Getty Conservation Institute Colloquium, Los Angeles

In late June/early July 2018 TARA's David Coulson and Terry Little were invited by the Getty Conservation Institute (GCI) in Los Angeles to participate in an International Colloquium in the USA. This was the third such Colloquium on rock art awareness and conservation, and the largest. (The original meeting was held in Australia in 2016 and the second in Namibia last year.)

The main aim of this recent meeting was to generate new strategies and solutions for the recognition, sustainable use and conservation of rock art as a global resource of universal value. During the sessions at the Getty offices, and the presentations, David talked about TARA's documentation work and about the rock art safaris which TARA has promoted and organised. Meanwhile Terry talked about Fundraising for rock art projects with special emphasis on Crowdfunding based on TARA's experiences in 2014.

Getty Conservation InstituteGetty Centre Complex, Los Angeles, California

Getty Conservation InstituteGetty Centre Complex, Los Angeles, California

Most of the more formal presentations and discussions were held in the Getty Centre, an impressive complex of buildings on a hill overlooking the city, constructed with white marble. However the Colloquium also included a number of interesting site visits. Soon after arriving, for instance, the group, consisting of over 20 international specialists, were transported by coach to a place/site called Little Lake, in the Mohave Desert east of the Sierra Nevada, where we were guided by locally-based expert, Dr Jo Ann Van Tilburg from UCLA. This is mainly a petroglyph site although there also paintings here, and is situated close to Little Petroglyph Canyon, another well known site. Jo Ann has worked at this site for a number of years. She is also an old friend of TARA and helped us set up our original digital archive in 2004 with support from the Andrew Mellon Foundation.

Carrizo Plains siteCarrizo Plains Site

Carrizo Plains siteCarrizo Plains Site

Carrizo Plains siteCarrizo Plains Site

Carrizo Plains siteCarrizo Plains Site

Carrizo Plains siteCarrizo Plains Site

The second site visit on the following day was further south where we visited the Carrizo Plains National monument, a remarkable site where two of our group had worked in the 1990s. This is very large painting site, but one that was seriously vandalised in the early 1900s. Dave Whitely and Nic Hall who had worked here in the past were able to show us old photographs which clearly showed what the site was like prior to being vandalised. These paintings were made by Shumasch Indians.

Getty Conservation InstitutePresentations at the Getty Conservation Institute

Getty Conservation InstitutePresentations at the Getty Conservation Institute

After further talks at the Getty offices we were again whisked away, this time by air to San Antonio in West Texas (approx 2,000 miles from LA). From San Antonio we were then driven to south west Texas very close to the Rio Grande (the US/Mexican border) between the Devils and the Pecos Rivers. This is hot, dry canyon country and one of the richest rock art regions in the United States. Our host here was Dr Carolyn Boyd, head of the Shumla project. Shumla was founded by Carolyn in 1998 in order to preserve, study and share this priceless cultural record. David Coulson first came here in the early 2000s at the invitation of Shumla co-founder, Prof Megan Biesele, who is also a member of TARA's Advisory Board.

West Texan Sites near Rio GrandeWest Texan Sites near Rio Grande

West Texan Sites near Rio GrandeWest Texan Sites near Rio Grande

West Texan Sites near Rio GrandeWest Texan Sites near Rio Grande

West Texan Sites near Rio GrandeWest Texan Sites near Rio Grande

West Texan Sites near Rio GrandeWest Texan Sites near Rio Grande

West Texan Sites near Rio GrandeWest Texan Sites near Rio Grande

We visited a number of different sites guided by Carolyn, some of which had paintings which they've dated to as far back as 2,000 years before Christ. The most remarkable of these was the so-called "White Shaman Shelter" which is thought to be at least 3,000 years old and is exceptionally well preserved. These paintings appear to illustrate long lost myths and beliefs adding to American pre-history.

White Shaman Shelter near Rio GrandeWhite Shaman Shelter near Rio Grande

White Shaman Shelter near Rio GrandeWhite Shaman Shelter near Rio Grande

White Shaman Shelter near Rio GrandeWhite Shaman Shelter near Rio Grande

White Shaman Shelter near Rio GrandeWhite Shaman Shelter near Rio Grande

White Shaman Shelter near Rio GrandeWhite Shaman Shelter near Rio Grande

White Shaman Shelter near Rio GrandeWhite Shaman Shelter near Rio Grande

White Shaman Shelter near Rio GrandeWhite Shaman Shelter near Rio Grande

White Shaman Shelter near Rio GrandeWhite Shaman Shelter near Rio Grande

This colloquium is expected to give rise to a number of important international projects and collaborations.

Little Lake Rock Art Site, Mojave Desert, CaliforniaLittle Lake Rock Art Site, Mojave Desert, California

Little Lake Rock Art Site, Mojave Desert, CaliforniaLittle Lake Rock Art Site, Mojave Desert, California

Little Lake Rock Art Site, Mojave Desert, CaliforniaLittle Lake Rock Art Site, Mojave Desert, California

Discussion sessions at the Getty Conservation Institute and TexasDiscussion sessions at the Getty Conservation Institute and Texas

Discussion sessions at the Getty Conservation Institute and TexasDiscussion sessions at the Getty Conservation Institute and Texas

Discussion sessions at the Getty Conservation Institute and TexasDiscussion sessions at the Getty Conservation Institute and Texas

Discussion sessions at the Getty Conservation Institute and TexasDiscussion sessions at the Getty Conservation Institute and Texas