Plains Indian Rock Art
James D. Keyser and Michael A. Klassen
- $35.00s paperback (9780295980942) Add to Cart
- hardcover not available
- Published: 2001
- Subject Listing: Anthropology
Native American Studies
Native American Art
- Bibliographic information: 344 pp., 50 photos, 356 line drawings, 16 maps, bibliog., index, LC 00-51178, 7" x 10"
- Territorial rights: World rights except in Canada
- Series: A Samuel and Althea Stroum Book
The Plains region that stretches from northern Colorado to southern Alberta and from the Rockies to the western Dakotas is the land of the Cheyenne and the Blackfeet, the Crow and the Sioux. Its rolling grasslands and river valleys have nurtured human cultures for thousands of years. On cave walls, glacial boulders, and riverside cliffs, native people recorded their ceremonies, vision quests, battles, and daily activities in the petroglyphs and pictographs they incised, pecked, or painted onto the stone surfaces.
In this vast landscape, some rock art sites were clearly intended for communal use; others just as clearly mark the occurrence of a private spiritual encounter. Elders often used rock art, such as complex depictions of hunting, to teach traditional knowledge and skills to the young. Other sites document the medicine powers and brave deeds of famous warriors. Some Plains rock art goes back more than 5,000 years; some forms were made continuously over many centuries.
Archaeologists James Keyser and Michael Klassen show us the origins, diversity, and beauty of Plains rock art. The seemingly endless variety of images include humans, animals of all kinds, weapons, masks, mazes, handprints, finger lines, geometric and abstract forms, tally marks, hoofprints, and the wavy lines and starbursts that humans universally associate with trancelike states. Plains Indian Rock Art is the ultimate guide to the art form. It covers the natural and archaeological history of the northwestern Plains; explains rock art forms, techniques, styles, terminology, and dating; and offers interpretations of images and compositions.
James D. Keyser is Pacific Northwest Regional Archaeologist for the U.S. Forest Service and the author of the popular Indian Rock Art of the Columbia Plateau. Michael A. Klassen is a consulting archaeologist and researcher in British Columbia.
Part I. Introduction and Background
1. Introduction to Rock Art
2. Dating Rock Art
3. Interpreting Rock Art
4. The Area and Its History
5. Native Cultures of the Northwestern Plains
Part II. Rock Art Traditions of the Northwestern Plains
6. Early Hunting Tradition
7. Columbia Plateau Tradition
8. Dinwoody Tradition
9. En Toto Pecked Tradition
10. Pecked Abstract Tradition
11. Foothills Abstract Tradition
12. Hoofprint Tradition
13. Ceremonial Tradition
14. Biographic Tradition
15. Robe and Ledger Art Tradition
16. Vertical Series Tradition
Summary and Conclusions
Appendix. Sites Developed for the Public
"In the empire of rock art (at least on the northwestern plains), Keyser and Klassen reign supreme." - European Review of Native American Studies
"An outstanding contribution to rock art studies, of value . . . to those interested in the prehistory and history of the indigenous inhabitants of the Great Plains." - H-Net Reviews, H-AmIndian
"An outstanding study of the rock art of the northern Great Plains from Colorado to Alberta. This area contains some of the earliest evidence of human occupation in the Americas, and there is rock art covering thousands of years." - American Archaeology