slide show and are used to recount a myth or oral
tradition. The storyteller could have used a stick as a pointer, and indicated separate
parts of the element to remind him of the story, and as a way of emphasizing the story
to the audience. This also would have facilitated teaching the myth or story to the
55


next generation of storytellers. Using rock art in this way would allow the story to be
handed down from generation to generation more accurately than relying on rote
memorization. Also, changes or variations in myths or stories would have been
minimized. Visual imagery is a powerful force that has been used by humans for
thousands of years to convey information, record significant events, and document
cultural history. The specific function and meaning of rock art are today obscured by
the loss of the people who created it. It will take a considerable amount of study and
reflection if we are to unlock its timeless message.
Regional Introduction
The Southeastern region of the state of Colorado contains many messages left
to us by those who lived and used this area over the past 10,000 years. These
messages are chipped into stone, and painted on rocks, hides, and a myriad of other
objects, and provide important clues to their way of life, religious and cultural
practices, and perhaps much more. During previous archaeological work on the U. S.
Armys Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site (PCMS), archaeologists identified a large
number of rock art sites, of several different types and styles. They also compiled an
excellent cultural and historical overview (Loendorf 1989). The Purgatoire Valley
along the southeastern border of the PCMS, and the PCMS proper were used by,
inhabited, or visited by the Apache, Ute, Comanche, Kiowa, Cheyenne, Arapahoe,
Pawnee, and others (Loendorf 1989). See Figure 2.13 for location of the PCMS.
56


Figure 3.13. Location of Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site
Ethnohistorical research using many diverse sources has traced the indigenous
tribes from 1598 to the reservation period in the late 1800s. This research reveals
when, and how, the many tribes who have cultural claims on this part of Colorado,
used the area. It effectively illustrates the difficulty in assigning specific ownership
of the regions rock art to any one tribe or pre-historic group while at the same time
providing a starting point to chronologically identify when some of the rock art was
created. On-going research is attempting to identify specific cultural groups with
particular rock art areas on the PCMS (Blythe 2005).
57


Evidence exists that places Paleo-Indian hunter-gatherers in Colorado from
around 12,000 B.P. These hunter-gatherers brought with them their symbolic visual
imagery, and they used the rocks of Colorado to create an outdoor gallery of rock art.
The most frequently found rock art in Colorado is the petroglyph (Cassells 1997).
Some Colorado rock art sites point to influence and relationships with many cultures
outside of Colorado. For example, artistic symbols that are important to the
southeastern United States (i.e. the weeping eye motif) and spirals, circles, zigzags,
and meanders (common to the Great Basin of Nevada) are found in Colorado. These
similarities indicate that cultural diffusion and interaction, with reciprocal influences,
occurred as people moved to populate and explore the whole of the New World
(Cassells 1997).
In 1983 the United States Army acquired the PCMS by buying up 380 square
miles made up of large ranches in the area just west of the Comanche National
Grasslands and Purgatoire River valley in southern Colorado. The Army uses the
PCMS to conduct training activities for wheeled vehicles, helicopters and Special
Forces personnel. The Army completed an Environmental Impact Statement
promising to maintain, study, and protect the archaeological and historic resources on
the PCMS (Loendorf 1989).
The PCMS is located in the high Plains region of Colorado. Elevations vary
from 1341 meters to 1768 meters (4400 to 5800 feet). The modem climate is sunny
with light rainfall and moderate to high winds. Mean annual temperature for La
58


Junta, Colorado, a city located northeast of the PCMS, is 54-degrees for the years
1951 through 1980, with a mean yearly precipitation of approximately 11 inches
(Loendorf 1991).
A major portion of the PCMS is situated on flat grasslands that are cut with
canyons and arroyos. Many of these arroyos periodically run with water that flows
into the Purgatoire River. Its western and northern boundaries are lined with broken
hills. A large basalt ridge, known as the Hogback, creates part of the southern
boundary (Loendorf 1989). Ninety-five percent of the area is erosional and alluvial
fills are no more than 8000 years old (Schuldenrein et al. 1985).
The most variable terrain is in the northeast and west and consists of upland
mesas with steep sloping sides. Vegetation consists of pinon-juniper savanna. There
are three major mesas in the northeastern area that stand almost 300 meters above the
Purgatoire River floor (Loendorf 1989). The Purgatoire River has a year round water
flow and is the principal water drainage for the PCMS (Loendorf 1991).
Grassland steppes form most of the PCMS area where fairly level gently
sloping surfaces are cut by eastward flowing drainages such as arroyos. These areas
are covered by thin grassland vegetation with a few trees growing near the larger
water drainages (Loendorf 1989).
The Hogback is a 15-kilometer ridge made of basalt covered with a dark,
shiny rock varnish. The Hogback runs from the northwest to the southeast. There is
a considerable amount of rock art located on the basalt rocks located on top of the
59


ridge, as well as on the basalt rocks that have fallen down to the arroyo area
surrounding the Hogback (Loendorf 1989). The research area for this study covers a
portion of the basalt-strewn area near the Van Bremer Arroyo on the north side of the
Hogback.
This completes the introductory theory material and information on site
location and topography. We move next into discussions concerning the methods that
were available to complete the study, discussions about the people who are known to
have inhabited the area, methods used to record rock art, and finally an in depth
discussion on my experimental dating method. This experimental dating method is
the heart of this thesis, and the information developed by using it is critical to placing
the Kiowa at the study site much earlier than current historical information does.
60


CHAPTER 4
METHODS
This chapter adds the study methods and ethnographic information to the
theories and rock art background information. To this is added the important new
dating method piece. All of this information, when added together, provides the
critical data that will be used to determine study results that permit the final
interpretations and conclusions. Archaeologists have identified several concepts and
approaches pertinent to rock art research that have produced valuable insight and
information. However, this information may be like small pieces of a very large
puzzle. It is hard to see what the whole product will be when we only have a limited
number of pieces that fit together. Also, the meaning of rock art in areas that have
been used over long periods may have changed significantly from the original
creators (Welsh and Welsh 2000). This is evident at the study site, where prehistoric
rock art has been destroyed by individuals carving their initials on the rocks and by
creating Christian crosses on boulders containing older petroglyphs. Considering
many theories and methods of study offer the benefit of several different concepts and
ideas that in the end may prove beneficial.
61


The Informed Method
The informed method of study relies on a source or an insight that is provided
directly or indirectly from the original creators of rock art (Chippendale and Tacon
1998). Ethnographies, ethnohistory and historical records can all provide this data.
These sources provide critical insight into the meaning of the rock art and with it we
can gain actual knowledge of its meaning, rather than supposing what it means
(Chippendale and Tacon 1998). I performed an ethnographic study of the cultures
that are known to have inhabited the PCMS area (Apache, Arapahoe, Comanche, Ute,
Pawnee, Kiowa and Cheyenne). By researching all of these cultures, I was able to
identify the one culture (the Kiowa) that I demonstrated could have used the study
site over a long period of time. This research also enabled me to exclude the others.
The Kiowa
Although a majority of the petroglyphs at PCMS Site 5LA5598 are
approximately 3000 to 4000 years old my research shows that the Kiowa used the
area over an extended period, up to and including historic times. The Kiowa became
a typical Plains tribe, using horse and buffalo-skin tipis. According to Kiowa
tradition, the Kiowa lived and hunted at the source of the Yellowstone and Missouri
rivers in the cold and snowy regions of Montana. There is however, ample evidence
that the Kiowa have inhabited a large part of the area that makes up the Great Plains.
To have left their mark in so many places, and been identified as having lived in so
many areas indicates that they lived in the region over an extended time (Greene
62


2001). Their primary hunting weapon was the bow and arrow, and the dog was their
only domesticated animal (Mayhall 1971). According to legend, part of the Kiowa
moved as a group from their homeland at the head of the Yellowstone and Missouri
Rivers perhaps as early as 1700 into the Black Hills where they stayed into the middle
of the century. They were pushed south by the Dakota Sioux and Cheyenne
migration around 1775 and into contact with the Comanches. They formed a lasting
alliance with the Comanche against common enemies (Greene 2001). They
established a more permanent homeland in the upper Arkansas River drainage that
extended east to the Oklahoma Panhandle and upper Texas Panhandle.
Kiowa military societies were called Dog Soldiers. The soldier societies
patrolled the campsites and went to war. Warfare was the most honorable mens
profession. The Kiowa had an elaborate warrior organization with six divisions of
soldier societies roughly graded according to age. One, the Koitsenko society
included the ten greatest warriors, and was limited to ten members. The principle
chief of all the Kiowa was chosen from one of these ten men. Counting coup, a
system of formalized honors, was a demonstration of bravery in warfare that allowed
men to rise in status within the group. The men carried elaborately decorated shields
into battle. The shield designs were individually or family owned, and could be
passed down from one generation to the next (Greene 2001). It was a study of Kiowa
shield designs that aided my identification of petroglyphs within the study area as
63


possible being stylized Dragonflys. This finding was an important contribution to my
theory that the Kiowa were principle contributors to the rock art at the study site.
The Kiowas were religiously polytheistic and animistic with a general belief
in supernatural agencies. The Sun Dance was their great tribal ceremony that was
held in early summer to cure illness and secure benefits from the Tai-me or sacred
medicine doll, and from the sun. The entire tribe came together for ten days for the
Sun Dance. It served both religious and social cohesion functions. It was believed to
recreate the buffalo, and it served to rededicate the beliefs of the Kiowa people. Self-
inflicted torture was used, but not as extensively as in other tribes (Mayhall 1971).
A single creator was the ultimate source of all power, and was sometimes
depicted as the Sun. There were also many spiritual intermediaries that could grant
power to humans. The spirit world was always a primary source of inspiration for
Kiowa artists (Greene 2001).
Kiowa myth and legends relate their ancestors being called forth from a
hollow cottonwood log by a supernatural being. Their creator gave them the sun,
made day and night, taught them to hunt and then went into the stars. The Kiowa had
no agriculture, and all of their traditions refer to hunting. Like many of the Plains
cultures, a supernatural boy hero, Child of the Sun did many wonderful things for
them. He transformed himself and presented himself to the tribe in different forms.
This was believed to be tribal medicine and the origin of the sacred Ten Grandmother
bundles. Worship of the cactus plant, or Peyote, became important to them during the
64


reservation period. The Kiowa calendars were semiannual notations of striking
events that occurred within the tribe during the late 1800s. The Kiowa speak a
Tanoan language that suggests an affiliation with some Puebloan peoples of the
American Southwest. The Kiowa were joined by a group of Athapaskan peoples who
shared their customs. These people became the Kiowa-Apache (Mayhall 1971).
Ethnographic research aided in my efforts to interpret the various petroglyphs
in the area. All ethnographic information used in this study was derived from written
research. Care must be taken however, in the interpretation of information from
indigenous American consultants (Whitley 2001). Their information may or may not
be relevant to the rock art being studied. The rock art may precede their ancestors,
may have been made by a non-ancestral group, or the meaning of the symbols may
have changed over the many years since the rock art was made. There are very few
rock art traditions with good ethnographic or ethnohistoric records (Chippendale and
Tacon 1998), and we may have to rely on other methods in our quest for an
understanding of rock art.
The Formal Method
One method of study that does not rely on informed knowledge is the formal
method. In this method the information used in the study is limited to the images
themselves, their relation to each other, and their positioning and place in the
landscape (Chippendale and Tacon 1998).
65


Style relates an age and a cultural affiliation to a particular motif in the
creation of rock art elements (Whitley 2000). I used style in this way as one measure
in determining if my chronological seriation technique was successful. It is an
inventory of the elements, and the specific figure types that make up the inventory
(Schaafsma 1980:7). For example, in the Fremont style of Rock Art, the trapezoidal
body of anthropomorphs is a distinctive feature. However, there are difficulties with
style. It is hard to verify classifications and time-periods to a particular style because
of the difficulties of dating rock art. Similarities in style do not necessarily mean the
rock art was created during the same time period, or by the same group (Whitley
2001). Style does help us to organize and classify rock art (Whitley 2000), as long as
we keep its limitations in mind.
Recording Methods
The first task in a rock art study is to define the boundaries of the rock art site
(Whitley 2001). I was fortunate that Dr. Lawrence Loendorf had previously
completed in-depth studies of this, and other sites located on the PCMS (Loendorf
1989). The site boundaries had already been established, and the petroglyph
locations were marked on a contour map that shows the site and the surrounding area.
Ground control was established using the contour map produced during these studies.
All of the petroglyphs were annotated in reference to the site datum point. Sketches
and drawings are a common method of recording rock art. In this method the artist
hand draws each of the panels and elements at a site. The sketches and drawings are
66


particularly useful in showing each panels relationship to other panels at a site
(Whitley 2001). An artist had previously sketched each of the petroglyphs in the
research area. DECAM personnel at the Army Post at Fort Carson, Colorado made a
copy of these sketches available to me. Dr. Loendorf granted me permission to use
the maps, sketches, and tables that were created as part of his earlier studies. His map
of site 5LA5598 proved invaluable for locating the large amount of rock art clustered
into the large geographical area (50 meters by 400 meters) of the site.
The site map also provided a base map that shows the rock art in association
with the surrounding landscape features. Rock art positioning within the landscape as
well as on it, may provide important clues to deciphering its meaning (Whitley 2001).
The second task involved identifying all of the rock art sections within the site
and recording their boundaries on the site map. I divided the site into eight sections
labeled A, B, C, D, E, F, G, and H, based on petroglyph groupings as previously
mapped. The sections as I outlined them were based on general group relationships
that I felt indicated an isolation of one section from another. I had some difficulty in
defining where one section stopped and another began. This was especially true in
sections D and E that contain a high number of petroglyphs. I then selected five
of these eight sections for my research to cover the site from east to west. Selection
was based on number of petroglyphs in the section and location within the site. These
sections formed the basis for selecting a subset of the total number of petroglyphs at
the site to use in the study.
67


The third task was identifying which of the petroglyphs in each of the sections
that would be used in this study. I selected 10 boulders and their associated
petroglyphs from each section using a random number generator. I used a random
number generator to aid in the boulder selection to eliminate possible selection bias
on my part. I also selected three alternate petroglyphs from each section to be used in
the event that one of the original selections was unusable. Unusable in terms of this
study is defined as petroglyphs that were excessively weathered across the face of the
petroglyph, placed on rocks at a bad angle that did not allow for proper data
collection, etc. Substitutions were also made that would enhance the validation of the
data collection technique. In section B I intentionally chose boulder number 20 as
a substitute because it contained a superimposition of a historical Spanish petroglyph
over an earlier archaic petroglyph. In this case, I took readings from the historical
petroglyph and the underlying exposed prehistoric petroglyph. Two boulders in
section E were added, as they also contain both prehistoric and historical
petroglyphs. Although section G was not identified to be part of the original
selections, I did choose boulder number 213 from this section to be part of the
research, as it contains a historic Spanish petroglyph.
The fourth task was to locate and stake all of the section boundaries. This was
accomplished with orange painted stakes that were easily distinguishable from the tall
grass. This provided a visual cue as to the overall layout at the very large site. I then
located (relying heavily on the site map) and staked each of the ten boulders with
68


associated petroglyphs in each section that would provide data for the study with
white painted stakes. I then wrote the boulder number on the stakes to make locating
the specific petroglyphs easier while I was collecting data.
Whitley (2001) recommends photography as the primary method of recording
rock art. It is a practical and economic method to capture a visually oriented subject
like rock art. Photographs should be taken to include the area surrounding a panel,
the panel, and each of the elements (Welsh and Welsh 2000). Detailed visual
information can be gathered on each panel and element using conventional color,
black and white, and infrared films. Using various camera lens filters in conjunction
with different film types can also increase the detail and definition of the final
pictures.
Digital photography has added a new dimension to the field of petroglyph
research before the period. (All of the photographs in this thesis were taken by the
author using a digital camera.) This new technology allows a digital image to be
manipulated on a computer to bring out aspects of rock art that may be missed with
conventional photography. This capability provides immediate feedback to a field
researcher and reduces the time required to do this with conventional photography.
Also, digital cameras have an instant viewing feature that allows for instant
previewing of the picture that was just taken. If something is not just right, the
picture can be deleted and retaken in minutes. As this technology matures I expect
even greater capabilities to emerge. There are drawbacks when using digital
69


photography. One is the large size of the computer files created for each image. If
digital photography is used, computer media storage should be a prime consideration.
I use a 60 Giga-byte external hard drive to store my images for this study and have
archived all of the images to CD media. I also recommend that high quality prints of
each photograph file be made and stored along with any conventional photographs of
a site. Data corruption problems and the ever changing computer technology field
may also make current data files unusable or obsolete in the future, causing a
considerable amount of data to be lost. Digital photography should not be considered
as a replacement for conventional photography, but as a supplement to it.
Rock art photography is not always easy. Bright sunlight can play havoc
when trying to photograph rock art, especially with the bright, mirror like finish of the
rock varnish on the rocks of this study. It also caused me problems when collecting
rock varnish brightness data. I surveyed the site throughout the first day to determine
when the best time would be to gather my research data and to photograph the rock
art. Early morning to midday turned out to be the best times (and all that the weather
allowed during my early July site visit).
Regardless of the method used to record rock art, great care should be taken
not to physically or chemically damage the rock art. Such damage could cause
subsequent efforts at dating to be compromised and valuable information could be
lost.
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Dating Techniques
Determining the age of rock art continues to be one of the primary problems
in rock art research (Whitley 2001). It is an important part of determining chronology
and for properly sequencing rock art in relationship to itself and to other
archaeological artifacts. When rock art was created can help determine who created
it, and properly associate archaeological artifacts with appropriate groups. All of the
basic dating techniques used in rock art studies have drawbacks and inconsistencies
(Whitley 2001). Many of the best dating methods used to determine the age of
archaeological antiquities do not work well for rock art (Welsh and Welsh 2000).
Radiocarbon (Cl4) dating is an absolute dating technique that is inaccurate
when applied to petroglyphs due to the small amount of Cl4, which is deposited from
the air, that is actually present in the rock varnish that has accumulated since the
petroglyph was created (Chippendale and Tacon 1998). C14 deposited from the air
can also accumulate at different rates from region to region due to climate factors,
altitude, and weather patterns further complicating use of this method (Whitley 2001).
Pictographs created with charcoal or plant based pigments may produce better results
(Chippendale and Tacon 1998). Conventional C14 dating requires a large sample
size that would destroy a large portion of a pictograph or petroglyph while trying to
date it.
Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) is a variation of C14 dating
(Chippendale and Tacon 1998). The big advantage of AMS dating for rock art
71


studies is that it requires much smaller samples for testing. However, the samples
must be collected very carefully to avoid contamination, and the testing requires very
sophisticated equipment to perform the testing (Chippendale and Tacon 1998). It also
still requires some destruction of the rock art to collect the testing samples.
A sequence order can also be established when there is superimposition of
elements in a panel (Schaafsma 1980). The younger element is the one placed over
the lower, and older, element beneath it. Superimposition of petroglyphs does exist at
the research site and data have been collected on these petroglyphs and used as part of
this study.
Habitation debris associated with rock art can also yield relative dates. In this
method, rock art elements are associated with datable artifacts such as pottery
(Schaafsma 1980). Dr. Loendorf (personal communications 2005) has provided me
with dates for some of the petroglyphs at the site that are included in this study, that
have been determined by using the habitation debris association method.
Cation ratio dating measures the leaching of potassium and calcium out of
rock varnish. These mobile elements are leached by capillary water action faster than
the immobile element titanium (Dorn and Krinsley 1991). The ratio of potassium and
calcium to titanium gets less as time passes (Dorn 1994). A regional cation-ratio
leaching curve is necessary to correlate the ratio developed in testing, to an
approximate regional based date. Cation-leaching curves are created with dates
generated using independent age control methods (i.e. AMS). Cation-ratio dating has
72


been criticized (Frances, Loendorf, and Dorn 1993) due to the problems of
determining the influence of time on chemical changes. Cation-ratio dating remains
in use. Dom (1996) recommends caution when using cation-ratio dates. Keyser and
Klassen (2001) recommend that cation-ratio dating not be used to assign absolute
dates, but believe that it remains a valid process to assess relative ages of petroglyphs.
An Experimental Method of Chronologically Dating Petroglyphs
I use an experimental method of chronologically dating the petroglyphs based
on light readings both illuminating the petroglyph and being reflected by it, and
creating a petroglyph/rock varnish average ratio. I measure the amount of sunlight
illuminating the boulder and compare it to the amount of light reflecting from the
petroglyph, and from the rock varnish in close proximity to the petroglyph using an
advanced photographic light meter. Primary data collection was performed on four
subsequent days on site. Data was collected from approximately 0830 to 1400 on
three of these days in early July, and throughout the day on the fourth, which
occurred in September. This time period was determined mainly by the weather over
the first three days on site, which started out with clear blue sky in the morning and
clouded up badly by 1400 in the afternoon that produced afternoon thunderstorms
typical for the Colorado Plains.
This does not mean that a subjective measure of brightness is a precise
measure of relative or chronological age. I believe however, that using an objective
73


measure of brightness can be informative in developing a chronological method of
relative dating for petroglyphs.
A previous attempt to use the degree of darkness to chronologically seriate
petroglyphs was not successful. Whitley (1982) used a Photodyne Model 99XL
Reflectometer to measure the reflectivity of the varnish cover of petroglyphs in Little
Petroglyph Canyon, California. Whitley selected human figures holding both bows
and arrows, and human figures holding atlatls for his study. His premise was that the
human figures holding the atlatls would be darker (thus older) than the human figures
with the bows and arrows. However, Whitleys measurements on all of the figures
overlapped, and did not show much difference in the relative reflectance (measure of
darkness of the petroglyph lines). Whitley thought that the similar readings were
caused by the different content of the rock varnish covering the petroglyphs.
Petroglyphs covered with rock varnish containing high manganese content would be
darker, and look older, than a petroglyph covered with rock varnish with a high iron
content. Whitley also noted that his reflectometer readings could have been similar
and overlapped because they had the same amount of revamishing relative to each
other (Whitley 1982). This could be possible due to the overlapping of the two
technologies (atlatl and bow and arrow). Loendorf (1989) points out that the major
shortcoming of using revamishing is its lack of precision. However, it is still clear
that color does indicate relative age. I agree with Loendorf (1989) that the
measurements thus far do not indicate what is obvious to the eye. Objective
74


measurements of reflective brightness will aid in the creation of a chronological
dating technique for petroglyphs due to the advent of new technology in photographic
light meters, if they are used to conduct a tightly controlled study.
My research consists of two major parts. Part I determines which symbols
were placed in the landscape first and then chronologically orders the rest. I begin
with the assumption that the amount of re-vamishing of a petroglyph can be an
indication of chronological age when compared to other associated petroglyphs
within a landscape. My research methods (in Part I and Part II) are based on an
experimental method developed to chronologically seriate petroglyphs based on their
relative amount of re-patination. This is done by creation of a petroglyph/rock
varnish average taken under natural sunlight conditions with an advanced
photographic light meter of the varnish on the petroglyph themselves and the varnish
on the boulder in close proximity to the petroglyph. Multiple reflectance readings
from the same petroglyph and boulder varnish are averaged and compared to the
amount of illumination to produce a single petroglyph/rock varnish average ratio for
each petroglyph.
This experimental method is not meant to be a standalone method. It must be
used in conjunction with Ethnohistorical research, habitation debris association, and
numerical dating techniques to establish its baseline chronology, and will be best
employed when used in complementing other dating techniques. The petroglyph/rock
75


varnish average ratio readings developed for this study are compared to PCMS style
age groups to validate this method.
Research Part One
Part I Hypothesis: The degree of re-vamishing of a petroglyph can be used to
determine its chronological age. Darker, more heavily re-varnished petroglyphs are
older than lighter, less re-varnished petroglyphs on the same panel or within the same
landscape, and on the same type of rock.
The experimental method that I am proposing is non-destructive to the
petroglyphs themselves, requiring only a light source (the sun), an illumination
measurement of the light falling on the petroglyph, and reflective measurements of
the petroglyph rock varnish and the overall boulder rock varnish to produce a
petroglyph/rock varnish ratio.
Illumination is the measurable photometric brightness of the amount of light
shining on an object. The units of illumination are Foot Candles (FC) (Ryer 1997).
Reflectance is the measurable photometric brightness of an illuminated
-y
surface. The units of reflectance are candela per unit area (cd/m ) or foot-lamberts
(fl) (Ryer 1997). I use foot-lamberts (fl) in my study.
Illumination and reflectance measurements of the re-vamishing on the
petroglyphs and the boulder varnish are performed using a Sekonic L-558C
photographic light meter set to produce a direct brightness reading in foot-candles
(FC) and foot-lamberts (fl). The meter produces illumination measurements from .12
76


- 180,000 foot-candles, and direct reflectance measurements from .07 to 190,000
foot-lamberts. This light meter also has a built-in parallax-free 1-degree spot reading
capability with a digital readout display (Sekonic Corporation 2003). This instrument
allows very small and precise reflectance readings, limited to a circular area of
approximately 178th of an inch in diameter, to be taken of an area strictly limited to
the lines of the petroglyph. These readings were taken on clear sky, sunny days.
The light meter is positioned at a controlled 45-degree angle to the light
source and two reflectance measurements of the same spot are taken. The two
measurements are taken at the 90-degree and 270-degree positions relative to sun
direction (Figure 3.1). The researcher is positioned facing the sun. The 45-degree
angle and multiple measurements are important in reducing the amount of bi-
directional reflectance distribution function (BRDF) effects such as glint, surface
roughness effects, etc. and offer the best reflectivity measurements (Antoniades,
personal communication). This procedure was deviated from on occasion due to the
high reflectivity of an individual boulders rock varnish. On some occasions, boulder
rock varnish was only readable from a 45-degree position (rather than the 90-degree
position relative to the sun), and on other occasions boulder rock varnish readings
were only obtainable from one 45-degree direction due to the angle of the boulder
face to the sun combined with the high reflectivity of the boulder rock varnish.
77


I
i
Sun
facing Sun
Figure 4.1. Positioning of the Light Meter.
This process is repeated five times on each petroglyph in a 5X pattern, four
at the end of each line on the X and one from the center (see Figure 3.2). The X
can be stretched, shrunk, turned on end, etc. as necessary to retain as controlled a
pattern of reflectance measurements as possible from one petroglyph to the next.
78


Point 1 Point 2
Figure 4.2. 5X Collection Scheme.
The measurements for all five readings are averaged into a single unit of
measure. Drawings and/or digital photographs of each petroglyph are annotated with
the location of the readings to allow for independent checking and repeatability
testing.
This approach is repeated to record measurements of the rock varnish not
associated with the petroglyphs on each boulder. These measurements are used to
create a petroglyph over rock varnish ratio that helps to average out the variation in
rock varnish from boulder to boulder caused by the differences of rock face slope,
direction, etc. The rock varnish readings also create an overall site average brightness
that may used when comparing the chronology created for the study area with other
rock art sites in the general area.
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All statistical analysis for the research study is accomplished using the SSPS
Graduate Pack statistical software. To prepare the initial data for statistical analysis,
the data is arranged in a table (See Table 4.1). Statistical correlation analysis (a non-
parametric Spearmans-r) is conducted to determine if there is a relationship between
the petroglyph/rock varnish average ratio and the style age group. Each petroglyphs
style age group was determined using a chronology of PCMS figures developed by
Loendorf (Figure 7.8,1991). A positive correlation (if the petroglyph/rock varnish
average ratio decreases, age should get older) is evidence that this method has merit.
Further statistical testing will also be performed to determine if this new
method has merit. Further statistical tests that may offer additional data are:
a. A histogram of the petroglyph/rock varnish average ratio may show modality
in the data and aid in dark to light breaks in chronological data.
b. A mean of the undisturbed rock varnish readings is calculated to produce a
site average that can be applied to other, similar sites in the region to
determine if brightness chronologies are comparable from one location to the
other.
c. When available, the petroglyph/rock varnish average ratio is compared on
superimposed petroglyphs (one petroglyph created on top of, or over,
another). The petroglyph on top was created after the one on the bottom, and
thus should be younger, producing a brightness measurement that is greater
than the petroglyph on the bottom.
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Limitations of this Process
This experimental process may be limited to one site location or even to
single, individual panels, or at least to very limited geographical areas due to the
weathering process and slope, direction, and exposure of the petroglyphs. This is
because of the impact of environmental conditions (i.e. sunlight, wind, and rain
exposure) on the process of varnishing and then re-vamishing. It will not be the same
for all locations.
It will be limited to petroglyphs made on the same type of rock within a
site/area. Different rock surfaces varnish at different rates and produce different
colors of varnish depending on their composition. The rocks within the proposed
study area are all basalt with a coating of dark, shiny, almost black varnish.
Reflectance readings must be taken under controlled light conditions.
Variation in the amount of illumination (light projected onto the petroglyph surface)
has an impact on the reflectance (reflected light) measurements. Reflectance readings
for each petroglyph and boulder in this research were completed in approximately 5
minutes. Illumination readings were taken before and after the reflectance readings
were taken. Different illumination readings were averaged to ensure consistency in
the final brightness value.
Statistical analysis may not produce a smooth, linear scale of chronological
dates. Instead, reflectance readings may indicate groupings due to the slowness of the
re-vamishing process. The granularity of this process may be on the order of many
81


years. Dr. Loendorf (1989) estimated an arbitrary span of 1000 years, but did
indicate that this could be narrowed with further research.
Research Part Two
Part Two of my research focuses on a theoretical application of the rock
varnish reflectance chronological seriation method and the applicability of rock art to
answer questions of cultural identity. The following hypotheses are addressed:
c. Hypothesis One: There is an association between element location within
the rock art landscape (or subgroups within the overall area) and the
element characteristics. The location of the element(s) are significant and
may indicate group, clan, ritual, etc. Different groups can be identified
and chronologically seriated, and indicate area use by multiple groups and
the order of occupation by these groups over time. If the three styles of
rock art identified on PCMS are of different ages, they are susceptible to
chronological brightness seriation.
1) Statistical Test: Multi-variable Chi-Square with Cramers V of
style age group to dark/light values.
2) Rock varnish reflectance data, and historic ethnographic data are
analyzed. Ethnographic analogy and metaphoric association are
explored.
d. Hypothesis Two: There is a relationship between the chronological age of
the petroglyphs and their locations within the panel or landscape. That is,
82


the entire area of the rock art field was used equally, or there was a
chronological first group, second group, third group, etc.
1) Statistical Test: For correlation, Pearsons R, or Spearmans R, to
test chronological age versus element location.
2) Rock varnish reflectance data, and historic ethnographic data
identifying specific cultural symbols (i.e. Archaic, Apache, etc.)
are analyzed. Ethnographic analogy and metaphoric association
are explored.
The hypotheses in Part II of my research are answered considering both direct
ethnographic historical evidence and ethnographic analogy. I have come to
appreciate during my studies that the life ways of the indigenous American groups are
filled with a rich diversity of symbolism. Direct ethnographic and historical evidence
exists that outlines the symbolism of many of these groups involving their daily lives,
their rituals, their creation myths and their supematuralist religions. Many petroglyph
symbols are directly attributable to specific cultural groups, i.e. the Ganhs figures of
the Apache (Haley, 1997), and the four sacred arrows of the Cheyenne (Berthrong
1963).
Historic ethnographic research plays an important part in answering Part II
hypotheses. However, there were archaic human groups living in the region long
before the historic tribes arrived. Ethnographic analogy is used (with caution) when
attempting to identify/interpret culturally non-specific petroglyphs, and particularly
83


petroglyphs that are chronologically seriated to dates that are pre-historic, or prior to
the arrival of western civilizations that began to document American Indian cultures.
Groups such as the Wichita, Pawnee, Apache, Arapahoe, Apishapa and Sopris will be
considered. Caution is required when applying ethnographic analogy due to the
nomadic nature of early hunter-gatherer groups who migrated from place to place to
find food, were displaced by stronger groups during periods of warfare, and who
made major long distance moves following the arrival of the Europeans, the changing
nature of groups belief systems, and the introduction of the horse to the Plains.
The end result of interpretations is expected to range from simple
identification of a particular culture or sub culture that created the rock art (i.e.
Mescalaro Apache) by isolating uniquely Mescalaro Apache symbols, to a narrative
analysis based on the ordering of several key petroglyphs that can be attributed to the
same culture, as in the Plains Apache creation myth. For example, if the oldest
symbol on a panel/landscape is Mescalaro Apache, then it can be presumed that the
Mescalaro were the first to create rock art at this location. Key to the chronological
seriation analysis is to determine the order in which various groups used the research
area, and to determine if different groups used the same area over time. If rock art
that is ethnographically identifiable as Cheyenne chronologically seriates after the
Mescalaro, then an order of group use can be identified (i.e. Mescalaro Apache, then
Cheyenne, etc.).
All of the information presented up to this point culminates with the fieldwork
84


and data collection effort. The resulting study information is used to in developing
the study results and in answering the thesis hypotheses.
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CHAPTER 5
RESULTS
We move now from background and experimental setup procedures to the
actual data collected during my fieldwork. The background information presented in
chapters 2, 3, and 4 will now be put to practical use in describing the petroglyphs at
the study site and in beginning to interpret some of these petroglyphs. This
information will be important to discussions throughout chapters 5 and 6. For
example, I used a combination of both informed and formal methods to conduct this
study. The ethnographic research provided considerable information on what I could
expect to find if the petroglyphs were made by recent inhabitants, and proved
valuable when I found some that fit this category. The information on rock art
provides a reference in discussion various aspects of the rock art at the study site.
The information on metaphor and metonym contribute to interpretations of the
symbols themselves. The use of the experimental chronological seriation method
allowed me to identify the middle and late archaic as the primary time period of site
use, with the late archaic having the largest number of petroglyphs.
In order to confirm my experimental chronological dating method I started off
with past research to establish a reliable chronological baseline with which to
compare my readings. A 1991 study conducted by the University of North Dakota
86


under the direction of Dr. Lawrence Loendorf, created a chronology of the totally
pecked elements from the PCMS (Loendorf 1991). This chronology is shown in
Figure 4.1 (all maps and figures from the 1991 study are used with permission). This
chronology was developed using a seriation study of rock art types occurring in the
PCMS, and varnish cover estimates. Specific dates for some of the elements on the
chronology were added later using cation-ratio dating and are years before present.
Although there have been some problems identified with cation-ratio dating (Dr.
Loendorf personal communication, Keyser and Klassen 2001), these dates are left on
the chronology for reference. Also, I tested my data against these dates, as explained
later.
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_________ARCHAIC________________________________CERAMIC
Middle I Late Early I Middle I Late
Representational
Years B.P. Curvilinear Rectilinear Quadrupeds Anthropomorphs
Figure 5.1. Style Chart from Loendorf (1991).
88


I used Figure 4.1 to develop age groups to use in my statistical comparisons.
These age groups are based on the divisions of the Archaic and Ceramic ages as
indicated in Figure 4.2. Note that I have added a Historic division (age group 6, and
style division 5).
Style _______________1 2 3 4 5-Historic
'Representations I
Years B.P. Curvilinear Rectilinear Quadrupeds Anthropomorphs
6
5
4
3
2
1
Groups
Figure 5.2. Style Chart Showing Age Group Divisions on the
Right and Style Divisions Along the Top.
89