In 2010 our focus was to continue documenting sites in the Owens Valley and in Washington County, Utah. In addition, Don and the Grand Canyon Gang continued their work around the Grand canyon, in Joshua Tree, and in the Mojave Preserve. David and Charlotte have begun a project in the Bodie Hills and continue working on the Wardaman Recording Project in northern Australia. With Brian's help, they have now produced five reports on that work. Brian and Jerry have learned to use Arc-View and are creating maps with our (confidential) data-bases from the Grand Canyon, the Mojave, and the Owens Valley. In 2010 our members gave a total of fifteen lectures or workshops to interested public groups. Also this year, Webmaster and Educator Lauren Springman has created our website, and we're finally becoming part of the "social network".
2010 was our most productive year ever, and in 2011 we plan on continuing to work in all of these areas, as well as seeking out projects in other regions. We are actively looking for new members. We are especially keen to locate someone who has experience grant-writing or bookkeeping for non-profit groups.
This year was yet another high-water year for our little non-profit group. In 2011 we really branched out in the hopes of getting more work in other regions. We recorded our first sites for the Inyo National Forest in over 10 years, working in the northern White Mountains. We also did quite a bit of for the Ridgecrest District BLM Field Office and we hope to be getting more work down there in the future. This work was in Saline Valley and in the northern Coso Range. Bill White was able to join us for much of this work, has secured permits for us in California, and is working on permits for Nevada and other states. He is planning on working with us on a more regular basis in the future, and has resigned from the Board in order to be able to get paid for his work.
We were able to field-record a total of 30 sites in 2011. Most of the sites we recorded this year are in the Owens Valley, and include three large sites. We received a contract from the BLM to do a survey/documentation of areas in and around a large burn area on Crater Mountain near Big Pine. We were also asked to record a stock tank on the Dry Lakes Plateau in the Bodie Hills that is covered in Basque writings from 50s era sheepherders. An archaeologist friend from Wyoming, Robyn Johnson, joined us for much of the Owens Valley field-work.
We finished and filed a total of 32 rock art site records, and we gave more than a dozen lectures on rock art. We sent in four proposals for recording work this year, and are anxiously waiting to hear about them.
In 2012 we will be concentrating on finishing what we have started. Several of the sites we recorded in 2011 are quite large and will take a lot of time to produce drawings for. Finishing the records and producing a report for the Crater Mountain Survey will also take time, and we plan on presenting several papers on our work this year.
We will continue to submit proposals for work in other areas, focusing on rock art that is at risk from vandalism or development. We look forward to increasing our staff over the next couple of years, and being able to accomplish even more work.
2012 Goals and Accomplishments
Western Rock Art Research continued to grow and accomplish big things in 2012. We participated in five different surveys. We finished up the “John Fire” survey near Big Pine (and turned in the completed report), we finished up the Alabama Hills survey, and BLM Archaeologist Greg Haverstock is writing up that report. In addition, we performed a 1,000 acre survey north of Bishop that resulted in the recording of 70 arch sites and 30 isolates. We have most of those records completed, and are about to begin writing the report.
We also assisted in an “emergency” survey in and around the town of Mammoth Lakes, and performed two small surveys in Washington County, Utah in early November, when we also did rock art recording and public outreach and education. We did our first documentation work in Idaho and hope to continue working there in the future. All told, we recorded 118 (non-rock art) archaeological sites, and 37 isolates (nearly finished with all of them!). We recorded 28 rock art sites, and filed finished site records for 19 of them. In our on-going effort to educate and inform the public, Western Rock Art Research members gave 14 lectures to groups ranging from public school 9th grade classes to academic groups.
2013 Goals and Accomplishments
This year we continued to accomplish big things, despite the economy, government shut-downs, and other “rocks in the road.” The biggest news is that Don Christensen, Jerry Dickey and Steve Freers succeeded in publishing their book on “the Rock Art of the Grand Canyon!” A true labor of love, and one of the finest books on rock art ever produced, period.
We continued our work in the Owens Valley and St. George areas, due in large part to the fact that we submitted proposals that were rated as the number one proposal for California, and the number two proposal for Utah (for research in Wilderness, Wilderness Study Areas, and National Conservation Areas). Both were awarded funding.
In the Owens Valley, we were able to assist Greg Haverstock (Bishop BLM Archaeologist) and his staff (Hannah Fortney) in performing damage assessments on four vandalism projects (resulting in the survey of 111 acres), including the infamous theft of rock art panels from the Chalfant Valley site in 2012. Fires in the Eastern Sierra also resulted in WRAR being asked to assist in survey and recordation of another burn area on Crater Mountain near the town of Big Pine, and on the southeastern side of Mono Lake. This resulted in the recordation of seven VERY interesting scratched/pecked petroglyph sites (including an 1888 date), and two very large and unique habitation sites on Crater Mountain. Near Mono Lake, we surveyed approx. 200 acres and recorded 10+ sites, including one prehistoric and two historic art sites (one was another set of inscriptions on a water tank). Due to a proposed OHV route (BAD idea!) throughout the Owens Valley, we’ve been assisting Hannah on a survey of routes and (to be) affected areas. This has resulted in over 2,600 acres surveyed and 29 sites recorded (80+ isolates!). Four other rock art sites were also field-recorded on the Bishop Tableland in 2013.
In Utah, we spent two field-sessions. Don made a recon trip in January, surveying and looking at areas for the crew to survey. In the Spring, we spent two weeks and recorded 15 sites with the help of volunteers from the St. George area. This Fall, we went back and spent another three weeks surveying nearly 1,000 acres and recording 36 sites, including 10 rock art sites. One site we recorded covered over 160 acres!
Our total for the year is: 35 rock art sites recorded (and nearly 100 other archaeological sites), and over 3, 500 acres surveyed in the Eastern California and Utah.
Western Rock Art Research members also gave a total of 26 lectures this year, to both public (3rd grade through Jr. College, and to various groups, museums, etc.) and academic audiences. Public outreach continues to be an important part of our work, but doesn’t bring in much income.
We would like to thank all the Bureau of Land Management employees, particularly Greg Haverstock, William Kerwin and Dawna Ferris, who have worked very hard to help us find funding to be able to give them the documentation they need to manage these priceless resources. We have been extremely lucky to have the opportunity to work with such dedicated public servants.
In 2014 Western Rock Art Research continued the project in Washington County, Utah that began in 2008. To date, 67 rock art sites, and 106 other archaeological sites have been recorded for the Bureau of Land Management there. In the Owens Valley, a grant from the National Conservation Foundation allowed us to survey nearly 500 acres and document 38 archaeological sites (26 containing rock art) within National Conservation Lands administered by the Bishop Bureau of Land Management Field Office. Project Reports for both projects include overview of rock art in the respective regions.
We have also presented seven lectures to public and academic groups, and had meetings with four Owens Valley tribal groups to discuss future management of rock art sites within the Owens Valley.
Australian researchers Jo McDonald are using data from the Owens Valley work and Peter Veth to compare arid lands rock art from the two continents. We are very excited to see what they discover.
In 2014 archaeologist Janet Niessner became our President, after years of working with us and helping us to refine our use of Global Positioning and programs like Arcmap. She has brought a lot of valuable skills and perspectives to our work, and we look forward to the next few years under her leadership.