The Rock-Art of Eastern North America

reviewed by

John T Crowley

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The Rock-Art of Eastern North America, is the latest offering on rock art by Dr. Carol Diaz-Granados and James R. Duncan. This work was compiled by Carol and Jim, represents the latest information, and is the definitive rock-art work for eastern North America. Rock-Art in eastern North America has been largely ignored. This is a problem, as many sites are eroding away do to climatic changes and environmental degradation. In western North America, the record is more complete and is generally in better condition due to an arid climate. In the East, it is more important than ever to documented these sites before they are obliterated.

This book is fascinating on so many levels. First, it covers the subject that has long been ignored by a majority of our professional archaeologists. Second, it is authored by a minor host of people both professional and avocational with an interest in rock-art. Twenty-six authors are sited in this one volume. They all have knowledge and insights to share. The authors are diverse, and include an art historian, a carpenter, a retired orthopedic surgeon, a lawyer and professional archaeologists as well as avocational archaeologists and others. I learned a great deal. For example, Fred E. Croy Jr. reported on "Native American Dendroglyphs of the Eastern Woodlands," (dedroglyphs are carvings on trees). This makes perfect sense as a long term reminder for our Native peoples. However, trees as long lived as they are, do not survive as long a stone or paint on stone. This was a revelation to me, and took meticulous research on the part of the author. Jim Duncan and Carol Diaz-Granados' chapters on "Reflections of Power, Wealth, and Sex in Missouri Rock-Art Motifs" was outstanding and their "Empowering the (South-Eastern Ceremonial Complex): SECC, "The Old Woman and Oral Tradition," this chapter was nothing short of outstanding! The SECC, is not so southeastern after all! Maybe its' more about the Souian speakers, their religious traditions and their influence over much of the Eastern United States. You'll have to read this book to understand, its all connected.

You must read the new information about 'Picture Cave,' and its dating to around 1025 AD., (the beginning of the Mississippian Period). I enjoyed reading the detective-like articles about the Ratcliffe Sacred Rock Site and Seven Sacred Stones, from Iowa. In addition, one can read articles by authors from Canada, Kentucky, Tennessee, Maryland, South Carolina, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Maine, Illinois and Missouri.

I found this book to be absolutely fascinating I enjoyed every page. It gave me invaluable insights into the people who made the artifacts that I hold so dear. I understand more about those people and consequently respect them more. This is clearly a book for everyone in Central States with a thirst for knowledge about our Native peoples. This is a book you will want for your library!

You may order your copy of The Rock Art of Eastern United States from the University of Alabama Press, Chicago Distribution Center at 11030 South Langley Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60628. Phone in your order at (800) 621-2736 for the US. and Canada members. For international orders call (773) 568-1550. This book is also available through the University of Alabama Press website The cost is $39.95 for a soft cover, and $70.00 for a cloth cover, both are post paid. It may also be ordered though your local bookseller.