The Rock Art Engravings of the Coso Range

The Ethnographic Record

Page 5 / 17

Ethnographic Record, Hunting Magic Analogs, and the Subject of the Coso Rock Art

Many anthropologists assume that the oldest religions center on individual shamanic rituals. Shamans are part-time religious practitioners who perform rituals on behalf of individual clients when called on to do so. These ritual adepts are accepted as specialists because of their personal charisma and established reputation as successful practitioners. They often enter trance states during their ritual performances and may alter established rituals, as they feel inspired; to accommodate the particular needs of specific clients.

coso bighorn sheep petroglyph

Increase rites: Petroglyph panels
with large numbers of bighorn sheep,
depicted in both organized &
unorganized arrays, are thought to be
the focus of ceremonial increase rites.
Photo by D. Austin

coso rock art figures

"Master/mistress of the game animals" protects the animal and offers or withholds them from the hunters. Note the objects being held by the large central figure. The long slender rod is most likely an atlatl spear thrower.
Photo by D. Austin

Communal cults differ from individualistic ones since they are associated with more complex social organization. Such group religious observances are known from North America, Melanesia, Siberia, and Australia. The ethnographic record documents travels to ritual centers where group ceremonies are performed to preserve and enhance the fecundity of culturally important animals or plants. Such ceremonies are known for foraging cultures worldwide including the Arunta, Katish, and Unmatjera tribes of Australia (Elkin, 1964; Layton, 1992), and many California and Northwest Coast tribes in North American (Bean and Vane, 1978; Gifford, 1926; Kroeber and Gifford, 1949), to identify just a few examples. At the sacred community grounds, increase rituals include calling out the game animal name, chanting melodies related to the animal and dramatic presentations of the mythic history of the site and the animal’s association with the area. Acts of magic are included and aimed at enhancing the prevalence of game animals in general. These visits sometimes facilitate group ceremonies including male initiation or coming-of-age rites.

Initiation rites, immediately preceding puberty age for men, were often required as expressions of North American religion. A young boy was required to seek the assistance of a guardian spirit to withstand the trials of existence and have luck in hunting and in life (cf. Guenther, 1988:195). Those involved in these ceremonies were not necessarily ritual adepts (“shamans”) but often commoners. As such, the depiction of visions garnered from dreams is sometimes a culturally prescribed method for coming of age (cf. Hultkrantz, 1987a:32).
Bradshaw Foundation - Introduction to Coso Rock Art
Dr. Alan P. Garfinkel - About the Author
Dr. Alan P. Garfinkel - Introduction to the Research Paper
→ | Coso Sheep Cult - Research Paper | Page |
| 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 |
The Coso Range Rock Art Gallery
Coso Publications by Dr. Alan P. Garfinkel
Download PDF Documents
Talking Stone - Rock Art of the Cosos - Documentary Film
American Rock Art Archive
Bradshaw Foundation
Like us on Facebook & Follow us on Twitter to receive news & updates:
bradshaw foundation donate help
Mailing List

Email Sign-Up
website updates


First Name

Last Name


bradshaw foundation ishop dvd
bradshaw foundation podcast
Homepage About the Foundation Contact Us Facebook News Articles Twitter List of Research Papers Professor Stephen Oppenheimer Bibliographic Database Travel Index About the Expeditions Forthcoming Expeditions Bespoke Expeditions Enquire Practical Information History of Exploration Welcome to the iShop Film Downloads DVD's Sculpture Prints Clothing Messenger Bag eBooks INORA Downloads About iLecture Films Shipping & Handling iLectures In Conversation Video Stories Travel Films Read the reviews Privacy Policy Bradshaw Foundation Facebook Friends of the Foundation Archive Index World's Oldest Rock Art Africa Documentary Films South Africa RARI Giraffe Carvings Niger Namibia Western Central Africa Africa Paintings Gallery Tanzania The Tuareg People Tuareg Salt Caravans Gilf Kebir Birnin Kudu Rock Art Center Archive Index San Rock Art Paintings San Bushman San Rock Art Film Origins Centre Johannesburg Archive Index Arizona Baja California Baja California Film Coso Range Talking Stone Film Nevada Oregon Territory Moab, Utah Clovis First Australia Archive Index Introduction Bradshaw Paintings Kimberley Region The Unambal Hugh Brown Leif Thiele Gallery Dan Clark Grahame Walsh Bradshaws / Gwion Gwion Archive Index Introduction Origins of the British Avebury Stonehenge Sounds of Stonehenge The British Museum British Isles Megaliths Gower Peninsula Rock Art Mendip Hills Prehistory Northumberland Rock Art Red Lady of Paviland Stone Age Mammoth Abattoir Archive Index Introduction Peterborough Petroglyphs Western Canadian Rock Art Writing-On-Stone Wuikinuxv Territory Dinosaur Provincial Park Archive Index Huashan Rock Art Yinchuan Museum Rock Art Festival Field Trip Gallery Itinerant Creeds Inner Mongolia & Ningxia Vanishing Civilization Life in Rock Art (PDF) Tibet Tibet Photographs Dazu Rock Carvings Tiger Motif Archive Index Chauvet Cave Lascaux Cave Niaux Cave Cosquer Cave Rouffignac Cave Portable Art Defining Rock Art Tuc d'Audoubert Bison Dr. Jean Clottes Index UNESCO World Heritage Introduction Cave Paintings Gallery Visiting the Chauvet Cave Return to Chauvet Cave Investigating the Cave Venus & Sorcerer Werner Herzog Film Chauvet Publications India Archive Index Rock Art Central India Pachmarhi Hills India Rock Art Gallery Preservation & Education Dr. V. S. Wakankar Articles on India Rock Art Contemporary Art Sri Lanka Archive Index Rock Paintings & Engravings Sri Lanka Rock Art Gallery Middle East Archive Index Middle East Inroduction Rock Art of Iran Rock Art of Saudi Arabia United Arab Emirates Rock Art Ancient Geometry Middle East Colonisation Scandinavian Rock Art Archive Scandinavian Introduction Alta Rock Art Norway Rock Art in Finland Tanum Rock Art Sweden Thor Heyerdahl Archive Index Introduction America's Oldest Art? Pedra Furada Bolivian Rock Art Campeche Island - Brazil Checta Petroglyphs - Peru Cueva de las Manos Santa Catarina Island - Brazil Rock Art in Britain Campeche Rock Art Petroglyphs El Salvador - Corinto Cave Hand Rock Art Paintings Tibetan Rock Art United Arab Emirates Uzbekistan Yinchuan Rock Art Museum Introduction Ice Age Art Gallery Claire Artemyz Jill Cook Interview Cycladic Introduction Cycladic Gallery A Cultural Memory Izzy Wisher Biography Deer-tooth necklace Cave Art Introduction Geometric Signs Chart Research Methodology Geometric Signs in France Sign Types/Countries/Regions Bibliography Ancient Symbols in Rock Art Newsletter Archive Download Issues Introduction Genetic Map Professor Stephen Oppenheimer Further Reading Origins of the British BBC Documentary Origins Index Origins Overview 13 Big Questions Stanley Ambrose Homo Floresiensis Herto Skulls Homo Dmanisi Liujiang Skull Introduction Sentinels in Stone Easter Island Rock Art Birdman Cult / Motif Sea & Marine Creatures Design & Motifs Dr Georgia Lee Easter Island Map Contemporary Art Glossary Conclusion Thor Heyerdahl Introduction When & Who Built It? How Was It Built? The Area Sounds of Stonehenge Meaning of a Pyramid Pyramid Studies Pyramid Superstructure Pyramid Substructure Pyramid Preparations Pyramid Building Saqqara Nabil Swelim Temples of Malta and Gozo Research in the Caucasus The Keselo Foundation Homo Dmanisi Ancient Toolmakers Index Introduction Descent into the Cave The Decorated Caves Shamanistic Experience Spring Initiation Rites Summary Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Professor John P. Miller Motif: Eternal Index Banksy Han Meilin Bruce Radke Christian Tuki Gordon Ellis-Brown Site Map Search the Website Glossary of Terms & Definition Podcast on iTunes Other Websites Contact the Foundation