The expedition was preceded by a meeting at the Getty Centre in Los Angeles between the Getty Conservation Institute and the Bradshaw Foundation. The meeting discussed, firstly, the establishment of an international Alliance of professionals and rock art site managers to enable the exchange of information and to work together, and secondly, to reach the public and new audiences by disseminating information of different kinds and at different levels via the Bradshaw Foundation. The Getty Conservation Institute and the Bradshaw Foundation have agreed to collaborate to solicit a steady flow of content via the Alliance for outreach.
Laurie Gilmore, a resident of Los Angeles, also attended the meeting as a future liaison between the Bradshaw Foundation and the Getty Conservation Institute.
The purpose of the expedition was to view rock art sites in the Sierra de San Francisco whilst initiating a formal working relationship with CRAF and Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History [INAH - Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia de México]. INAH is the official government body established to carry out scientific research of the rock art as well as establishing and maintaining preservation policies in the region.
Baja California peninsula is a region of Mexico that houses one of the most spectacular collections of rock art in the country - the Great Murals of the Sierra de San Francisco. The region is geographically insular and it would have kept the native peoples relatively isolated from continental influences, allowing the development of a local cultural complex.
Seven rock art sites were visited and recorded on the expedition: Cueva la Palma, Cueva de las Flechas, Cueva Pintada, Piedra de Chuy [a petroglyph site], Cueva Soledad, Cueva Ratón and Cueva El Palmarito.
The only access into the arroyo San Pablo is by mule, involving a descent of some 1,500 ft. on the traditional Indian trails. Camps were set up each night on the canyon floor.
Within the Sierra de San Francisco there are hundreds of documented rock shelters, many with huge panels with numerous brightly painted figures, for the most part found in a good state of conservation.
The style is essentially realistic, dominated by depictions of human figures and terrestrial and marine fauna, designed in red, black, white and yellow. The paintings are found on both the walls and roofs of rock shelters, sometimes at considerable heights. The rock shelters are often difficult to access. The landscape of the area is another significant attribute; the rock art is clearly ‘embedded’ within the landscape.
Baja California are noteworthy.
The images are essentially silhouettes, without representational details inside their outlines. Instead, geometrical patterns such as stripes or bands of different colours are used. A front- facing perspective is used for humans, turtles, birds, and most fish, while a lateral perspective is used for deer and most other animals.
http://www.saddlingsouth.com for making this possible. The Bradshaw Foundation will shortly be documenting this expedition on our website in the Great Murals of Baja California section: https://www.bradshawfoundation.com/baja/index.php
Damon de Laszlo
Bradshaw Foundation Chairman