Archaeology Publication Series
Ajo Chapter
Arizona Archaeological Society

Ajo Chapter of the Arizona Archaeological Society

Children's Art in the Prehistoric Southwest?

Table of Contents


This article attempts to demonstrate that some of the abstract patterns scratched or pounded on rocks during the prehistoric era (known as petroglyphs) may have been created by children because of their developmental nature and their similarity to the drawings of children in the modern world. Because the adults in prehistoric Native American communities were certainly capable of making well-formed designs, as evidenced by some designs made on rocks, it seemed worthwhile exploring why other designs were so poorly executed. The authors have created a new Abstract Rock Art Analysis Scale, which attempts to separate the two types of abstract rock art that they have identified - developmental (similar to children's art) and fully-realized designs (presumably created by specialists in the prehistoric communities, possibly Shamans). A third category is suggested - Transitional - which is more hypothetical but which may provide a bridge between the two more distinct categories - Developmental - and Fully-realized. The authors have also provided a test to see if the reader can discriminate between the petroglyphs made by prehistoric Native Americans and the drawings made by modern children. The Test

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See the Cabeza Prieta Natural History Association for information on the plants, animals, geology and climate of the Sonoran Desert.


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