Utah Rock Art Research Association


Green River, Utah

Green River High School and John Wesley Powell Museum

400 North 455 West, Green River, UT

October 5 - October 9, 2017

The annual URARA symposium will be held in Green River, Utah October 5-9, 2017. The city is located on the Green River, a major tributary of the Colorado River.

The event includes one day of workshops, two days of field trips, two days of fabulous speakers and the business meeting. There will a dinner, auction, delicious Green River watermelons, lots of fun, time to renew of old friendship and make new ones.

You might have skipped over that part about "one day of workshops." That's right, we've added a day to the symposium! The workshops take place on Thursday, one day prior to our normal Friday field trips. There are only five workshops with limited seating availability.

The rock art in the Green River is among the best in the state. The beautiful canyons of the San Rafael Swell are located to the west, Canyonlands National Park is to the south and the Bookcliffs to the north.

The 2010 census indicates the town has about 900 residents. It was originally located along the Old Spanish Trail. There is history, rock art and many, many interesting places to visit (including Crystal Geyser).

Keynote Speakers

David S. Whitley

ASM Affiliates, Inc.

The Archaeology of Dreams, and What It Tells Us About Climate Change

The human race currently faces a perilous existential threat. Significant climate change is already upon us and it is happening even more quickly than anticipated. Perhaps surprisingly, archaeology generally and rock art specifically has information that, properly considered, can help us prepare for the changes that we now confront. The Chumash pictographs of the San Andres rift zone, stretching from the San Emigdio Ranch to the Carrizo Plain, provide a case in point. As the ethnography demonstrates, they record “dreams,” a Native Californian gloss for visions. But “dreams” were considered demonstrations of supernatural power, and supernatural power was believed to be the principle causative agent for all things in the world, material, spiritual, political and so on. The archaeologically-visible distribution of “dreams” then charts not simply the distribution of an artistic style but instead documents the locations of power—political and otherwise—in the Chumash realm. Changes over time in the distribution of this power can be linked to another period of dramatic climatic change, the Medieval Climatic Anomaly. How the distribution of this power changed, and what happened to the people involved, provides an important lesson in how we should be preparing for our own future.

David S. Whitley received his Ph.D. from UCLA in 1982. He is a Director at ASM Affiliates, Inc, Tehachapi, CA, providing consulting and project management services for cultural resource management studies. Whitley’s archaeological publications include 17 books and approximately 100 articles, and his writing has been translated into five languages beyond English. Included among his recent books are Introduction to Rock Art Research (Left Coast Press, 2005, second edition 2011), which received a Choice Outstanding Academic Book Award for 2006, and Cave Paintings and the Human Spirit: The Origin of Creativity and Belief (Prometheus Books, 2009). In 2001 Whitley received the Thomas King Award from the Society for California Archaeology for Excellence in Cultural Resource Management.

Dr. Carol Patterson and Glade Hadden

BLM archaeologist

The Mu:kwitsi/Hopi (Fremont) Abandonment and Numic Immigrants into Nine Mile Canyon and Range Creek as Depicted in the Rock Art.

This analysis of the rock art of Nine Mile Canyon and Range Creek in the Tavaputs Plateau is a portrayal of Fremont people, known to the later Numic arrivals as the Mu:kwitsi/Hopi (1000 ? 1300 A.D.). Recent linguistic and mtDNA analysis show these people to have had a mixture of Pre-Hopi (Uto-Aztecan) and Tanoan (Jemez) ancestry. Shaul (2014) writes that the Mu:kwitsi (Fremont) were made up of more than one ethnic group including Tanoan. He believes an ancestral Jemez speaking community was in this area.  Ortman (2012) links the Kiowa/Tanoan to the Fremont culture with tool assemblages, Fremont-style basketry and Fremont rock art motifs. He suggests a north to south movement from southern Idaho, Montana and Wyoming origins and moving south into Utah beginning around A D 950.

Analysis of the earliest (AD 900-1000) rock art supports this research with depictions of Awanyu, the Tanoan plumed serpent found in wood carvings, pottery designs and rock art panels from ancestral Tanoan pueblos of the Rio Grande. Fremont links to Hopi are found in depictions of Hopi hair styles, garden plots and flash flood warnings.

Shifts in the climate (A D 1100-1300) from warmer wetter seasons to cooler dryer seasons favor ?Travelers? strategies over agricultural subsistence, (Simms 2008). Hadden states that high quality small seed resources such as Cheno/Ams are exploited by foragers who use an intensive procurement and processing strategy to return yields ranging from 4,000 to 7,000 calories per hour (Hadden 1998).

 A.D. 1300-1500 rock art portrays the arrival of Numic immigrants with their large burden baskets for gathering wild seeds, tubers and cactus. Late rock art panels in Nine Mile depict battles between the Fremont (Mu:kwitsi/Hopi) distinguished by their Hopi hairstyle and hock-leg moccasins fighting the Numic (Paiute/Utes) identified by their flat heads with horns. Cultural diagnostics include directionality (left-to-right sun-wise direction) that is demonstrated to be specific to all Numic language speakers, while the Hopi and Tanoan cultural preference is a right-to-left directionality.

Dr. Carol B. Patterson received her PhD. in archaeology from James Cook University in 2004. Her PhD dissertation was based on the significance of gestures depicted in rock art of Hawaii and Australia. Dr. Patterson lives in Montrose, CO. She is the Director of Urraca Archaeological Services. After working as an archaeologist for the Colorado BLM, she is now devoted full time to writing, research and rock art documentation. Patterson studied with La Van Martineau, (1973-2000) learning Indian sign language and how gestures were represented in rock art. Her recent association with Clifford Duncan, Ute elder over 8 years has culminated with a full interpretation of Shavano Valley petroglyphs, near Montrose, Co., and two co-authored articles with Clifford on Ute Rock Art Maps and Ute Spiritualism in Rock Art. She is currently working on Numic rock art of the Colorado Plateau.

P.O. Box 511324, Salt Lake City, Utah 84151-1324

URARA is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization

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