October 6, 2014 / General / 0 Comments /


(Photo: Petroglyphs U.S.)
“Coso Range rock art has been a central part of the shamanism debate since the 1980s. It has played a prominent role in attempts to understand prehistoric forager iconography (Garfinkel 2006; Gilreath and Hildebrandt 2008; Hildebrandt and McGuire 2002; Keyser and Whitley 2006; McGuire and Hildebrandt 2005; Pearson 2002; Whitley 2005). Many researchers have taken Coso to be a classic test case and proven reference point supporting the shamanistic perspective on rock art (e.g., Hedges 2001; Lewis-Williams and Dowson 1988, 1989; Whitley 1988a, 1988b, 1992, 1994a, 1994b, 1996). Interpretations of Coso rock art, like other interpretations of archeological elements, ultimately depend on analogy to relevant ethnographically-recorded human behavior – rather than purely ‘endogenous’ explicatory evidence. Thus the ethnographic contexts of shamanism, the recognition of supernatural beings, and the nature of hunting supernaturalism are all keys to this debate.

The Coso Rock Art Complex is located primarily in the Coso Range of eastern California, within the limits of the China Lake Naval Weapons Station (Figure 1). Most of the rock art lies within a 90-square-mile area, where at least 55,000 petroglyph elements have been identified. Region-wide surveys provide a conservative estimate of more than 100,000 individual elements (Gilreath 1999a, 1999b, 2003; Hildebrandt and McGuire 2002; Keyser and Whitley 2006; Wilke 1980; Russell Kaldenberg personal communication 2006). Therefore, the Coso complex is one of the largest concentrations of aboriginal rock art in North America (Grant et al. 1968).” (Full article via Petroglyphs US)


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