Friday, July 18, 2008

Opportunity to Learn About Indigenous Native American Rock Art in Lower Pecos River Area

The painted images adorning the walls of hundreds of rockshelters and minor overhangs uniquely define the Lower Pecos River region. The striking and inspiring rock art is celebrated, photographed, illustrated, recorded, and studied by hundreds of enthusiasts across the country and a much smaller number of dedicated researchers. However, it is very hard to come to a full understanding of the indigenous perspective on these images. Where they for hunting rituals? Where they used by shamans? How old are they? Who made them?

Now there is a great opportunity to learn about these amazing images from some of the leading experts in the field. The Pecos Experience: The Art and Archeology of the Lower Pecos is an amazing chance to gain a deeper understanding of the importance and power of understanding and protecting these special images. Offered between October 5 - 10, 2008 by the Studying Human Use of Materials, Land, and Art, this week long educational experience is guaranteed to be enlightening.

Here is more about this opportunity.

There is a concentration of spectacular rock art located in southwest Texas, around the Devils River and the confluence of the Pecos River and the Rio Grande, that has been described by Dr. Jean Clottes in the following manner, "...it is my considered opinion after having seen rock art on all the continents that the Pecos River rock art is second to none and ranks among the top bodies of rock art anywhere in the world."

Pecos Experience is a week-long program during which participants are taken to a number of these rock art sites. This imagery is not well known and is under appreciated outside of the academic community. Pecos Experience gives a small group of people the opportunity to view this art, much of which is located on private land.

Each days' activities are led by SHUMLA Executive Director Dr. Carolyn Boyd and a visiting rock art researcher. This years' visiting scholar is Dr. Jo McDonald of Canberra, Australia. In past years visiting scholars have included Dr. Jean Clottes, Dr. David S. Whitley, and Dr. James D. Keyser. Other program activities familiarize participants with various aspects of hunter-gatherer lifeways.

For more information check the SHUMLA Web site.

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3 comments:

Ryan Hurd said...

Great to hear that rock art is getting more popular attention and respect. There's a lot of rock art in CA, where I live, but much of it is still unrecorded and unprotected. Part and parcel of public interest is a need to find ways to preserve these important cultural artifacts.

Peter N. Jones said...

I agree Ryan, there is a lot of undocumented rock art in many parts of the US that needs to be protected. What I am excited about is that rock art is no longer being looked at simply as another thing of the past, but is being understood as a living part of many Native Americans contemporary lives. The meaning associated with the images is still alive - we just need to make sure we include indigenous peoples voices in our discussions/understandings of these amazing places and images.

Ryan Hurd said...

yes - the rocks are still alive, and so are the stories. I recorded some rock art with a crew in Nicaragua a couple years ago and even there (where indigenous culture has been decimated and repressed for centuries), the locals still have respect for the rock art as well as contemporary practices (all in the shadows of the Catholic church).

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