Rock Art Resonance: preliminary results of an experimental acoustic study
Part of the Rock Art Resonance (DRAFT) project
Author(s): Chester Liwosz
Pecked petroglyphs of a prehistoric Mojave Desert slot canyon hint at experience crafting processes in rock image production. The unique qualities here not shared by other area petroglyph sites support the need to consider archaeological and geographic context of these sites as a critical variable, rather than an assumed constant. With narrow passages, dry falls, and towering vertical walls, the slot's metamorphosed limestone substrate yields the potential for sound characteristics not found at many other petroglyph sites in the region. A summer 2014 expedition undertook experimentation with percussive sounds in the highest density concentrations of rock art within the slot. This research aims to identify novel acoustic properties brought about by both the unique landform and curious continuity of the use of a pecking strategy in image production. Weathering suggests continuity in pecked engraving technique over a substantial time depth – likely spanning through both the Numic and part of the Archaic Periods. This study adds depth to the range of variables to consider relevant in recording rock art sites. More broadly, it demonstrates the capacity of experimental archaeology to push the limits of interpretation by expanding the range of inferences which can be reasonably drawn from even faint traces.
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Cite this Record
Rock Art Resonance: preliminary results of an experimental acoustic study. Chester Liwosz. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397993)
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min long: -122.761; min lat: 29.917 ; max long: -109.27; max lat: 42.553 ;