Sponsored by the Geomorphology Specialty Group
Association of American Geographers 103rd Annual Meeting
San Francisco, California, April 17-21.
Rock Weathering and Rock Art: Sustainability of Cultural Resources Etched in Stone
Paper Session 5535
Saturday, 4/21/07, from 4:00 PM - 5:40 PM
Geomorphology Specialty Group
Steven J. Gordon - U.S. Air Force
Steven J. Gordon - U.S. Air Force
- 4:00 PM Author(s):
*Ronald I. Dorn - Arizona State University
Abstract Title: Integrating geographic weathering theory and cultural preservation on public lands.
That prehistoric cultural sites worldwide are imperiled is well understood. Cultural resource management (CRM) has developed as a professional specialization and career path in response to this fact. Phrases such as “Saving the Past for the Future” are widely used by both CRM and academic archaeologists as soundbites to illustrate aspects of the relevance and goals of the profession. Perhaps the greatest risk to the richness of the archaeological record comes from the daily loss of rock art where anthropogenic factors and natural erosion continue to result in the destruction of countless numbers of motifs engraved or painted on rock surfaces. In recognition of this problem, federal legislation exists to develop a center for rock art research; yet no reliable methods now exist for such a future center to identify the most endangered rock art. This is where geographical weathering theory can rise up from the obscurity of Introduction to Physical Geography classes into national prominence. Rock weathering researchers internationally have dozens of strategies to measure weathering, but this paper explains that no single easily-learned approach could be used by to conduct a non-destructive “triage” of the tens of thousands of rock art panels in the western United States and in the developing world. This paper goes on explain why geographical weathering theory is sufficiently mature in its understanding of environmental-rock interactions to develop a non-destructive method usable by the non-specialists inevitably assigned to CRM projects.
Keywords: weathering, geomorphology, rock art, sustainability
- 4:20 PM Author(s):
*Niccole Villa Cerveny - Mesa Community College
Ronald I. Dorn - Arizona State University
Steven J. Gordon - United States Air Force Academy
David S. Whitley - W&S Consulting
Abstract Title: A new geographic triage method used to identify endangered rock art sites.
In order to identify those petroglyph and pictograph panels most susceptible to erosion, we propose a field-friendly index including various elements of existing strategies. This Rock Art Stability Index (RASI) has five categories: “Setting the Stage”; “Preparing for Future Detachment”; “Loss of Stone Incremementally”; “Loss of Stone in Chunks”; and “Rock Coatings and Deposits”. Initial testing reveals that training of individuals with no prior background in weathering can be conducted within a two-day period and yield reasonable results. RASI’s use as a tool of cultural resource sustainability includes the use of a Geographic Information System to store, display and analyze rock art. After presentation of the basic RASI, those in attendance will conduct a virtual analysis of the weathering of a rock art panel.
Keywords: weathering, rock art, sustainability
- 4:40 PM Author(s):
*Steven J. Gordon - United States Air Force Academy
Abstract Title: Case studies using a Rock Art Stability Index.
The Rock Art Stability Index (RASI) is a tool developed to catalog rock art and assess the degree and nature of deterioration and further potential for deterioration. Other researchers detail the need for, and generation of, RASI as a tool for bridging the disciplines of archaeology, anthropology, history, geography, and rock weathering to aid in cultural resource management. This research outlines the practical use of RASI in the field as an assessment tool, and provides results of field implementation of RASI. RASI was implemented in two arid regions: the Tinajas Altas Mountains, Barry Goldwater Range, Luke AFB, Arizona, and in the Waikoloa region of the Big Island of Hawaii. The selection of locations not only allows comparison of arid regions, but also allows RASI to be applied to pictographs (Arizona) and petroglyphs (Hawaii), and granodiorite substrates (Arizona) versus basalt (Hawaii). In both instances, RASI was implemented by more than one individual, to include both people well-versed in weathering and those whose specialty lies outside of weathering studies. The results of this research underscore the ability of RASI to identify multiple weathering threats to cultural resources, especially the presence of vegetation (fire hazard), and water drainage/ runoff, and human activity (rock climbing, graffiti, foot traffic).
Keywords: weathering, rock art, geomorphology
- 5:00 PM Author(s):
*Brandon J. Vogt - Arizona State University
Robert Edsall - Arizona State University
Abstract Title: Geovizualization of laser scanned images as a systemic strategy to aid in stone conservation.
Rock art is an invaluable remnant of past cultures. Because it is, by definition, on rock, this cultural resource will ultimately disappear. Some rock art panels are in greater risk of loss than others. A critical step in the preservation of rock art is to develop an objective system for the classification of rock art panel’s likelihood for decay, disintegration, or collapse. This paper describes a computer-based system for providing rock weathering experts a strategy to assess and rank rock instability. The identification, quantitative description, abundance, and condition of features such as fissures, textural variations, weathering rind erosion, and tafoni, - major indicators of rock instability - play a key role in the research. Multiple linked views (MLVs), an interactive and exploratory geovisualization technique, supports the project analyses.
Keywords: geovisualization, rock weathering, 3D laser scanning, rock art, southeastern Colorado
- 5:20 PM Discussant:
Alice V. Turkington - University Of Kentucky
Session Description: This session focuses on the contributions that geographers interested in rock weathering may make to preserving rock art, an important cultural resource. The development of a Rock Art Stability Index is the theme of the contributions: importance of and need for an index, development and construction of the index, case studies using the index, and the incorporation of visualization technology into the approach.