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Phylogenetic Approaches in Examining Western North American Rock Art: The Evolution of the Shield-Bearing Warrior Motif

Author(s): Karly Law ; Ben Chiewphasa ; Lorena Craig

Year: 2016

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Summary

The present study examines rock art and its ritual landscapes as the physical remnants of evolving cultural traditions. By incorporating an evolutionary framework in rock art studies, we can determine if rock art traditions evolved via descent with modification versus blending and borrowing of ideas. This project focuses on Fremont and Ceremonial Style shield-bearing warrior motifs associated with ritual contexts and spaces (animal medicine, cosmology, and shamanism). Drawing upon several approaches to phylogenetic analysis, we argue that motifs were evolved more by phylogenesis than ethnogenesis. Signals of descent with modification can best be explained by the continuity of ritual standardization where spatial awareness and certain visions and imagery are expected during vision quests and shamanistic initiations. The shield-bearing warrior may have changed from a motif representative of the individual into a motif more emblematic of broader group identities (i.e. warrior brotherhoods, ethnic or cultural groups, and secret shaman societies).


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Phylogenetic Approaches in Examining Western North American Rock Art: The Evolution of the Shield-Bearing Warrior Motif. Karly Law, Ben Chiewphasa, Lorena Craig. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 403486)


Keywords


Spatial Coverage

min long: -113.95; min lat: 30.751 ; max long: -97.163; max lat: 48.865 ;

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America