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The Tale of Rattlesnake Canyon: Ongoing Documentation of an Endangered Rock Art Site

Author(s): Victoria Roberts ; Audrey Lindsay ; Jerod Roberts ; Carolyn Boyd

Year: 2017

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The Rattlesnake Canyon mural represents one of the most well-preserved and compositionally intricate rock art murals in the Lower Pecos Canyonlands, and perhaps the world. Deposited gravels from a major flood episode in June 2014, however, raised the canyon floor approximately 10 feet, enabling future floods to destroy the fragile panel. This presentation provides an update on emergency documentation efforts currently underway at Rattlesnake Canyon. Documentation and analyses of this mural includes: 3D modeling and other advanced photographic techniques engaging color management, digital field microscopy to examine paint layer stratigraphy, production of graphic databases for the 271 figures comprising the mural, elemental analyses of the pigments using pXRF, and the collection of detailed attribute data for each of the figures. This level of detailed documentation is not only preserving the site for future generations, it is also revealing a highly sophisticated graphic expression produced by foragers approximately 3,000 years ago.

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The Tale of Rattlesnake Canyon: Ongoing Documentation of an Endangered Rock Art Site. Victoria Roberts, Audrey Lindsay, Jerod Roberts, Carolyn Boyd. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431798)


Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15480

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