Inscribed Places: Examining Rock Art Sites on the Pajarito Plateau

Author(s): Alison Livesay

Year: 2015


At Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), one constantly encounters cultural remains of the past, whether they are of research buildings utilized during the Manhattan Era, or the remnants of dwellings of Pre-Columbian farmers on the Pajarito Plateau. Rock art sites are often encountered places where images of various meanings have been physically pecked and scratched out by people inscribing their identities and worldviews onto the surrounding landscape. Because a landscape can persist in form and memory in various states of visitation, deterioration, and commemoration, we need to view rock art in relation to surrounding habitation and activity sites, as well as natural resources at various scales. I take a landscape approach combining Puebloan ethnography and GIS applications to examine approximately 150 rock art sites in the LANL cultural resources database dating from A.D. 600 - 1600. This approach allows for recognition of robust spatial and temporal patterns, such as the range of variation in topographic settings through time. Are there differences in where certain motifs can be seen and accessed, and conversely, are there places where certain images are not depicted and cannot be viewed? Can we identify differences between interior cavate or kiva art and isolated petroglyph panels?

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Inscribed Places: Examining Rock Art Sites on the Pajarito Plateau. Alison Livesay. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 398169)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -115.532; min lat: 30.676 ; max long: -102.349; max lat: 42.033 ;