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Ancient American rock art chart

ANCIENT ROCK ART CHART FOR COLUMBIA PLATEAU

Derived from “INDIAN ROCK ART OF THE COLUMBIA PLATEAU” by James D. Keyser (University of Washington Press, Seattle, WA, 1992, page 24-25.
By DES 2-2009

1) Clovis Mammoth Culture – 12000 to 10.000 years ago (10,000 B.C to 8,000 B.C.):
No Ancient art found here so far; but common in France. These early Americans were predominately meat-eaters and, at least, observed the extinction of mega-mammals like mammoths, mastodons and great ground sloths during this period of time.

2) Windust Diversification Period – 8,000 to 6000 years ago:
With mega meat mammals disappearing, these elders diversified their diets with plants, nuts & fruits, salmon and elk, deer, or whatever was commonly available.
Mt Mazama erupted 7,700 years ago burying an existing, very early, “Pit & Groove” Great Basin Style Abstract-geometric rock art-panel. This slab art is our PNW’s Oldest known petroglyph (carved or scratched rock art) to date (2009). (page 26)
Photo of brown & tan “pit & groove Abstract” in Rabbit Valley (OR)

3) Cascade Phase – 6000 to 4000 years ago
EASTERN COLUMBIA-GREAT BASIN STYLE commonly has triangle-torso stick figures and or mountain sheep icons in their rock art. These ancient tribes seemed to honor the Mountain Sheep in their pictographs and petroglyphs though scattered across Nevada- Idaho and eastern Oregon’s Great Basin.
Photo Map Rock Mt. Sheep/Snake River (ID) and Rabbit Valley (OR) hand petroglyph & round chain of lakes and pictographs of red painted figure in Picture Gorge (OR)

4) Colds Springs Phase – 4000 to 2000 years ago

CENTRAL COLUMBIA STYLE commonly has fat torso (prayer?) in their stick figures in petroglyphs. This style originated in upper Deschutes Rivers.

No photo found? “The Sherar’s bridge site is one of the best known of the few sites in northern Oregon.” page 95

5) Early Riverine Phase – 2000 years ago to 0 B.C.
NORTHERN OREGON RECTILINEAR (lizard logo on petroglyphs) STYLE

Photo near Hart Mountain (OR)
YAKIMA POLY-CHROME (red & white paint pictograph-panels) STYLE

Photo South Picture Gorge (OR)

6) Late Riverine Phase – 0 B.C.-A.D. to 1750 A.D.

“Long Narrow Style” starts around 1500 A.D. with “bizarre, stylized anthropomorphic (man-like) and zoomorphic (animal-like) figures (i.e. Spedis Owl), grotesque grinning masks, human face depictions, and elaborately conventionalized animal and human forms showing ribs and facial features….strong relationships to conventionalized art of the Northwest Coast….Curvilinear petroglyph figures emphasizing concentric circles show a relationship between the Long Narrows Style and Northwest Coast rock art.”
Page 96.

7) Historic Period – 1750 A.D. to 1850 A.D.
The peak of Long Narrow Style (She Who Watches or “Tsagiglalal”) came around 1700 to 1840 as European diseases decimated native tribes with measles, small pox, whopping cough, diphtheria tuberculosis and other European diseases. Keyser writes on page 102, “by 1840 as much as 90 percent of the Indian population previously living in this area had been wiped out.” The Wishram tribes, near The Dalles – which spoke a Pacific Coastal Chinook dialect, had a trading Mecca near The Dalles by 1000 A.D. with traders coming from Montana east and British Columbia North and California tribes to south.

(Page 101) “Tsagiglalla’s strong association with cremations and cemeteries is further highlighted by the words of a Wishram woman shaman who said, “people grin like that when they’re sick…when people look at you like that, you get sick.” Maybe TSAG was a death-cult guardian angel or keep the dying protected after death? Hand-made ornaments were made from this image and buried with the dead.
NO PHOTO Yet? “Butte Creek on John Day River”?
8) Reservation period – 1850 to present.

Ancient American rock art chart

Dave Sandersfeld

Dayville, United States

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Artist's Description

“Tsagiglalla’s strong association with cremations and cemeteries is further highlighted by the words of a Wishram woman shaman who said, “people grin like that when they’re sick…when people look at you like that, you get sick.” Maybe TSAG was a death-cult guardian angel or keep the dying protected after death? Hand-made ornaments were made from this image and buried with the dead.

Artwork Comments

  • ufosIsee
  • Dave Sandersfeld
  • skyhorse
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