Tuesday, February 24, 2009
SHUMLA (Studying Human Use of Materials, Land & Art) and Texas State University are once again offering "Field methods in Rock Art." This three-week course gives students the opportunity to earn 3-6 hours of undergraduate -- or three hours of graduate-level credit while studying with one of the leading rock art researchers in the world.
Taught at the SHUMLA campus, located 50 miles west of Del Rio, Texas, the Lower Pecos River region is the home of hundreds of rock shelters, many of which contain some of the finest examples of prehistoric rock art in the world, dating to over 4,000 years old.
Field methods are the foundation of the science of archaeology. Rock art has posed a unique challenge to the field archaeologists because, unlike other artifacts, it cannot be excavated, labeled, bagged, and transported back to the lab for analysis. This course examines rock art as an integral component of the archaeological record. Students are trained in field methods gaining first-hand experience recording rock art sites using photography, field sketches, mapping, and written inventories. These techniques are designed to generate a visual and written description of the art, which can be used to infer and explain past human behavior.
Daily lectures introduce students to methods of interpretation and analysis and to the theoretical principles underlying cognitive archaeology. These discussions are provided by the course instructors and by archaeologists and anthropologists specializing in the archaeology of the Lower Pecos, hunting and gathering lifeways, expressive culture, and forging adaptations.
Learn how to establish a field research design and field data collection protocols. Students learn field methods for recording rock art, including slide and digital photography, mapping, sketching, and written inventories.
Learn laboratory procedures, record-keeping, cataloging, and records curation for rock art data.
Learn how to analyze rock art data in order to formulate and test hypotheses.
Compare and contrast current theories regarding the meaning and function of the Lower Pecos rock art.
Become familiar with the foraging adaptation, hunter-gatherer belief systems, and the archaeology of the Lower Pecos River region.
Prepare a detailed field journal for future reference and research ideas.
Scholarships are available.
For more information, check the SHUMLA Web site
or read about past field schools at the Field School Blog