Archives for January 2020

January 27, 2020 - No Comments!

January 2020 Newsletter

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:

King's Crown petroglyphs above Ferron, Utah part of our Mural of America project

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.  
Stephen Alvarez
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. 

The Chickasaw Homeland in the Southern United States. For a description of the homeland from the Chickasaw Press go here.

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 Monuments

Pahranagat style anthropomorphic figure in the Basin and Range National Monument
Read more

January 21, 2020 - No Comments!

3D Model on the San Rafael Swell

We just updated a 3D model of a site on the San Rafael Swell in Utah. It is now optimized for VR viewing inside an Oculus or phone-based headset.

Barrier Canyon Style artwork as is shown at this site is some of the most evocative and mysterious pre-Columbian art in North America. Preserving and sharing sites like this in a responsible manner that does not endanger the artwork is what led me to create the Ancient Art Archive.

However, we can only do work like this with your support. The Archive is a 501(c)(3) not for profit. Your donations help us share and preserve humanity's oldest stories.

January 6, 2020 - No Comments!

Using 3D imaging to see rock art of the Orinoco

Cerro Pintado petroglyphs with enhanced overlay Photo by Philip Riris

In Western Venezuela, there is large scale rock art along rapids in the Orinoco river. University College of London archeologist Philip Riris used the same 3D imaging technology that we have pioneered to visualize the images.

See the whole article in Antiquity here.

Photogrammetry lets us look for petroglyphs that are otherwise impossible to see. At one of the Ancient Art Archive sites in the Southeastern US we've spent months mapping the fine level engravings on a cave ceiling. The work is difficult and painstaking but it can reveal artwork that is otherwise impossible to see (more here).

Southeastern artwork discovered with 3D imaging technology

Hats off to Riris and his team for adapting 3D technology to see otherwise invisible work.