In the deep and colorful sandstone canyons west of the Rockies, along river corridors of northern Colorado, and inscribed on rock outcroppings of the Colorado Plateau, the petroglyphs and rock paintings of the ancient inhabitants of the West are an enduring record of past ideas and practices. Author Sally Cole traces connections between art on canyon walls, rock shelters, and boulders, and designs on pottery, basketry, and other artificts, placing the art in cultural context.
Archaeological and public interest in rock art have greatly increased since the original edition of Legacy on Stone was written in the late 1980s. A number of major documentation projects have been conducted on the Colorado Plateau since that time, and large amounts of data have been and continue to be produced. This tracks with the pace of research into the larger archaeological and interpretive context. Accordingly, and in line with the research focus of this book, the present edition concentrates on prehistoric rock art dating before A.D. 1600, and the introductory sections are more summary in nature. The work retains the original format and much of the background data, but the research is updated and the volume includes new and additional illustrations, all in full color.
It is evident that prehistoric rock art of the plateau is abundant, variable, and complex. It is also clear that rock art has much to contribute to archaeology and our understanding of the past. It was intentionally placed and remains in place. It is visual communication that incorporates iconography and symbolism from the past. As such, it has the potential to provide important information about sites and the cultures and societies that occupied them.
Now in full color, this visually stunning and completely updated edition is a snapshot of the rock art traditions of southern Wyoming, New Mexico, Utah, Colorado, and Arizona.
Sally J. Cole is adjunct faculty member of the Department of Anthropology at Fort Lewis College, research associate with the museum of Natural History, and a consulting archaeologist working on the Colorado Plateau for thirty years. This is her third book on rock art.