Pictographs at Paint Rock, Texas: exploring the horizon astronomy and cultural intent

Houston, Gordon L and Simonia, Irakli (2016) Pictographs at Paint Rock, Texas: exploring the horizon astronomy and cultural intent. Journal of Astronomical History and Heritage, 19 (1). pp. 3-17. ISSN 1440-2807

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Abstract

The Paint Rock pictograph site on the Campbell Ranch near Paint Rock, Texas, contains over 1500 pictographs. A monument erected on the bluff by the State of Texas indicates it is the largest pictograph site in Texas. Twelve active solar markers have been identified at the site, and with additional observations, possibly more will be discovered. These solar interactions at the Paint Rock site make it one of the most interesting archaeoastronomical sites in Texas. An initial study of Paint Rock suggested that the native cultures did not use the horizon for calendrical purposes, as both the eastern and western horizon are flat and almost featureless. As a result, these characteristics led to our primary research question: How did the cultures so accurately place these rock art glyphs so that they could interact with light and shadow on important solar points of the year? We will detail our search for the place of observation, and the discovery of a significant horizon notch. Our observations support the discovery of the potential horizon calendar and show how it was tied to the material culture. These data answer the primary research question. Interpretation of rock art is one of the great challenges of cognitive archaeology. The existence of solar markers in rock art can provide the most rigorous interpretation and evidence of intentionality in rock art. We detail the accuracy and precision of two of the most significant solar markers. Finally, we propose a tool to evaluate rock art solar markers called the "Solar Marker Matrix of Intentionality". This Matrix can be used to help identify potential solar markers and evaluate the strength of identified solar markers. Use of this tool will lead to a database for future statistical analysis.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Q Science > QB Astronomy
Divisions: Faculties/Schools > School of Natural Sciences and Engineering
Depositing User: Irakli Simonia
Date Deposited: 23 May 2016 10:54
Last Modified: 23 May 2016 10:54
URI: http://eprints.iliauni.edu.ge/id/eprint/4670

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