Rectilinear Symbols: – These include abstract motifs similar to curvilinear except the elements are more square and rectangular, grids, rakes, dots (Fig. 06), cross hatches, zigzags, diamonds. It has been determined that these are younger than curvilinear, dating back to ca. 5000 BC.
|Much of the abstract rock art here is attributed to the peoples from the Middle Archaic Period, from 4000-1500 BC, to the Late Archaic period, From 1500 BC to the period of contact with Euro-Americans in the nineteenth century, and primarily include the Anasazi and Freemont peoples, the ancestors of most modern Indian Peoples, the Utes and Paiutes, AD 1200 to AD 1880. Rock art created by the Anasazi also depict anthropomorphic and zoomorphic figures, spirit figures and symbols. The Anasazi petroglyphs exhibit a different style than the Fremont petroglyphs, and are quite different from each other. Many Fremont Style panels contain many of the most prevalent motifs: trapezoidal anthropomorphs, dot patterns, bighorn and spirals, as well as other unique elements.|
|When it comes to less common schematic and naturalistic depictions of humans (anthropomorphs), animals (zoomorphs), tools, weapons, and hunting scenes, these designs have particular resonance for contemporary observers as their “meaning” can, at one level, be inferred from simply identifying their subject and themes.|
The prominence of bighorn sheep in rock art perhaps attests to this animal’s symbolic importance in prehistoric cultural thought as it was not a staple of the prehistoric diet. Small mammals (rabbits, marmots, ground squirrels, etc.), were probably more important sources of meat and deer and antelope were also hunted. Plants, which at all times, made up the bulk of prehistoric diets, are very rarely identified in Nevada rock art.
The rock art of these cultures portrayed the human form variously as stick figures (Fig. 09), hourglass shapes, rectangular shapes, or as triangular bodies lacking legs. Often these forms have bodily adornment (headgear, “horns,” or jewelry), or internal decoration that might represent clothing. Uncertain in its age and cultural affiliations is the Pahranagat anthropomorph style, which is only found here in the Pahranagat Valley area of southeastern Nevada. Traditionally the style is dated to the late Middle and early Late Archaic based on associated archaeological remains and the fact that some figures wield atlatls. This style comprises two distinct types of anthropomorphs. One is a rectangular form internally decorated with grids, dots, or geometric motifs, “fringed” by short vertical lines. It often lacks a head but has stick-figure legs and short arms (Fig. 10) sometimes bearing an atlatl-like object. The second type has a solid-pecked ovoid or rectangular body, large eyes (indicated by using negative space), and a line protruding from its head; their arms are portrayed down-turned and with long fingers (Fig. 11).
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