Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Chalfant Canyon No. 1

Eric Ritter, in a 1983 review in the Journal of California and Great Basin Anthropology, reasons that “Even well-studied rock art sites, through reexamination and rethinking, can yield significant information. Such is the case with W. Joseph Mundy Jr.’s ‘An Analysis of the Chalfant Canyon Rock Art Site, Mono County, California.’. . . an important point in the author’s discussion is the dismissal of the hunting magic hypothesis owing to the absence of game portrayals, game trails, etc. . . . Overall the author’s site analysis is thorough and sensible.”


In 1979 I accompanied my brother Joe north from Los Angeles to the rock art site he was engaged in researching, bringing along my Nikon-F 35mm and Mamiya RB67 medium-format cameras. I’m not sure if I knew at the time that the area was called “Chalfant Canyon.” Traveling north from Bishop on highway 6, it seemed then just a series of cliffs located down a nondescript road. Idly viewing the cliffs, the rock art gradually came into focus: abstract and figurative motifs in a variety of configurations.

I'm thinking that we probably discussed the "hunting magic hypothesis" and such, but I don't remember exactly. While Joe was busy taking notes and measurements I puttered about with my cameras admiring the rock art and the spaciousness of the overall desert scene.

Photos: Rock ArtOwens Valley, 1979; Joe, Chalfant CanyonOwens Valley, 1979

No comments: