Tag Archives | rock art

Ancient Native American Rock Art Reflects Complex Cosmological Belief System

 

Pic: Credit: Jan Simek, Alan Cressler, Nicholas Herrmann and Sarah Sherwood/Antiquity Publications Ltd. (C(

Pic: Credit: Jan Simek, Alan Cressler, Nicholas Herrmann and Sarah Sherwood/Antiquity Publications Ltd. (C(

University of Tennessee researchers have discovered that North America’s prehistoric art depicts a complex religious and cosmological belief system:

It is likely some of the most widespread and oldest art in the United States. Pieces of rock art dot the Appalachian Mountains, and research by University of Tennessee, Knoxville, anthropology professor Jan Simek finds each engraving or drawing is strategically placed to reveal a cosmological puzzle.

Recently, the discoveries of prehistoric rock art have become more common. With these discoveries comes a single giant one—all these drawing and engravings map the prehistoric peoples’ cosmological world.

The research led by Simek, president emeritus of the UT system and a distinguished professor of science, is published in this month’s edition of the journal Antiquity. The paper is co-authored by Nick Herrmann of Mississippi State University, Alan Cressler of the U.S.

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America’s Own Ancient Rock Art

Those interested in the first evidence of art usually focus on sites like Lascaux in France or Altamira in Spain, but for Americans it turns out there is a site in California’s China Lake, near Death Valley, that rivals those or any other rock art locations around the world. David Page managed to visit despite the U.S. Navy declaring the area off limits, for the New York Times:

Ridgecrest, Calif. — We were inside Restricted Area R-505 of the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, rolling in a minivan across the vast salt pan of an extinct Pleistocene lake on our way to see a renowned collection of ancient rock art. On the console between the seats was a long-range two-way radio. It was there so that our escort, a civilian Navy public affairs officer named Peggy Shoaf, could keep abreast of where and when any bombs would be dropped — or launched, or whatever — so that we wouldn’t be there when it happened.

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