Palo Duro rock art : Indian petroglyphs and pictographs




Upshaw, Emily SoRelle

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West Texas State University


This thesis deals with the problem of recording the petroglyphs and pictographs at nine sites in Palo Duro Canyon in the Panhandle of Texas. Photographs and drawings were made to give visual records of this truly American art and its current condition. Included is a comparative analysis of the styles, subject matter, possible meaning and purpose, as well as the tribes or peoples involved. Background material considered pertinent includes a brief account of the history of early man in the New World, in the Great Plains region, and in this Llano Estacado area of the Southern High Plains. A review of rock-art studies in Europe, Africa, Australia and in North America gives further understanding of the importance of these examples of art of the American aborigine. Even though examples of rock art in Palo Duro Canyon are not found in profusion, they do show an interesting variety of styles and expression. The two established regional styles represented are the Plains and the Puebloan. Petroglyphs are in the majority but two interesting pictograph sites were reported also. Because these outdoor art galleries are so rare and vulnerable to destruction, all efforts should be made for detailed recording of each remaining example of rock art. This complex subject was selected and developed for its value to the history of art and to the study of anthropology.


A Thesis Presented to the Faculty of the Graduate School West Texas State University In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts by Emily SoRelle Upshaw May 1972


Petroglyphs, Texas, Palo Duro Canyon, Rock Paintings, Indians of North America, Antiquities