Book Review: Early Rock Art of the American West

Arizona is a treasure trove of rock art, including carved petroglyphs and painted pictographs. Much of the popular interest and scholarly study has centered on representational images of animals or humans. This beautiful book looks at abstract rock art, which predates representational. The authors use the fascinating concept of “artification” to explain why ancient rock art most often features abstract designs. Artification is a fundamental behavior that predisposes humans to make ordinary reality extraordinary. It’s a focus on process rather than product. We may not ever know what the abstract rock art means, but artification helps us understand the process of ritual and creation. In addition to the perceptive essays, this book contains over 200 close up photographs of rock art in the Southwest that invite contemplation. If you want to see some rock art, the library also has a copy of Arizona Journey Guide: a driving & hiking guide to ruins, rock art, fossils and formations.

Check out Early Rock Art of the American West!

By Diane