[Plains Indian Rock Art]
Plains Indian Rock Art, James D. Keyser and Michael A. Klassen
2001, University of Washington Press, 7" x 10", paper
332 pages, 51 b/w photographs, 193 illustrations, 16 maps, 15 tables, index, bibliography.
$25.00

The Plains region that stretches from northern Colorado to southern Alberta and from the Rockies to the western Dakotas is the land of the Cheyenne and the Blackfeet, the Crow and the Sioux. Its rolling grasslands and river valleys have nurtured human cultures for thousands of years. On cave walls, glacial boulders, and riverside cliffs, native people recorded their ceremonies, vision quests, battles and daily activities in the petroglyphs and pictographs they incised, pecked, or painted onto the stone surfaces.

Archaeologists James Keyser and Michael Klassen show us the origins, diversity, and beauty of Plains rock art. The seemingly endless variety of images includes humans, animals of all kinds, weapons, masks, mazes, handprints, finger lines, geometric and abstract forms, tally marks, hoofprints, and the wavy lines and starbursts that humans universally associate with trancelike states. Plains Indian Rock Art is the ultimate guide to the art form. It covers the natural and archaeological history of the northwestern Plains; explains rock art forms, techniques, styles, terminology, and dating; and offers interpretation of images and compositions.

James D. Keyser is Pacific Northwest Regional Archaeologist for the U.S. Forest Service and the author of the popular Indian Rock Art of the Columbia Plateau. Michael A. Klassen is a consulting archaeologist and researcher in British Columbia.


    Table of Contents
  1. Introduction to Rock Art
  2. Dating Rock Art
    Interpretation: Superimpositioning at a North Hills Cave Site
  3. Interpreting Rock Art
    Interpretation: "All Kinds of Spirits Dwell Up There
  4. The Area and Its History
    Interpretation: Medicine Rocks
  5. Native Cultures of the Northwestern Plains
    Interpretation: War Bridles and Otter Bundles
  6. Early Hunting Tradition
  7. Columbia Plateau Tradition
    Interpretation: The Kokopelli of Grotto Canyon
  8. Dinwoody Tradition
    Interpretation: Poha Kahni: Where Spirits Live in the Rocks
  9. En Toto Pecked Tradition
  10. Pecked Abstract Tradition
  11. Foothills Abstract Tradition
    Interpretation: Bear Power, Bear Dreamers
  12. Hoofprint Tradition
  13. Ceremonial Tradition
    Interpretation: Saahkomappi and the Big Dogs
  14. Biographic Tradition
    Interpretation: The Battle Scene
  15. Robe and Ledger Art Tradition
    Interpretation: Counting Coup at Crossfield Coulee
  16. Vertical Series Tradition
    Interpretation: Grooves and Tallies
  17. Sites Developed for the Public
  18. Summary and Conclusions

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