Indian Rock Art of the Columbia Plateau

Overview

From the river valleys of interior British Columbia south to the hills of interior British Columbia south to the hills of northern Oregon and east to the continental divide in western Montana, hundreds of cliffs and boulders display carved and painted designs created by ancient artists who inhabited this area, the Columbia Plateau, as long as seven thousand years ago. Expressing a vital social and spiritual dimension in the lives of these hunter-gatherers, rock art captivates us with its evocative power and ...
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Overview

From the river valleys of interior British Columbia south to the hills of interior British Columbia south to the hills of northern Oregon and east to the continental divide in western Montana, hundreds of cliffs and boulders display carved and painted designs created by ancient artists who inhabited this area, the Columbia Plateau, as long as seven thousand years ago. Expressing a vital social and spiritual dimension in the lives of these hunter-gatherers, rock art captivates us with its evocative power and mystery. At once an irreplaceable yet fragile cultural resource, it documents Native histories, customs, and visions through thousands of years. This valuable reference and guidebook addresses basic questions of what petroglyphs and pictographs are, how they were produced, and how archaeologists classify and date them. The author, James Keyser, identifies five regions on the Columbia Plateau, each with its own variant of the rock art style identifiable as belonging exclusively to the region. He describes for each region the setting and scope of the rock art along with its design characteristics and possible meaning. Through line drawings, photographs, and detailed maps he provides a guide to the sites where rock art can be viewed. In western Montana, rock art motifs express the ritualistic seeking of a spirit helper from the natural world. In interior British Columbia, rayed arcs above the heads of human figures demonstrate the possession of a guardian spirit. Twin figures on the central Columbia Plateau reveal another belief - the special power of twins - and hunting scenes celebrate successes of the chase. The grimacing, evocative face of Tsagiglalal, in lower Columbia pictographs, testifies to the Plateau Indians' "death cult" response to the European diseases that decimated their villages between 1700 and 1840. On the southeastern Plateau, images of horseback riders mark the adoption, after 1700, of the equestrian and cultural habits of the northwestern
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
An archaeologist for the US Forest Service provides a semi- technical treatment of the rock paintings and carvings in an area from British Columbia south to Oregon and east to Montana. He discussed their nature and dates, similarities and regional differences, and some of the wilder theories of their origin. Well illustrated with photographs and drawings. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780295971605
  • Publisher: University of Washington Press
  • Publication date: 6/28/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 140
  • Sales rank: 1,258,623
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 10.04 (h) x 0.32 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface 9
Introduction 13
The Columbia Plateau and Its Artists 23
Western Montana: The Eastern Columbia Plateau 35
Images of Forgotten Dreams 47
British Columbia 49
Rayed Arcs: A Distinctive Motif 61
The Central Columbia Plateau 63
Twins: The Duality of Life 77
The Magic of the Hunt 79
The Lower Columbia 81
She Who Watches 101
The Southeastern Columbia Plateau: Hells Canyon and Central Idaho 103
The Horse Brings a New Way of Life 115
Rock Art Sites Developed for the Public 117
Conclusions 121
Of Irish Monks and Ancient Astronauts 127
Glossary 129
Bibliography 133
Index 137
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