NEXT MEETING: Wednesday, August 19, 2020, 7:00 PM: General Meeting goes online via Zoom! Al Dart of Old Pueblo Archaeology presents “Old-Time Religion? The Salado Phenomenon in the Greater Southwest.” No business meeting, this will be a Zoom presentation only. Watch for an upcoming Special Bulletin with details on how to join in on this fascinating lecture.

NEXT FIELD TRIP = WATCH THIS SPACE FOR UPDATES AS TO WHEN FIELD TRIPS WILL RESUME.

Petroglyphs

Interactive Fun with the Mesa Prieta Petroglyph Project

Kwells and friendThe Mesa Prieta Petroglyph Project in Velarde, New Mexico, has produced a virtual tour of their extensive site that anyone can enjoy. You may have to navigate through one or two screens on this link, or perhaps this link, but it is worth a few minutes of your time to see glimpses of this very unique and important site. If you have never visited the site you will enjoy this brief introduction to it. If you have already visited in person you will be thrilled to see some of its highlights again.

Please also consider sending a donation to the MPPP to support their preservation efforts. Once it becomes feasible for public health you may consider visiting the site yourself. Plan a few days, as there are 6 different trails among the petroglyphs to sign up with a docent to see!

/s/ webmaster


The Mesa Prieta Petroglyph Project's Monthly Lecture Series

The Mesa Prieta Petroglyph Project in Velarde, New Mexico, has adapted their monthly lecture schedule to fit the vagaries of our COVID-19 pandemic. Where appropriate they plan to livestream their lectures so even those of us interested folks down here in the territories can enjoy them. Please remember to double-check all the following dates directly with the MPPP to stay on top of any sudden or last-minute changes. The MPPP announces:

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Welcome Today's Guest Blogger, Kyle Meredith!

Our very own GCAS President, Kyle Meredith, has dropped by this part of the blogosphere to take us all on a virtual trip that he and two other hardy GCAS members (plus one mascot) recently took to a petroglyph site near Deming. All text and photos are courtesy of Kyle Meredith. Away we go!

Petroglyph hill - K. MeredithBack in April, Josh and I and Greg went for an overnighter down south of Deming to look for a hill with petroglyphs we had been told about. I located our probable destination on a map and set up a route on my GPS.

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Petroglyphs as Celestial Markers

Venus 1218 pmImages depicted in Southwestern petroglyphs are open to interpretation due to the absence of a written record explaining the ancient artist's intentions. However, certain petroglyphs found at various sites throughout the region appear similar to one another and so have led many researchers to propose that they depict heavenly bodies (see also photo on left) or a specific astronomical event like a coronal mass ejection or a supernova. Other petroglyphs have been found to track recurring events like solstices and equinoxes; these markers are typically spirals across which rock shadows or daggers of light trace the sun's path across the sky (photo on right). The Mesa Prieta Petroglyph Project (MPPP) has something a bit different...

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GCAS February Field Trip - Providence Cone

2020_02_02 TG - Providence Cone Field TripProvidence Cone is located east of Deming, jutting upward from the surrounding flatlands. Locals know it as Rattlesnake Peak and there is a good reason for that name. As long as one stays alert Providence Cone makes for a good wintertime field trip as twenty-eight hardy GCAS members demonstrated on February 2, 2020.

Features of interest in the easier, more level portions of the area include a few difficult-to-find petroglyphs and grinding holes, and an area of rubbing rocks where megafauna like mastodon and bison groomed themselves some 10,000 years ago.

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More Comparative Petroglyph Musings

Solar analemma white sandsThere are many multiple-exposure photographs existing throughout cyberspace that illustrate the solar analemma. Each week, a dedicated photographer photographs the sun from the same position during the course of a full year. The result is a photograph of 48 to 52 images of the sun in the shape of what most people recognize as a figure-eight, i.e., the "infinity" symbol. If photographed from the Northern Hemisphere the highest point of the analemma is the sun's position at the summer solstice and the lowest point is the position of the winter solstice. The path of the moon follows a similar analemma shape. Here on the right is one sample of a solar analemma via weatherscapes.com:

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Fish Identification Via Petroglyph Part II

34 - Kevin H at Fish 1Following is more speculation about the images of three separate fish the GCAS observed on their December 2019 field trip to the San Diego Mountain "Three-Fish" petroglyph site. Your faithful webmaster proposes that they are not fantasy images but instead are relatively factual representations of three separate fish species, at least two of which may have been marine fish - in other words, fish not local to the rivers and lakes of the desert Southwest but to Mexico's Gulf of California.

CA opaleye and hogfish  Ensenada de Alacran 6-24-2009 Puerto Refugio Pacific porgy  7-9-2009Up above there is the petroglyphic image of Fish Number One - it measures about 22 inches long by about 10 inches high. Note the rounded head, dorsal fins set far back, and the broad tail. I venture to guess that this petroglyph may be a fair and accurate representation of either a California opaleye or a Pacific porgy. The California opaleye (photo left, upper fish) inhabits coastal waters from California south along the Baja peninsula and into the Gulf of California and can reach a bit over two feet in length. The Pacific porgy (photo right) is found from Baja California and the Gulf of California to Peru. They also reach a maximum of two feet long.

Does any fisherperson out there have samples of other possible contenders?

/s/ webmaster


Fish Identification Via Petroglyph Part I

54 - Fish 3  5' LOA Cabo Falso doradoSo far there has been no feedback to the questions posed by the fish images among the petroglyphs at the Three Fish Site, the destination of the December 2019 GCAS field trip. Therefore your faithful webmaster will present her own suppositions.

Let's begin by assuming that each of the three fish petroglyphs are factual representations of three certain fish species, made approximately to scale. Secondly, let's suppose that whoever created the fish petroglyphs may not necessarily have recorded a fish that had been caught locally, but that the artist(s) had at one time or another seen such a fish somewhere in their travels and was recording the fish from memory.

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The Three-Fish Site Part II

33 - Fish 1The GCAS's informal name for the site of our December field trip was inspired by the three separate petroglyphs of three different fish in three different places. Every reader of this here blog is invited to ponder the images and give us their opinions of what species of fish each image may represent. Over there on the right is Fish Number One - a stand-alone petroglyph about 22 inches across by 10 inches high, more or less. (No one measured.)

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