under water. In New Mexico, one can
wander freely about in the Petroglyph
National Park outside of Albuquerque.
It’s difficult to know how many
petroglyphs have been used as building stones, rock fences, or plowed
under, but there are still many being
discovered today. Unfortunately,
vandalism has also taken its toll and
efforts have been taken to protect rock
rock art to my students at Forest Hill
Elementary School in San Jose, as well
as providing teacher workshops with
hands-on experiences and resources.
Donna Gillette, a local anthropologist, has worked with us in creating
a standards-based rock art program
specifically for the Chictactac-Adams
Integrating rock art with other
subject areas is very easy. How might
the environment influence rock art,
for example? What resources would
the people use? A place with an abundance of certain rock pigments would
produce pictographs with those colors.
The possibilities are endless in exploring this new yet ancient art form!
Place of Dancing
Chris Bullock, park interpreter for the
Santa Clara County Parks, teaches at
Chictactac Adams, a local petroglyph
site that features concentric circles.
These circular images,
along with spirals, occur
all over the world and
though their meaning
is unclear, they seem to indicate the
interface between two worlds, a spiritual “touch stone,” so to speak.
The Ohlone people who lived at the
site of Chictactac created these petroglyphs and it must have been a wonderful place, as the name Chictactac
means “place of dancing.” Chris and I
have been working together, bringing
Art-Making Ideas for Students
Students can participate in a variety
of activities to learn the concepts of
“pictograph” (painting, additive) and
“petroglyph” (subtractive process).
These activities include carving
in real stones with chert, painting
on rocks with freshly
ground pigments, mak-
ing clay petroglyph
necklaces, doing a group
pictograph mural story, drawing
anthropomorphs, and making foam
board petroglyph prints. They can also
use paper clips or wooden dowels to
peck away the surface of Styrofoam to
produce a diorama of a rock art site.
Shoe polish or brown/gray paints can
be used over the surface so that the
white lines remain.
Marianne Bickett is a teacher at Forest Hill Elementary School in Campbell
Union Elementary School District, San
Jose, California. mariannalmare@sbc-
Rock art was the
very first “art.”
Students demonstrate how history,
culture, and the visual arts can influence each other in making and studying works of art.
Isis Vanderpaardt, grade five.