Last Spring the Ancient Art Archive spent a couple weeks in Utah recording sites in the new Bears Ears National Monument. Here is an updated version of one of the panels we visited. The Procession panel has 179 human-like figures that seem to be centered around a circle. It is an incredible piece of artwork.
A rock art panel from Saudi Arabia may well be the oldest record of domesticated dogs. Maria Guagnin has been working on engravings in the Shuwaymis Hills of northwestern Saudi Arabia. She has cataloged over 1400 images from the region including what may be dogs on a leash. This article in Science lays out her work.
Rock art is notoriously hard to date, but if her dates are accurate these engravings are likely 8,000 - 9,000 years old. That edges out Iranian depictions of mans best friend by 1,000 years.
October has been a busy month for the Ancient Art Archive!
We've been working largely behind the scenes on technology and capacity building. We are closing in on the ability to provide immersive, 3D environments. To that end, we built a cave. Or at least part of a virtual one. The model below has the actual sounds recorded from the cave.
The model itself is built with 1200 individual images and represents about 900 feet of passage inside the cave.
We will soon begin working on a site in Georgia with Cherokee Syllabary writing inside. Part of the audio in that cave will be the spoken words.
Time is one of the hardest concepts to wrap your head around. People have been on the earth for about 300,000 years. For almost all of that time, we've been hunter-gatherers. But how long has the Earth been here?
NPR's Skunk Bear does a great job of helping us visualize Earth's history and our place in it.
I have selected 12 images for a portfolio of prints to help support the Ancient Art Archive. Each image is limited to 12 prints each. Once they are sold there will be no more. The images are approximately 21" x 33" on 2 x 4-foot paper.
Live Science has an excellent discussion of a solar eclipse depicted as rock art in Chaco Canyon. The image was discovered by McKim Malville in Chaco Canyon during a field trip in 1992. The image may describe the eclipse of July 11, 1097.
Countless tales are hidden in our ancestors' oldest caves. National Geographic Explorer & Photographer Stephen Alvarez is hosting a one-day talk and photo exhibit, and would like you to join him on a journey back in time to our ancestor’s prehistoric lives.
"A Private Audience & Photo Exhibition by Stephen Alvarez"
Date: 12th Sept 2017, 6.30pm
Venue: Zuleika Gallery 3rd Floor, 6 Mason’s Yard, St James’s, London SW1Y 6BU
Tickets:here, proceeds benefit the Ancient Art Archive.
In a scene that could almost have come out of an Ancient Art Archive presentation, Jon and Daenerys view ancient art in a cave.
"They were right here, standing where we are standing..."
The art bit starts around 2:40.
Now to my eye, those engravings look a little too fresh to be ancient, and Jon Snow's motives might not make him the most objective observer. If I were Daenerys I wouldn't assume that they were genuinely old until the Uranium / Thorium or Carbon 14 dates came back and were peer reviewed.
Hundreds, thousands of years exposed to the elements often leave ancient art hard to see. Famous sites like Chauvet, Altamira and the Great Gallery are well preserved but some important rock and cave art sites are weathered almost beyond recognition. How do we see rock art that is mostly weathered away? Mathematics, NASA and rock art enthusiast Jon Harman have a solution. It is an image analytic program Harman developed called DStretch.
Barrier Canyon Style Petroglyphs in a side canyon of Ferron Creek. Emery County, Utah. See what it looks like after DStretch on the next page.
The program uses a method called decorrelation stretch, which was originally used by NASA to improve remote sensing images of Mars. DStretch takes the NASA algorithm but optimizes it for rock art. The program analyzes photographs of rock art sites, and then shifts the images’ color to highlight designs and patterns that have faded away or otherwise become invisible to the naked eye by providing more contrast within the image. The program is especially useful when it comes to faded colors, particularly reds, yellows, blacks, and whites, but it is also works on etchings and other rock art forms. The results are a false color image that is often much more detailed than the original.