Did Deer Cloud Live Before Columbus?

 

Indigenous People of the United States

Indigenous People of the United States

 In my book, Peyote Fire: Shaman of the Canyons, the protagonist Deer Cloud paints stories of his gods on the wall of a rockshelter overlooking a river. The rock art is still there today for people to see. But when exactly was it painted? How old is it? Did that happen before Columbus visited America?

I get asked these questions a lot. In general Americans are pretty foggy on events in North America prior to European settlement. As it turns out, people like Deer Cloud created the Pecos River style rock art in the canyons along the Rio Grande just west of Del Rio, Texas,  about the same time as the Minoans flourished in Crete. That’s about 4,000 years ago, or 2,000 years BC.

Below is a short timeline on human occupation of North America, with some comparative information to add context with the rest of the world. When you look at the timeline, notice what was going on around the world in 2000 BC, or about 4,000 years ago.  What happened before? What happened after?  Please note that all dates are rounded and open to debate and new evidence.

Be watching for a quiz later this spring to win a free copy of my book! I hope you win!

Who, When and Where: Rough Timeline of Human Occupation of North America

Buffalo, the mainstay of North American Plains Indians

Buffalo, the mainstay of North American Plains Indians

1879 Traditional life of the Great Plains Indians is over. Other Native Americans have either moved to reservations or died. The buffalo of the Great Plains are gone, over 65 million destroyed by white hunters.

1875  The last Comanche villages in Palo Duro Canyon (Texas) destroyed by U.S. Army

1776   U.S. Declaration of Independence from England

1730   Founding of San Antonio by Spanish settlers in Texas

1718 Founding of New Orleans by the French

 1700-1875   Comanche, Kiowa and Apache rule the Great Plains of North America

1642 Founding of Montreal, Canada by the French as Ville Marie

1620 Pilgrims land at Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts

1610   Don Pedro de Peralta establishes Santa Fe in New Mexico as the capital of the province of New Spain

1532 Pizarro begins the defeat of the Incas in Peru

1521 Cortez conquers the Aztecs in Mexico

1492 AD   Christopher Columbus makes landfall in the Caribbean

1000-1400 AD   Navajo and Apache migrate south from present-day Canada

http://newmexicohistory.org/places/navajo-nation-from-prehistory-to-the-twentieth-century, http://www.ihs.gov/navajo/index.cfm?module=nao_navajo_nation, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apache, http://www.indians.org/articles/apache-indians.html

Cahokia, courtesy of Britannica.com

Cahokia, courtesy of Britannica.com

700 AD   Cahokia settlement first established near what is today St. Louis http://cahokiamounds.org, http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2011/01/cahokia/hodges-text, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cahokia

0 The Common Era Begins

44 BC        Death of Julius Caesar

776 BC     First Olympic games

449 BC     Construction begun on Acropolis in Athens

800 BC     Founding of Rome

1,000 BC  Adena culture appears in what is today Ohio http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adena_culture

2,000 BC     Pecos River style polychrome rock art along the Rio Grande

Lower Pecos rock art

Lower Pecos rock art

http://www.texasbeyondhistory.net/pecos/art.html, http://www.rockart.org, http://www.shumla.org

  • 1790 BC Code of Hammurabi
  • 2000 BC Maya Pre-Classic period in Central America
  • 2000 BC Minoans worship the mother goddess in Crete
  • 2600 BC Stonehenge begun in Britain
  • 2750 BC First Egyptian pyramid begun at Saqqara

3000 BC Evidence of silk production in China

  • 3114 BC Beginning of the Maya Long Count
  • 3200-2340 BC cities begin in Mesopotamia
  • 3300 BC Bronze Age begins in Egypt, Mesopotamia, and perhaps Britain
  • 3300 BC “Otzi the Iceman” dies in the Alps between today’s Austria and Italy
  • 3700 BC invention of wooden carts in Central Asia
  • 3750 BC First evidence of cotton weaving in India
  • 3761 BC Origin of the modern Hebrew calendar

4,000 BC     Old Copper Complex emerges in what will one day be Wisconsin http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Copper_Complex

  • 4000 BC First Egyptian hieroglyphs

6,000 BC     Domestication of corn in Mexico http://teosinte.wisc.edu/questions.html, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maize

The bones of Kenniwick Man, courtesy of the Seattle Times

The bones of Kenniwick Man, courtesy of the Seattle Times

7,500 BC     Kenniwick Man lived on northwest coast http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kennewick_Man http://www.burkemuseum.org/kennewickman

  • 11,000 BC Clovis culture emerges http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clovis_culture

19,000-12,000 BC       Human beings arrive in North America http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buttermilk_Creek_Complex, http://www.gaultschool.org/Home.aspx, http://www.texasbeyondhistory.net/gault/, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meadowcroft_Rockshelter

 

Author Gary McCarthy Revisits Mesa Verde Thunder

Mesa Verde Cliff Palace

Mesa Verde Cliff Palace

I’m pleased to welcome award-winning Western author Gary McCarthy to the blog today. Gary has written over 50 books about the American West, with over 3 million books in print. His work is available in trade paperbacks as well as ebooks. Learn more about him at www.canyoncountrybooks.com or Amazon.

Gary McCarthy

Gary McCarthy

  Your book Mesa Verde Thunder is set in the famous prehistoric cliff dwellings in southwestern Colorado while most of your other novels are either westerns or classic historical novels. Why did you write MESA VERDE THUNDER, a prehistoric novel? I’ve often traveled over to the Four Corners area while visiting Lake Powell and the beautiful and rugged country all around there. I’ve been in Canyon de Chelly and have seen their ancient ruins as well as in many other national monuments. But of all these cliff dwellings and ancient ruins, none can compare to Mesa Verde National Park which is the largest archeological preserve in the United States with over 4,700 sites, 600 of which are cliff dwellings.

Mesa Verde Thunder

Mesa Verde Thunder

Who were those ancient peoples and what were they really like? Hunters and gatherers, sure, but if you look at the petroglyphs and pictographs in those deep canyons, you have to believe that they were also a very SPIRITUAL people. They were called the Anasazi which I believe loosely means “ancient enemies” by the Navajo. Today they are generally called “Ancestral Puebloans” which reflects their modern descendants, the Hopi and the Zuni. When I first witnessed Mesa Verde as a small boy, I was awestruck…not only by the cliff dwellings, but by a perfectly preserved body of one of the cliff dwellers. The small mummy rested in a glass coffin out in front of a government building and I couldn’t help but stare and wonder what that man or woman’s life had been like. Of course their lives were much shorter and harder than ours today, but were their hopes and dreams so very different? Even as a boy I thought not.

Before I began to think of a storyline for Mesa Verde Thunder, I revisited the national park many times and

Mesa Verde National Park

Mesa Verde National Park

talked to the park ranges, anthropologists and archaeologists. I asked endless questions of them….what do the writings in stone really tell us today? Why did the “ancient ones” come to Mesa Verde and why did they suddenly leave around 1300 AD? I found myself on fire with curiosity about these little known people. What did their names sound like and what or  who were their gods? Every people have a creation story…what was theirs? The experts differed on almost all their answers…but in the end they said that if I studied the Hopi and Zuni, their traditions and beliefs, I’d get a better understanding of those long ago cliff dwelling peoples. And so that is exactly what I did and out of it slowly begin to emerge a story, with the RAVEN CLAN and its many characters some of whom I liked and disliked with names like ECHATA, LI-TIA and STORYTELLER.

How did you come up with a plot for the novel when so little is actually known of the people? I wanted to tell not only the story of the “ancient ones” but also how Mesa Verde was discovered and then, sadly plundered. So I began to write TWO stories, one in recorded time beginning around 1888 that set up a clash between those early preservationists who fought to save the ruins for posterity and by careful excavation and study what those cliff dwellers were like…as opposed to those who were simply interested in profit. And this is a clash between opposites that continues to this very day not only in America, but all over the world. I enjoyed the more modern characters, but honestly not as much as the wonderful characters that I created who lived, loved and hunted, lusted and dreamed inside the deep, stony silence of Mesa Verde.

Mesa Verde in Winter

Mesa Verde in Winter

And as for why did they arrive in Mesa Verde around 1AD and why did they leave around 1300 AD, what I heard most often was that these small, tough little suvivalists of the ancient Southwest behaved like all prehistoric peoples…they went where they had the best chance to survive. Where there was game, good soil to plant in, plenty of wood burn for warmth and protection and most certainly most important of all, where there was water. And so, that is why the Anasazi left Mesa Verde…because dendrochronology (tree ring analysis) shows without a doubt that the Southwest was gripped in a terrible drought.

Try if you will to imagine those peoples as year after year of drought drained their hope and their strength which also meant their ability to fight of wandering peoples who would surely kill and plunder a weaker clan or village. What I think happened is that, as the drought around the Southwest intensified over many decades, the Anasazi grew weaker while they had to work ever harder. Deer and other game would have left the area in search of grass and water. Nearby trees that had long provided fuel on the mesa tops would have been harvested making wood gathering ever more difficult year after desperate year. Less food and less fuel for the hard winters costing much more precious energy. And here is the great and most interesting

Climbing Ladders at Mesa Verde

Climbing Ladders at Mesa Verde

question…did they one day sit down with the starving remnants of their people and have a meeting and decide to leave Mesa Verde all together for protection against what they might face in unknown places? Or, as I think more likely, did families in small groups seeing their old and young starving and even their people in the prime of their lives growing increasingly weak…did they just quietly leave those magnificent stone dwellings and walk away into the unknown? Some would no doubt have been killed off by peoples stronger and more numerous than themselves, others would likely have been welcomed and integrated into new cultures. What fascinating stories they could tell us about their long ago exodus!

What is your latest novel? I just finished one set in the period 1972-1977; a big time difference from the

Elvis and Cowboy Charlie

Elvis and Cowboy Charlie

Anasazi but not so far in terms of physical distance. It’s called Elvis & Cowboy Charlie and I loved writing the novel because so many Elvis fans just wished Elvis had met a man like Cowboy Charlie and would have turned his life around. It was a “what if” novel and something I’ve wanted to write for years because I was a big fan. I sure can’t change history, but it’s fun to play with it as long as the reader knows the real story.

Why does the American West hold such a fascination for you? I grew up when cowboy westerns were popular and we watched great shows like Bonanza, Gunsmoke and the great movies where silver screen heroes like John Wayne, Clint Eastwood and Gregory Peck brought the struggles of the West to life. I still love westerns, although they have fallen out of favor…but Russell Crowe and especially Kevin Costner and Robert Duvall have brought a new slant to the American West and with Dances with Wolves and other great movies, people have a chance to better understand what we did to Native Americans and how they still managed to remain strong and vital with their cultures and traditions intact.

With 50 books, you’re a master. Do you have any tips for beginning writers? I believe they should write what they love and not try to copy other writers and jump onto whatever is currently popular. I have always thought that it is the CHARACTERS that we create that are most important…not the plot or the setting. Create complex, deeply developed characters in your novels and it doesn’t matter if they are flying around in space…or sitting in a New York apartment or hunting deer with an atlatl as the Anasazi did long ago. Readers love great characters above all and they are the hardest thing for any writer to create. I wish I could tell you how to create them…but my only advice is just to love and hate and enjoy them and if you are true to your craft, the characters will magically just take on their own lives and even change your plots as their personalities become as real as our own.

Thanks, Gary. I appreciate you sharing with us on the blog. 

The Canyon Transformed: Again, June 24, 2014

Rain storm in the desert

Rain storm in the desert

Yet more rain fell near Langtry, Texas, yesterday, transforming Eagle Nest Canyon again. This time only about one-third of an inch created a flash flood that roared down the canyon as the crew worked in Eagle Cave. Please click on the link to see photos of this remarkable transformation.  Note that the big willows and other trees are completely gone.

The Canyon Transformed.

The Canyon Runs Deep: Flooding at Eagle Nest

The normally dry Eagle Nest Canyon near Langtry, Texas

The normally dry Eagle Nest Canyon near Langtry, Texas

June 20, 2014, saw a catastrophic flood in Eagle Nest Canyon near Langtry, Texas. They had 11.6 inches of rain in about eight hours. That’s almost the average annual rainfall in that place! Please click on the link below to see a photographic timeline of this event–and a moving documentary on the power of water.  Thanks to the Ancient Southwest Texas Project for posting these photos. click here  The Canyon Runs Deep.

Cord-Wrapped Fiber Bundle: A Most Curious Artifact Comes to Light

Blooming cactus in the rocks above Eagle Nest Canyon

Blooming cactus in the rocks above Eagle Nest Canyon

As excavation in Eagle Nest Canyon heads into the final month, a mysterious fiber artifact is found, of course!  Rumor is that really interesting artifacts are always found just as archaeological  projects are  about to finish.  There are numerous suggestions about what this particular artifact could be, but I’ll let you decide for yourself. Please click the link below to read the latest post from the Ancient South West Texas Project by Kevin Hanselka.

Cord-Wrapped Fiber Bundle: A Most Curious Artifact Comes to Light.

Cookin’ in the Canyon

 

Eagle Nest Canyon near Langtry, Texas

Eagle Nest Canyon near Langtry, Texas

In April I had the experience of cooking for two weeks for an archaeological crew of 14 currently working in Eagle Nest Canyon. This was as close to cooking for cowboys on the range as I will ever get, and I had always wanted to do that. The chuck box was calling my name! Well, really I wasn’t going to be cooking IN the canyon, but rather in the wonderful kitchen of the Shumla School, temporary headquarters for the Ancient Southwest Texas archaeological project from Texas State University.

Being a planner, I made out menus, downloaded recipes, gathered ingredients and equipment, and took off for the Lower Pecos. I was going to cook everything from scratch, wholesome, real food, with plenty of fresh vegetables and even homemade bread. I could do this, even though I was the only kitchen volunteer the first week. After all, I was only cooking dinner. The crew made their own breakfast, took sandwiches for lunch, and washed their own dishes. What could be hard?

Shumla School Dining Hall and Kitchen Building

Shumla School Dining Hall and Kitchen Building

There were various things I hadn’t counted on, however. Like the stove. A huge commercial kitchen stove, with six burners and a grill. It looks intimidating, but after a day or so, I got the hang of it (the ovens are a bit contrary).  Something else I had to contend with was simply

Shumla's Commercial Stove with Six Burners and Grill.

Shumla’s Commercial Stove with Six Burners and Grill.

finding the stuff to cook with. Where are the pots? ( in the metal cabinet) Where is a spoon? (in the other room) Where are the sharp knives? (there weren’t any–they were all too dull to cut water). Dry food was kept in two huge metal cabinets, and spices were kept in another room–a gigantic pantry. Two freezers held an assortment of stuff, but I basically had to empty them out to find anything. The commercial refrigerator was crammed with my milk, your milk, our milk, and everything else.

Snake Catcher Hanging by the Kitchen Door

Snake Catcher Hanging by the Kitchen Door

I was also overly ambitious. I had planned to make cookies, a main dish, a side dish, a salad, and

dessert everyday. Which I did the first two days. It nearly killed me. I worked on dinner for seven hours on Day 2, which was too much. I was pooped. It took me those two days to get the feel of the group I was cooking for: 1) they didn’t have much of a sweet tooth, and 2) they liked meat.

I had planned for big appetites.  I downloaded several Pioneer Woman recipes (thanks Ree Drummond!) , and they were big hits.  Make her Pizza Lasagna for a crowd!  Delicious.  It uses both ground beef and ground breakfast sausage, then adds pepperoni to the mix. She also uses three

cheeses in this dish: ricotta, mozzerella, and parmesan. I made fresh focaccia bread one night, and corn bread another. I did make several desserts, and my favorite was a chocolate chip cake with chocolate icing.  I was prepared to make some incredible Martha Stewart fig bars too, but had to wait for those until I got home.  Somehow at the end of the day,  beer won out over sweets for most of the crew.

Chocolate Chip Cake

Chocolate Chip Cake

The second week another very welcome volunteer came to help in the kitchen. Michael, thank you!  She was fantastic! Well, she too started out fast and hard, then burned out.  By the end of the second

Focaccia Bread

Focaccia Bread

week she was down for the count. So much for my fantasy of cooking over a campfire for the roundup.  Cooking from scratch for a bunch of hungry people every day is hard work! But I think the crew appreciated it, because after my two weeks was up, they had to go back to cooking for themselves when they got in from working down in the canyon.  Many of us know that routine. Only for them, the nearest fast food joint is about an hour away. They don’t really have a choice. Somebody has to cook to feed them all.

Get dirty with the Texas Archeological Society

Volunteers working with the Texas Archaeological Society

Members working with the Texas Archeological Society

I am pleased to introduce Wendy Lockwood, president of the Texas Archeological Society

Wendy Lockwood, President of the Texas Archaeological Society

Wendy Lockwood, President of the Texas Archaeological Society

(www.txarch.org) today. Wendy is a former science teacher who fell in love with archeology and rock art more than 20 years ago, and has been active in these fields ever since.  TAS will host it’s annual Field School June 14-21, 2014, near Columbus, Texas, on a site with both historic and prehistoric features.

Hi Wendy. Tell us about the Texas Archeological Society (TAS). What is it for? What does it do? The purpose of TAS is to promote an awareness of Texas archeology. The preservation of our archeological resources is our first priority. Professional archeologists AND avocationals work close together to see that this goal is met.

Can anyone join? Membership is open to anyone who is interested in archeology. We have memberships for individuals, families, students, and other societies and organizations. Membership forms are available online at www.txarch.org. The website offers a complete overview of who we are, what we do, and ways to become involved.

 Does TAS actually go on digs?  TAS host a field school ever summer early in June. Field School is held at TAS 2 copydifferent places throughout the state. This year it will near on a ranch near Columbus, June 14-21. Participants must be members of TAS. (Individual memberships = $60.00 annually, or family for $70.00). For those who work, there is the option of signing up for 3 days. The field school officially starts on Saturday morning and ends Friday night with a special program. For those who wish, breakfast and dinner meals are offered at a reasonable price. We camp in a central location, have programs each night, and work each day until around 1:00 in the afternoon. It is a great opportunity to meet new people, renew old acquaintances, laugh, and have loads of fun. Information about Field School can viewed at our website. You will also a short report and a few pictures from past field schools.

We offer teachers that are new to the field school a three-day program that can count toward academic growth hours. We also have a children’s program where we teach them the basics of archeology. They learn how to excavate (dig) properly, how to plot in artifacts, and take various measurements when needed. Along with these, they are treated to several small activities during the week. Field School offers a great family vacation to those who might be interested. Field School registration starts at $90.00 for an adult for three days, or $35.00 for three days for a child (ages 7-17).

Do you get to keep what you find? No, we do not keep any artifacts that are found. These belong to the landowner whose property we are privileged to be working on. If it is state-owned land, the artifacts go to the state. Artifacts are collected in the field and then sent to the Lab for processing. In the lab, artifacts are sorted, washed, and bagged for later study by the PI, the archeologist who is the Principle Investigator. There are terms and conditions that TAS must abide by when it comes to artifacts. These requirements are set down by state and Federal antiquities laws or regulations.

 Have you ever had any close encounters with varmints of any kind while on a dig? Varmints are something we have to always be on the lookout for. Depending on where you are assigned to work, there may be problems with insects, snakes, feral hogs, livestock, and other critters. After all, we do live in Texas. Fortunately, we have never had a bad experience with varmints. Personally, I have had some dealings with javelinas, a rattlesnake or two, a cottonmouth, a coyote, and fire ants. I had an encounter with a young mountain lion one time in Utah. We scared each other, both ran in opposite directions, so things were good.

What about weather?  If you have lived in Texas long enough, you know not to be surprised at what

Students get real experience at TAS field school

Students get real experience at TAS field school

happens with the weather. There is kind of a saying in TAS: “Where TAS goes, rain follows.” We have brought rain with us to so many places we have gone for Field School, that we laugh about charging folks a fee just to come work in their area. How does it happen? We have no idea, it just does. We have braved hail storms, 70 mph winds, rain so hard the camp flooded and a major cold front in June. (We bought out all the sweat shirts and blankets in the local Walmart and Penneys). But, let me say, we have never been deterred by the weather. When it clears up and dries out enough, we go back to work. Sometimes it’s an opportunity for a little extra sleep, a lot more fellowship, or a new adventure or site in the area.

Do you have a particular specialty, or something you really like to do in archeology? I really enjoy doing just about anything that surrounds archeology. I enjoy working in prehistoric sites more that historic. This past year at field school, I worked in the floatation lab. That was fun but really dirty. BUT, I kept really cool in the heat that day. I have worked with the kids in their area, done survey, and worked in the lab. I would encourage people to try and experience all facets of field work. You will find your niche.

As for my passion, I would have to say Rock Art. Rock art is the paintings and incisings left behind by ancient people. We like to call it a “graphic artifact.” You find rock art primarily on canyon walls, boulders, and in shelters. In a few places it can be found in dry river beds. Texas has some of the premier rock art found in the world. You may ask how I know. I have been told by individuals who have traveled the world looking at rock art that our rock art sites cannot be equaled.

So why do you do it? What motivates you? Rock art is my niche! I really have no words to fully describe the feeling I have when I am working at a rock art site. Regardless of how many times I may visit a site, it is always new. I look at that wall and ponder who the person was that placed it there. Does it tell a story? Is it a ritual or ceremony? Was the artist a man or a woman? Did a small child leave the hand print? These are questions we can only guess about. There are Native Americans in the southwest who still put art on walls and boulders today. Sometimes it depicts a rite of passage or a dream quest. But, for most of the art, it is so old we can only guess. Most rock art sites are up canyons in shelters. There is peace to be found. You hear the birds in the canyon; the wind blows through; the rocks crack; you become one with nature and your surroundings. Regardless of how far you have to hike and how high you have to climb up, when you get there and turn around and survey where you have come from, a peaceful sigh slips from your lips and a huge smile lights up your face. You have come HOME!

Thanks, Wendy. Makes me want to get out there in the dirt!  Have a great time in Columbus.

 

Ancient Dead Bugs of the Lower Pecos

wolf spider

The Ancient Southwest Texas Project recently hosted a visiting scholar who studies archaeoentomology, or ancient insect remains. The purpose of this research is to identify insects in soil samples of particular archaeological sites to learn about climate and fauna of the particular time and place.  Steve and I were happy to host Dr. Eva Panagiotakopulu for a night in Austin on her way from Scotland to the Lower Pecos. Read more about her work in the post below from the ASWT Project.

Archaeoentomology?.

via Archaeoentomology?.

Life in a Desert Archaeology Camp

Early evening sky

Early evening sky

The Ancient Southwest Texas Project from Texas State University has posted their weekly updates on the Eagle Nest Canyon excavation, ongoing in Spring 2014, on their blog at www.aswtp.wordpress.com.  Click the link below to check their progress.

A STEP BACK IN TIME – LIVING AT SHUMLA CAMPUS.

via A STEP BACK IN TIME – LIVING AT SHUMLA CAMPUS.

Teddy Stickney, Rock Art Pioneer

The intrepid Teddy Stickney

The intrepid Teddy Stickney

I am happy to welcome Teddy Stickney as my guest today.  Teddy has been recording rock art in Texas for almost 25 years and helped develop the early guidelines for this task.

Thanks for being with us today, Teddy.  How did you first become interested in rock art?    I became aware of rock art when I was about 6 years old.  There was a large Navajo kachina incised in the sand stone wall in a canyon across the San Juan river from my Dad’s property in New Mexico.

You are an official archaeology steward for the Texas Historical Commission. 

Teddy recording rock art

Teddy recording rock art

What does that entail?  I’ve been a volunteer steward for my area in West Texas for 21 years. Stewards monitor archaeological resources for the THC.   For example, the THC may want a certain area to be surveyed for archaeological evidence. We volunteer to investigate these sites. We also keep an eye on construction sites that may be near archaeological resources, and try to get to know any arrowhead collectors in the region. We act as additional eyes and eyes for the historical commission. There is so much territory to cover, they just can’t do it all.

I know you’ve been part of a number of field schools and recording projects.  What are some of your most memorable ones?  One of the best ones for me was during the Texas Archeological Society’s field school near Dolan Springs on the Devil’s River in 1989. The survey crews were out finding new rock art, so we concluded that we were going to have many more sessions of recording on this property.  Our group formulated guidelines for recording that we used for at least the next 18 months during these sessions.

Have you done much travelling outside Texas as part of your rock art interest?

Taking exact measurements

Taking exact measurements

Before I got involved in Texas I had worked with Col. James Bain in New Mexico, who was the petroglyph curator for the Museum of New Mexico. I also worked with Jane Kolber who ran rock art field schools in Arizona and did some work in Utah.  So I had had some experience with recording rock art before the field in 1989.  Also Paul Steed, who wrote The Rock Art of Chaco Canyon (1980), was in the rock art crew for the 1989 field school.  Paul had world experience in photographing.

Is there any particular type of rock art you are especially interested in?    I don’t think there is any type of rock art that I like better than another. I think all of it is very important because it is record of the culture. Rock art tells a story of the activities of the culture, the people’s daily routine, the animals around them, and so on.

Tell us about any mishaps or adventures you’ve had in your rock art exploration. 

Teddy examines abstract figures

Teddy examines ancient painting

Well, one time we were camping in the Texas Panhandle in March, and it was so cold the water in the coffee pot froze. Then there was walking the high ledge to Curly Tail Panther shelter overlooking the Devil’s River in the Lower Pecos. The bad part was that once I got there, I realized I had to walk it again to get out!  Then there’s hiking in a rough canyon of Big Bend State Park with heavy backpacks searching for a site in 105 temperatures. Once I walked about six miles on a very worn trail near the Rio Grande and found a recent camp site with a fire pit and modern trash. I figure it was a trail used by illegal immigrants, but I didn’t see anybody.

What are some of the big questions that still interest you about rock art?  I would love to talk with one of the artists that painted or incised art on a wall.  I’d love to hear their thoughts on their art. What did the site location mean to them? I’m interested in how their mixed their paint and managed all the painting. Did one person do it or was it done as a group?

 What advice would you give someone who wanted to get involved in archaeology or learning about rock art?  Join the Texas Archeological Society, participate in a field school, and research rock art on the internet.