Inyan: Towards Understanding Sioux Quartzite and a Sacred Landscape


Both archaeological and ethnographic evidence supports the idea that the locations of petroglyphs and pictographs are considered sacred. In the Northern Plains of North America, the Jeffers Petroglyphs and similar petroglyph sites along the Red Rock Ridge are part of a landscape which includes habitations, petroforms, lithic reduction sites, and quarries. We report on the results of archaeological fieldwork at four sites along the Red Rock Ridge near the Jeffers Petroglyphs: a habitation site (21CO34), two quarry sites (21CO53, 21CO56), and a smaller petroglyph site (21CO55). Our focus is the material evidence which reveals the range of activities at these sites and the use of lithic raw materials, including Sioux Quartzite. The diversity of the habitation site tool kit suggests a wide range of activities for the site’s occupants. The quarry site assemblages are more enigmatic, but demonstrate that the Red Rock Ridge was an important source of stone. Shovel tests at the petroglyph site produced lithic artifacts, including non-local raw materials and abundant fractured Sioux Quartzite suggesting quarry activity was widespread. This material evidence tells us about the complexity of human activity on the landscape and adds to our understanding of how people experienced this sacred place.

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Cite this Record

Inyan: Towards Understanding Sioux Quartzite and a Sacred Landscape. Brian Hoffman, Chelsea Starke, Forest Seaberg-Wood, Kevin Reider, Liesl Weber Darnell. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395094)


Quarry Rock Art

Geographic Keywords
North America - Midwest

Spatial Coverage

min long: -104.634; min lat: 36.739 ; max long: -80.64; max lat: 49.153 ;