Investigating Painted Bluff Rock Art

The first regional piece for Investigating Rock Art is here! Investigating Painted Bluff Rock Art guides students to discover the past through evidence from a rock art site in Alabama. Painted Bluff
overlooks the calm, murky waters of the Tennessee River. The beautiful bluff is one of the few preserved open-air rock art sites in the southeast. The elaborate, richly decorated face of the bluff has communicated messages to passing boat travelers since prehistoric times. Many southeastern Native Americans trace their tribal history back to this significant landmark through their ancestors who created a visual display in an array of exceptional motifs. Painted Bluff contains over 100 images and symbols which greatly contributes to our knowledge of the Mississippian cultural period in North America. The rock art at Painted Bluff was made by ancestors of the Southeastern tribes that once lived in the Tennessee Valley. The descendants of these people are known as the Cherokees, Chickasaw, Muscogee, Alabama, Coushatta, Quassarte, and Creek tribes.
In Investigating Painted Bluff Rock Art, students learn from LaDonna Brown, a member of the Chickasaw Nation. According to Ms. Brown, at one point the message in the rock art was visible and significant, but it will not mean as much to people through simple observation. Ms. Brown said, “The message is exposed in the understanding of the belief system of the Southeastern Indians. It can be thought of as a code and even now it is hard to decipher because some elements are missing. The information revealed is abundant and includes major significance placed upon spirituality and ceremonialism among the Southeastern Indians. These people’s offspring are now known as the Five Tribes and the concepts are familiar to all of us.” To learn more about the Chickasaw Nation, check out this video featuring LaDonna Brown.  Project Archaeology: Investigating Rock Art will transform your classroom into a community of student archaeologists who ask questions, make observations and support their inferences with evidence, analyze primary sources, relate culture to their own lives, and passionately share what they learn in a variety of ways. Investigating Rock Art is available April 13th, 2018. Both Investigating Painted Bluff Rock Art and Investigating Rock Art may be purchased here.