The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (GSENM) and Grand Staircase Escalante Partners are sponsoring a presentation by archaeo-anthropologist Sally Cole titled, Basketmaker Network: Rock Art and Cultural Identity on the Colorado Plateau 1000-400 BC to AD 400.

Cole has been conducting petroglyph and pictograph rock art (rock writing) research projects in southeast Utah and southwest Colorado for over 25 years and is the author of two books and several professional papers on the subject. Her first book on rock art titled, Legacy on Stone: Rock Art of the Colorado Plateau, first published in 1990, and revised and updated in 2009, is considered a classic on the subject.

Her PowerPoint presentation examines overlaps in Basketmaker II material culture and rock art in 10 areas of the Colorado Plateau, including Kanab and the Arizona Strip.

The discussion will explore the foundations underlying Ancestral Pueblo traditions and how rock art styles can explain cultural relationships between earlier Archaic (hunter-gatherer) and later Basketmaker II (hunter-farming) cultures.

In Sally Cole’s own words, “It is clear that rock art has much to contribute to archaeology and our understanding of the past. It was intentionally placed and remains in place. It is visual communication that incorporates iconography and symbolism from the past. As such, it has the potential to provide important information about sites and the cultures and societies that occupied them.”

The program, part of the GSENM’s Walks and Talks series, will be held at the GSENM Visitor Center at 745 E. Hwy 89, on April 7, at 7 p.m. This is an opportunity to learn more about the peoples who inhabited this area long before us.