IMAGES: Southern Exposure

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Science  19 Apr 2002:
Vol. 296, Issue 5567, pp. 435b
DOI: 10.1126/science.296.5567.435b

Although European caverns like Lascaux and Altamira boast the best known rock artwork, early Americans also got creative in caves, under overhangs, and on rock walls. Some of the best examples of petroglyphs (images carved or pecked into stone) and pictographs (paintings) in the United States are found in Arkansas. The new Web site Arkansas Rock Art delves into the state's pre-Columbian artists and their work, offering information for specialists and aesthetes alike.

Most works were created between A.D. 900 and 1541, possibly by ancestors of modern tribes such as the Caddo and Osage. General articles describe these cultures and what we can divine about their rituals and beliefs. Technical papers focus on particular excavations and efforts to protect the sites from natural and human damage.

The gallery showcases renditions of animals, abstract and geometric symbols, and human figures.

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