Brown Bag Lunch Lecture – December 15, 2016

A Race Against Time:  Documenting the Conservation Needs of Rock Art Sites

Jeremy B. Freeman, Mary Oster, and Jason Theuer

Bring your lunch, bring your friends, or just bring yourself to our Brown Bag Lunch Lecture Series once a month.  Speakers will present topics of special interest for high desert residents. The lectures start at 12:00 p.m. Admission is $ 5 – Free for Members/Sponsors – beverages will be served.

Rock art sites are affected by a variety of transformational processes that affect site preservation and integrity.  Each site is subject to a unique combination of natural and anthropogenically induced agents that collectively act to degrade rock art figures and their supports.  Although the literature is replete with discussions on the processes leading to the deterioration of rock art, few systematic longitudinal studies have been conducted to document these processes and their role in diachronic changes to panels.  Subtle changes often go unnoticed and intervention is often relegated to reactionary responses to sudden and obvious signs of deterioration.  Conservation management plans provide a means of evaluating the conservation needs of sites and help implement a strategy to conserve the resource.  In this study we are using a variety of methods to collect data at rock art sites within Joshua Tree National Park to understand the agents leading to the deterioration of the rock art.  This data will provide a better understanding of the conservation needs of each site and enable the park to prepare a management plan to help conserve these resources.

Jeremy Freeman and Mary Oster Bios

Jeremy conducted his undergraduate studies in anthropology at Heidelberg College and his graduate studies anthropology at Ball State University.  He has worked as a professional archaeologist for 17 years for cultural resource management firms, museums, universities, federal agencies, and non-profit research institutes throughout the U.S.   He is currently working for the Great Basin Institute which is a partner organization with Joshua Tree National Park where he works in the resources division.  His research interests include:  rock art documentation and conservation management, indigenous cosmological constructs, and mythology and the sacred landscape.

Mary received her B.A. in Anthropology from the University of California, Santa Cruz.  She has been employed as a field archaeologist and researcher for six years, focusing primarily on the Great Basin physiographic region.  She has worked on projects in Nevada, Wyoming, Utah, Arizona, and throughout the state of California; at four National Parks: Joshua Tree NP, Bryce Canyon NP, Lassen Volcanic NP, and Lava Beds NM; and has published a volume in the Intermountain Region Cultural Resources series though the NPS.  Her broad research interests are in geomorphology/geology, landscape archaeology, paleoenvironmental reconstruction, archaeobotany, and of course, rock art.