Archaeological News

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Posts tagged "rock art"

WISHRAM — All he was looking for was a little retirement property. But Robert Zornes, a Forks RV-park owner, wound up with quite a lot more.

“I kept seeing this property, 122 acres on more than a mile of the Columbia River for a quarter-million dollars, then it’s lowered to $100,000. And I am thinking, ‘This has to be a practical joke,’” Zornes said. So he bought it, right off a real estate website, without ever talking to the property owner.

Then came the big surprise: He had purchased one of the most historically and archaeologically sensitive pieces of property in the state.

Home to a campsite and portage route on the Lewis and Clark Trail. A cave, with prehistoric Indian rock art. Indian burials, petroglyphs and story stones. Read more.

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 researchers proposed that rock art changed the natural landscape to reflect a three-dimensional universe central to the religion of the prehistoric Mississippian period. Read more.

The oldest and most widespread collection of prehistoric cave and rock art in the United States has been found in and around Tennessee, according to a new paper in the journal Antiquity that documents the art. It provides intriguing clues about what life was like for Native American societies more than 6,000 years ago. That is the age of the newly discovered cave art, one of which is seen here, showing what appears to be a human hunting. Other images are of a more direct spiritual/mythological nature.

Lead author Jan Simek, president emeritus and a distinguished professor of science at the University of Tennessee’s Department of Anthropology, told Discovery News, “The discoveries tell us that prehistoric peoples in the Cumberland Plateau used this rather distinctive upland environment for a variety of purposes and that religion was part of that broader sense of place. Read more.

NANAIMO, B.C. — Members of a Nanaimo First Nations group are outraged after crews contracted by BC Hydro damaged a documented ancient rock art site during work last week.

Douglas White, chief of the Snuneymuxw First Nation said the damage is disrespectful of native heritage and he doesn’t understand how crews could make the mistake, since existing petroglyph rock art sites are documented and protected by legislation.

Petroglyphs can be more than 2,000 years old and typically feature etched drawings that serve as a record of First Nations history on the surface of flat bedrock sandstone.

“This is a notoriously well-known site,” White said. “I don’t understand this to be a mistake that can be made … this is the kind of desecration where I would expect charges to be laid.”  Read more.

The horses and bears painted on the cave walls of Chauvet, France, are looked upon with awe as the handiwork of people who lived thousands of years ago.

In the American Southwest, Kokopelli – the humpbacked fertility god of Pueblo mythology – plays his flute over many a rock face … and on many a tourist T-shirt and coffee mug.

Yet very few people know that a wealth of ancient rock art lies in their backyard, hidden underneath the tangled vines and towering trees of the Carolinas foothills and mountains. Not as elaborate, well-preserved or easily interpreted as those in France and the Southwest, there are nevertheless more than 100 sites where archaeologists think prehistoric people expressed themselves with the tools at hand – stones for chipping, clay for painting. Read more.

New research has revealed a large collection of Indigenous rock engravings in the Pilbara could be the amongst the oldest in the world.

Researchers from the Australian National University have measured the natural erosion rates of rock on the Burrup Peninsula which is home to one of the world’s largest galleries of rock art.

The results show the area has some of the lowest erosion rates anywhere in the world, helping to preserve the art.

Professor Brad Pillans says the combination of hard rock and a dry climate means the engravings could be up to 60,000 years old.

"While we haven’t actually dated the rock art directly, what we have been able to measure are very, very low erosion rates on the surfaces on the rock associated with the rock art," he said. Read more.

Archaeologists at the University of Wollongong will soon be collaborating on discoveries in a cave in Indonesia.

Prof Simanjuntak is part of a group excavating Harimau (“Tiger”) Cave in Sumatra, which has yielded “some very, very impressive finds”.

Among these is the first example of rock art in Sumatra and the discovery of 66 human burials dating back about 3000 years.

"Sixty-six is very strange," Prof Simanjuntak said.

"We’ve never found it before, such a big quantity of burials. Read more.

Urgent action is needed to prevent ancient art disappearing,  Newcastle University experts have warned.

Researchers from the International Centre for Cultural and Heritage Studies (ICCHS)  and School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences (CEG) studied the physical underpinnings and condition of Neolithic and Bronze Age rock art panels in Northumberland. They conclude climate change could cause the art to vanish because new evidence suggests stones may deteriorate more rapidly in the future.

Writing in the Journal of Cultural and Heritage Studies, they say action is needed so the art can be preserved for future generations, but they also urge that a deeper understanding is needed of what causes rock art to deteriorate. Read more.