Appalachian rock art an interconnected retelling of Native cosmology in three dimensions, even over vast distances

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Ah, I love even the whiff of an idea like this! UTK anthropology professor Jan Simek postulates:

“The cosmological divisions of the universe were mapped onto the physical landscape using the relief of the Cumberland Plateau as a topographic canvas,” said Simek.

The location of each set of petroglyphs –surface, mixed surface & cave, and cave– was seen to correlate to the represented figure’s role in the Native cosmology of 6,000 years ago. Figures associated with life, light &c were found in open-air sites, whereas figures associated with darkness and death were found in caves. ‘Life figures’ were often painted red –a color the Native folk associated with life– whereas ‘death figures’ were often painted black, the color associated with death.

“This layered universe was a stage for a variety of actors that included heroes, monsters and creatures that could cross between the levels,” Simek said

For Dr. Simek –a professor at the University of Tennessee: Knoxville– this insight represents the culmination of a life’s work. Read the rest here.


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