Join us Wednesday, February 17, 2021, at 7:00 PM on Zoom to hear our Featured Speaker, Lawrence (Larry) Loendorf of Sacred Sites Research, Inc. explain the relationships he and other anthropologists, archaeologists, and ethnobotanists have studied between "Medicinal Plants and Rock Art Sites in Southern New Mexico."
Larry was born and raised in Montana. His BA and MA degrees are in anthropology and archaeology from the University of Montana and his PhD is from the University of Missouri-Columbia. After receiving his PhD, he taught at the University of North Dakota for 22 years and then moved to undertake research and teaching at the University of Arizona and New Mexico State University. He currently manages Sacred Sites Research, Inc., a non-profit company that is dedicated to protecting ancient pictograph and petroglyph sites.
Loendorf’s early career was mainly as a “dirt” archaeologist. Working with field crews, he located and excavated dozens of sites in the Pryor Mountain-Bighorn Canyon region. For the past thirty-five years he has concentrated on rock art related research projects. This research was often concentrated in Montana, Colorado, and New Mexico, although he directed a three-year project recording rock art sites in Canyon de Chelly, Arizona.
He has written numerous scholarly articles, reports, monographs, books, and chapters in books including many that are on rock art topics. The recognition that there is a relationship between medicinal plants and rock art sites comes from research at sites on Fort Bliss and in the Permian Basin region around Carlsbad, New Mexico. Learn more about Larry's research background here: Download L-Loendorf-abbreviated-c-v-2019.doc (40.0K)
In his presentation to our group, Larry will describe how:
"Over the past decade, archaeologists have discovered a relationship between several different medicinal plants and rock art sites in southern to central New Mexico. Tobacco (Nicotiana obtusifolia) is the most common medicinal plant, with datura (Datura inoxia) another common plant found at New Mexico sites. Other plants like Mountain laurel (Sophora secundiflora), desert marigolds (Baileya multiradiata) and Morning glory (Convolvulus capillaceus Kunth) are also found at New Mexico rock art sites. The red beans of the Mountain laurel are well-known for their hallucinogenic properties but their relationship with rock paintings is not understood.
In the presentation, I will discuss the finding of these medicinal plants at rock art sites. Other researchers have discussed a possible relationship between psychotropic plants and rock art, but the point of the lecture is to show there is a one-to-one relationship with medicinal plants growing at rock art sites. No one knows why this relationship occurs, but it is suspected that in using the plants, their seeds were left to propagate and continue to grow at the sites.
Painted triangle motifs are commonly found with tobacco plants at sites. Based on ethnographic accounts, these may represent water gourds and suggest a connection between tobacco and water or rain-making rituals. Some sites with Datura near them have depictions of the Datura flower, some in the process of opening, or of the Datura moth associated with the plant.
Datura quids (chewed parts of the Datura plant) stuck in the ceiling of Pinwheel Cave in California have recently rejuvenated the notion that some rock art images are a product of hallucinations. Several sites in southern New Mexico contain images that suggest a relationship to Datura and the Datura moth. There is also a possible relationship between Mimbres pottery designs and Datura. The combination of medicinal plants at rock art sites, painted images that are duplicated from one site to another and designs in Mimbres bowls are the topic of the presentation."
We'll see you on Zoom!