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Paperback A Field Guide to Rock Art Symbols of the Greater Southwest Book

ISBN: 1555660916

ISBN13: 9781555660918

A Field Guide to Rock Art Symbols of the Greater Southwest

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Format: Paperback

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Book Overview

A Field Guide to Rock Art Symbols of the Greater Southwest is the first specifically designed key to the interpretation of American rock art. Interest in the subject has grown significantly among professional archaeologists and informed lay persons in recent years, but the purpose and meaning that the intriguing symbols had for their creators remain a mystery. Although the significance of the symbols will never be known for certain, educated guesses...

Customer Reviews

6 ratings

Good guide to rock art symbols

It is a good companion in visiting Native American petroglyphs and pictographs. It shows photos with text to explain the meaning of this First Americans genesis for visitors to enjoy, appreciate and interpret. Unfortunately, many sites were not well preserved and they suffered damages. Please visit these sacred sites with respect, take nothing but pictures, leave not trash but memory.

Communicating through rock art

What are petroglyphs and pictrographs telling us? How about a staff with a hook and a large circle toward the bottom...? After describing this "atlatl" or "spear" with charms tied to the shaft, Patterson explains: "In rock art the weights or charm stones are much exaggerated in size, due probably to the magic they supposedly contained--magic to guide the spear to its target." In addition to illustrating variations of the charmed spear, he adds historical information: "The use of the atlatl began before 1,000 B.C., continuing to about 500 A.D. in the southwest, when it was supplanted by the bow and arrow." Patterson cites the technical literature to provide these interpretations, allowing the curious reader of rock art to dig deeper. The guide is organized into humanlike, animallike, and abstract symbols, making it easy to find the meanings you're looking for. Essentially, it's a comprehensive dictionary for rock art, complete with background information whenever possible. Great illustrations. Numerous variants of each symbol. Easy to navigate. Alex Patterson's guide to rock art symbols translates the myriads of images found in the American Southwest into something we can understand. We used Patterson's field guide to create and interpret an imagined wheel of pictographs in our recent novel: Ophelia's Ghost.

Phenomenal book

This field guide is a must for Rock Art enthusiasts! You can take this book with you on your hunts or simply photograph your rock art and then take home to research the meanings in this book. It doesn't matter where you are in the Southwest, this book will explain any pictographs or petroglyphs you find. It is filled with photos, drawings and explanations which are simple and precise to decipher. Whether you are a beginner or a true artifact hunter, this book is for you!

Awesome Pictures

I needed an excellent source book for primitive petroglyphs for some art work. This book proved to be an excellent resource

Life on the rocks

Work done by others is always fascinating, which is why national parks featuring ancient ruins are so popular; they showcase the incredible and often very beautiful work done in the Southwest before Europeans arrived. It takes a lot of work and skill to create a petroglyph. I know, I've tried it. A full day's work produces only a small image. First, find a hard river stone with a pointy end; then, spend hours using it to chip away enough desert varnish and surface rock to make a shallow indent on a large boulder or cliff face. When you finish, since rocks don't rot or grow back, the design will last thousands of years. Rock art wasn't doodles or graffiti, churned out in a trivial moment or so; it is serious statements of faith that Native Americans took days or weeks to produce. The original meanings may never be recovered, which is a great loss; but, the artistry can still be appreciated. Patterson's sketches are clear, concise and free of unrelated static. Since petroglyphs are the originals of modern Native American art, this is also a guide for artists, historians and poets of the Southwest. It is a bilingual dictionary, everything from "arrow" and "atlatl" to "X-ray styles." In Spanish, it helps to know "Alto" means "Stop;" in the petroglyph language, it helps to know what sign means "Sun." Patterson offers educated insights into 600 common petroglyphs. People today link certain symbols to ideas, such as an "apple" as a gift for a teacher, a still life art object, a kind of pie, or a computer. In all likelihood, every petroglyph had as many or more meanings -- depending on the story teller. Consider Patterson's description of the sun sign, which is still a popular design for silver jewelry from the Pueblos: ". . . the outer circle represents the ring of light around the Sun, the second represents the sun itself, and the inner circle or dot, his umbilicus, which opens to provide mankind with game and other sustenance." Next, think of modern artists who see the sun and paint a yellow circle, while others paint a yellow circle and create a sun. Now, the petroglyph sun sign takes on new meaning. Art expresses a sense of adventure. A thousand years ago, petroglyphs were patiently chipped into boulders and cliffs to create a permanent memory of unique and special events. They portray a dramatic history of gods, demons, giants, tricksters and rare events as powerful and devious and clever as any Nordic saga. They also offer maps to the beginning of creation and pathways to a fulfilled life. Petroglyphs are a record of the exploration, knowledge and interpretation of America long before its "discovery" by Europeans. It reminds us that we have much yet to understand; it may not be the "Rosetta stone" of the Southwest, but it is one of the texts. This is a masterful guide, sensibly devoid of guesswork and idle speculation (that's my field). Every society invents, discovers, experimen

Entheogens: Professional Listing

"A Field Guide to Rock Art Symbols" has been selected for listing in "Religion and Psychoactive Sacraments: An Entheogen Chrestomathy."
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