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Rock Art in California desert

2 June 2012

Staying on the same theme as yesterday, rock art, we see some interesting images from California at www.pasthorizonspr.com/index.php/archives/05/2012/archaeology-and-the-ro… and as can be seen from the picture above, they are painted on eroded sandstone formations, with lots of cavities, pinacles, and rock shelters. The area is well known for its pained rock art that again includes insects, reptiles, birds, mammals, and humans – and weird combinations of them. There are other images painted in bright red that like mandalas or sun disks – with radiating spokes. There are what are described as abstract compositions in bright colours, and these defy interpretation. Obviously, anthropologists have a theory – and shamanic inspiration is the favourite in contemporary opinion. In this piece, however, David Robinson of the University of Central Lancashire shows how the archaeology is also important. It emerges that those locations in California, now dry and arid, were formerly much wetter – with extensive oak woodland. As such, it seems the rock art was positioned in domestic situations rather than the private retreats of shamans.

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