Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

Fall 2006


Published in GREAT PLAINS RESEARCH 16:2 (Fall 2006). Copyright © 2006 Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska–Lincoln.


If readers of Great Plains Research are seeking a window on rock art research in North America, this book provides a few clear panes, a few that are hazy, and a few muddy ones. Like many edited volumes, the weaker contributions and lack of a consistent style limit the book's usefulness. Some authors target a general readership; others clearly are addressing colleagues.

The book has two stated themes: the history of rock art research in North America and recent approaches to rock art analysis. Articles by Julie Francis and (jointly) David Whitley and Jean Clottes explore why rock art research has long been marginalized in North America. Unfortunately, both of these otherwise observant essays slip into advocacy of shamanism as a unifying or primary explanation for rock art, an interpretive model by no means universally accepted by today's rock art specialists.