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The Rocks Speak: New Insights into Indigenous North American Rock Art

September 21

In North America, and in particular the arid and rocky Southwest, there are important culturally-diverse assemblages of images on rock that were created as early as the Archaic period, and continuing through the early historic period. Previously, rock art in North America was difficult to interpret due to a variety of factors, including the inability to accurately date the images, attribute them to either prehistoric or modern communities, or associate the images with archaeological assemblages. However, recent methodological and theoretical innovations have enabled scholars to interpret and understand these images in new ways. This symposium brings together six scholars focusing on methodological and theoretical ways to interpret Indigenous North American rock art. The insights presented include new scientific advances that enable precise dating of rock art paintings and the use of Indigenous knowledge as a means of understanding the images as manifestations of cultural knowledge and memory. Through this event, participants will gain an in-depth knowledge and broad understanding of ancient North American peoples, their religious beliefs, social organization, and creative approaches, in addition to an appreciation that rock art continues to be an integral part of contemporary life for Indigenous communities.



CAROLYN E. BOYD, Texas State University, Reading Rock Art: Enduring Myths in Archaic Period Rock Art

DAVID S. WHITLEY, Rock Writings, Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) and the Archaeology of Religion

EMILY C. VAN ALST, Washington State University, Across Stone’s Surface: Incorporating Indigenous Perspectives in the Interpretation of Rock Art Imagery

KAREN STEELMAN, Shumla Archaeological Research & Education Center, At the Scientific Frontier: New Advances in Dating Rock

LAWRENCE LOENDORF, Founder, Sacred Sites Research, Inc., The Shield-bearing Warrior Rock Art Motif

MYLES MILLER, Versar Global Solutions, Mountains, Caves, Storm Gods, Ancestors: The Deep Time Origins of Southern Southwest Cosmologies


U.S. Navy Memorial & Naval Heritage Center
701 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington D.C., DC United States
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