Contextualizing Petroglyphs: Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) and Public Archaeology

Author(s): Letitia C Mumford; Olivia M Snover

Year: 2018


The central question that drives our inquiry is: How can technology, specifically Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI), pair with material culture and archived/published oral tradition in order to enhance visitor experiences at a sacred American Indian site? Jeffers Petroglyphs is a Dakota site located in Comfrey, Minnesota with over 5,000 known petroglyphs, dating up to 7,000 years. Today, these petroglyphs hold spiritual and historical significance for the Dakota people, yet cannot be fully examined due to variable lighting conditions. In this paper, we will argue that contextualizing RTI data with archived oral histories will enhance the Jeffers visitor experience by facilitating optimal petroglyph viewing, preserving vulnerable (and vanishing) content, and linking specific rock art to changing mythologies and multiple historical and political contexts, as recorded in the archived and published oral histories.

Cite this Record

Contextualizing Petroglyphs: Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) and Public Archaeology. Letitia C Mumford, Olivia M Snover. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2018 ( tDAR id: 441890)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 734