We are now two years old! So far, we’ve been working relatively quietly. Developing technology. Generating images. Building relationships. Testing ideas.
Here is what we've been up to. This quarterly newsletter will catch you up on our:
- 3D modeling work for the Chickasaw Nation
- Scouting and documenting rock art sites in the Western United States
- The Launch of our vision for the Mural of America!
Thanks for being part of the Archive’s work. To show our gratitude, everyone who receives this newsletter is automatically entered into a quarterly drawing to receive a signed 8.5 x 11” print. Here’s this quarter’s shot:
Although only one person will win the drawing, there is a way you can guarantee you’ll get your hands on the print. If you click here and donate $100 (or more!) to support the Archive’s work, we will send you the print as our thank you.
Founder, Ancient Art Archive
Chickasaw Nation | Documenting Sacred Sites
Long prior to European Contact, the Chickasaw people established their homeland in an area that included parts of today’s Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, and Kentucky. Under the U.S. federal government’s Indian Removal policy, the Chickasaw Nation was forced on the Trail of Tears to south-central Oklahoma in the 1830s. Although the Nation has created new opportunities in its new homeland, origin stories passed down through the generations still refer to formative events that occurred in the Southeast. To reestablish their connection with their former homeland and protect ancestral sacred places, the Nation has been purchasing lands containing important sites in Alabama and Mississippi. Even so, tribal members are still physically dislocated from these cultural assets, and most, including elders, have not been able to visit the sites in person.
n 2019, the Chickasaw Nation contracted with the University of Tennessee and the Ancient Art Archive to help address this challenge, hiring us to document, analyze, and model a sacred rock art site in their traditional homeland. Working for the Chickasaw was an honor and allowed us to develop and refine documentation and 3D modeling techniques that enable people to virtually experience the sites in truly remarkable detail. It also helped provide the Archive with a blueprint for how to work with descendant communities in other areas of the country – not just in consultation, but in cooperation and collaboration as well.
Using VR technology, we could provide the Nation with intellectual access and an incredibly realistic way to visit these places. Because the Chickasaw Nation owns the site and purchased the rights to the images, we can’t share any specific photographs or video or the location of the site at this time, but we can share what it was like to present the story to the Chickasaws in their Oklahoma home.
Watching resource managers, elders, young people, artists, and other tribal members virtually experience the art related to their origin stories was a powerful experience. Through technology, they got to see how the stories are written on the landscape in their ancient homeland. As they watched, their faces lit up with dreams and ideas, and their animated conversations afterward reflected a renewed sense of connection to their past and to their community. We thank Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby for working to preserve and protect precious cultural resources even in the now far-distant traditional homeland so that Chickasaws can maintain the connection with their cultural heritage.
This episode of Chickasaw TV shows a program that brings Chickasaw youth to the homeland for an extended exploration. The connection and emotions of that visit are palpable. We can help empower that connection through virtual reality modeling
National Geographic | Artwork in Western National MonumentsRead more