Marking the Sacred: Rock Art Images in an Unusual Context

Author(s): Jewel Gentry; Donna L. Gillette

Year: 2016


Rock art images, generally associated with outdoor landscapes and boulders occur in an unexpected context and very sacred space in the California Spanish colonial community of Mission San Miguel the Arcángel. The Mission Community consisted primarily of Salinan and Tulare native populations and included neophyte Indians from previously established nearby Missions. It has been suggested that images found etched throughout the sanctified interior are analogous to California Indian rock art with subsequent parallels being drawn from regional archaeological sites. Current research broadens previous studies by relating spatial positions of proposed neophyte etchings within San Miguel to Catholic mandates which directed the use of sacred space. Spatial and liturgical organization of neophytes within the mission church was defined by many factors including; age, gender, musical aptitude, and level of religious training, with access to sacred space being linked to neophyte identity and status. Associated to this, proposed neophyte etchings within the church of San Miguel are found in pronounced form in areas of access corresponding to prominent status within the church. This observation offers many compelling perspectives related to neophyte continuance of rock art traditions and the conflation of indigenous traditions in the continued formation of sacred space

Cite this Record

Marking the Sacred: Rock Art Images in an Unusual Context. Jewel Gentry, Donna L. Gillette. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 403489)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -125.464; min lat: 32.101 ; max long: -114.214; max lat: 42.033 ;