1. Introduction North America
Prehistory is an idea that helps folks deal with the idea of time, especially ancient time. In some places around the globe dating has been more certain. The Bradshaw Paintings in Australia are dated at least before 50,000 BC. Now that is not a clear idea of a date, but at least it says these paintings could not have been done after 50,000 BC. which takes care of a huge hunk of time.
With the work done in North America we are in much more of a dilemma. So far we have a defined Archaic Period of 8,000 BC to 1,000 BC. This time line is mostly based on spear points found throughout North America and does not do much to help us date the different rock art paintings.
Prehistory is defined as the time before writing in a given place. Thus a great majority of the great rock art was done before the arrival of the Europeans.
In the case of the time span of the beginnings of rock art in North America, we will look at the art in different areas of the Southwest because it is so amazing.
The Bering land bridge which stretched from Russia to the Americas was not open for a very long time. Scholars suggest that people had arrived here before 10,000 BC when the waters began to rise and the land warmed. From that time until the 1400’s the people of the Southwest used their magnificent rock walls to tell their stories in paintings and petroglyphs.
It is very important to keep in mind that this art is still sacred to not only the people of the Southwest but to others who visit these great treasures.
I am unable to connect you to the sacred. That is something you must do for yourself if these images touch you.
I would like everybody to do something after they have completed a unit. To help this happen I have added a site gives you the tools to paint and draw. I hope you take the time to use this and if you do so you are more likely to remember what you just learned.
Katherine Bolman, BS, MFA, MEd, MSW, EdD.