Archaeologist Discusses Ute Rock Art Motifs at ROCC Talk

02/17/14 | By | More

RIDGWAY – Ancestral Ute Indians, who inhabited west central Colorado for centuries, left extraordinary records of their lives on rock faces throughout the region. Montrose Archaeologist Carol Patterson, Ph D., will share her research on those rock art motifs at the next ROCC Talk, Thursday, Feb. 20 at the Ridgway Town Hall.

Patterson’s talk, “Messages from the Past: Rock Art and Archaeology,” begins at 7 p.m. following refreshments and conversation at 6:45 p.m. ROCC Talks are presented free to the public by the Ridgway-Ouray Community Council.

Patterson will focus on her studies of Ute rock art “maps” on the Uncompahgre Plateau, particularly in the Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area and Dominquez-Escalante National Conservation Area. Working with Native American consultants of the Northern Ute Tribe, she has identified petroglyphs that may represent maps of aboriginal trails and hunting areas. Those samples are believed to have been created from A.D. 1400 to 1900 while some other archaic rock art on the plateau is much older.

Patterson will also discuss possible correlations between map-like rock art figures and existing landscape features. The audience will learn how the Utes, highly mobile hunter-gatherers, may have used rock art as terrain maps for migrating across diverse environments. Other petroglyphs convey hunting strategies and depict movement patterns of game animals. The presentation will include a slide show of rock art sites within Patterson’s study area, as well as some closer to Ouray County.

A Colorado native, Patterson founded Urraca Archaeological Services, based in Montrose, in 2005. She is an interpretive trail guide and has published books, journal articles and many reports on Native American rock art and Ute ethnography. She has taught courses in Cultural Anthropology at Metropolitan State College of Denver and at Colorado Mesa University. As a Bureau of Land Management archaeologist, she conducted surveys for the Montrose Field Office. Her documentary film, K’uu T’ahn, Markings on Stone, won a Telly Award.

ROCC Talks are normally held the third Thursday of even-numbered months. The Ridgway-Ouray Community Council is a nonprofit community organization whose mission is to build, nourish and protect the healthy spirit of our community. ROCC is dedicated to quality of life issues that will help shape the future of Ouray County.

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Category: Archive > February 2014

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