Rock Art Studies

This course provides a general overview of the field of rock art.  It offers information on a variety of rock art recording techniques, current research in conservation and interpretation of rock imagery, and a synopsis of styles documented in Colorado.  This course can be applied toward the requirements of an independent study certificate within the Specialty Surveyor module.  It will be of value to all those interested in broadening their knowledge of Colorado's cultural heritage.

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Petroglyph of a deer at Trincheras Cave.

Petroglyph of a deer at Trincheras Cave.

Photo by Kevin Black.

Class Outline

  1. Introduction
    1. History of Colorado rock art studies
    2. Rock art terminology
  2. Field Methods
    1. Permit requirements
    2. Recording panels as components of whole sites
    3. Panel recording techniques
    4. Conservation & ethics
  3. Interpretations
    1. Rock art technology
    2. Rock art chronology and dating methods
    3. Rock art taxonomy and typology
    4. Rock art functions
  4. An overview of Colorado rock art
    1. Paleo-Indian period
    2. Archaic period
      1. Abstract tradition
      2. Representational tradition(s)
    3. Post-Archaic period
      1. Northeastern plains and foothills
      2. Southeastern plains
      3. Northwestern plateaus
      4. Mountains and west-central plateaus
      5. Southwestern canyons and mesas
    4. Historic Period
      1. Navajo rock art
      2. Eastern Shoshoni rock art
      3. Ute rock art
      4. Apache rock art
      5. Plains Biographic style
      6. Euro-American rock art