Vocabulary

Vocabulary for La Rumorosa Talk to IVDM on 3/20/21 – In Rough Order of Appearance in This Presentation

La Rumorosa [LR] – A style of rock art associated with the Kumeyaay and their ancestors – named after the largest site of the style of rock art in a village in Baja also called La Rumorosa.  These paintings are mainly either shaman executed or created under the guidance of shaman ceremonies such as ROP [below] or creation related ceremonies.  LR is painted mostly in red, then black, white, yellow, orange.  By artistic technique a blue is created by positioning black next to orange to create a visual blue such as at Indian Hill.

La Rumorosa [the origin of this rock art] – why is La Rumorosa rock art created – see Vision Quest below]

Shaman – A holy man or woman in a form of spirituality used around the world in prehistoric and historic societies.

Ethnography - Ethnography, descriptive study of a particular human society or the process of making such a study. Contemporary ethnography is based almost entirely on fieldwork and requires the complete immersion of the anthropologist in the culture and everyday life of the people who are the subject of his study.

Archaeology - The goal of archaeology is to understand how and why human behavior has changed over time. Archaeologists search for patterns in the evolution of significant cultural events such as the development of farming, the emergence of cities, or the collapse of major civilizations for clues of why these events occurred.

Rites of Passage [ROP] – A ceremony by the village or group that celebrates the transition of a young person into adulthood.  This celebration includes the communication of knowledge and wisdom that will serve this young person and help protect them to live a quality life.

Prehistory – Simply the time before recorded history in a more formal sense by writing or images that can be understood by those that follow.  History has a more enduring quality than prehistoric times.  It is not a black and white issue.  We can understand a written document, we can interpret ancient languages, but we cannot really understand ancient paintings or other artifacts such as pottery or carvings.

San Luis Rey Style [SLR] – This is a different form of rock art associated with the Luiseno People and is the most common style in Northern San Diego County and also found in Riverside County.  Much of what remains is in village sites and related to Rites of Passage.  In La Rumorosa or Kumeyaay territory much of the rock art in Blair Valley appears to look like SLR rock art.

Rancho Bernardo Style [RBS] – This is the most mysterious form of rock art and it exists in a geographic zone between LR and SLR rock art.  This style consists of beautifully executed elaborate mazes that would be very challenging to render.  They are nearly all in red on granite boulders.  They are so extensive and precisely painted, they demonstrate very advanced cognitive skills and artistic ability.  Nearly all of this has been destroyed by urban expansion, rain, and sprinkler systems.  Because of the mazes being so close to San Diego – it is very sadly often vandalized. [See our Book Volume 1 first Page of Introduction].  RBS is also thought to be shaman in origin.  The greatest living scientific expert is Greg Erickson of San Diego.  Greg has used DStretch technology and his life’s mission is to save as much of this artform photographically. We have Greg to thank for rescuing this from oblivion – these are complex shamanistic messages.

Convergence – A coming together – when two ideas, species or cultures merge.  The opposite is Divergence when two of these subjects split.  A classic example in archaeology is in evolution.  About 800,000 years ago Humans [Homo sapiens] split off from Neanderthal People – that is divergence.

Ethereal – ​A common adjective for the spiritual.  Shaman are ethereal.  Rock art can be ethereal.

Ka – ​this is a common abbreviation for “thousands of yearsago”.  This is done for clarity and brevity.  For example the Kumeyaay have been in San Diego for at least 10,000 years – this is generally written in the archaeologic literature as “10 Ka”.  If you just want to say “10,000” then you abbreviate that as “10 K”.  If you get into very ancient time, say millions of years ago, then “2 million years ago” then that is abbreviatyed to “2Mya”.

Animism – ​In animism, a very ancient belief system still practiced today, by traditional Native Americans and by other cultures, all-natural objects have what we call a “spirit” or soul.  Because of this everything is to be treated with respect and consideration – not only all people, but also “non-Human” beings.  This includes trees, lakes, ocean, mountains, rocks, caves, and all what we call animals, and many other things as well.  This does not apply [I am sure there are exceptions] to man-made objects like cars, computers, etc., but we usually do that anyway.  In Animism, humans are part of the world, not less than, but not greater than.  The world is more unified and we have unity and harmony.  Even if you have some other form of religion, it does not mean that you can still practice Animism in this way.  Many people who work to defend against Climate Change have this belief system which is really considered a more educated way of looking at our ecosystem.

Sentient Beings – Usually associated with Animism and Shamanism.  This generally refers to non-Human beings as having thoughts and intentions.  In the case of Shamanism – sentient beings usually refers to sacred animals that were once Human but have transformed into the spiritual world.  That being the case – they possess wisdom or knowledge from the spiritual world that can be accessed by the Shaman or persons by using Altered States of Consciousness [ASC] – just below.

Vision Quests [VQ] – Solitary experiences by Shaman or young adults under the supervision of a Shaman during ROP [above].  In Vision Quests, the purpose is to enter the Spiritual/Spirit World to gain wisdom or a purpose sought after by that person.  In order to shut out the routine or material world we all live in every day.  These experiences often use fasting or other means to sanctify and cleanse that person such as bathing or sweat lodge ceremonies.  That way the person has a laser beam focus on the Spiritual.  Also, in an attempt to shut out any presences of the material world and be at one in the Natural – God made world – the person will travel a distance to a sacred mountain, cave or to a body of water to be alone.  Once prepared in this way, a person will enter ASC or Trance to contact the Spiritual World.  If successful, the person will enter the Spirit World and his actual body may transform into his Spirit Helper.  This entire process is thought to be the origin of much of La Rumorosa.

Altered States of Consciousness [ASC] – also known as Trance – the desired goal of a Vision Quest is to enter ASC which transforms the person into their Spiritual counterpart.  This is really the unifying purpose of all of the world’s main religions – to become or attain  your Spiritual Self.  Because we all have the same nervous system as human beings, we act in similar ways to ASC.  When ASC are portrayed in rock art, they follow the same general pattern or progression.  Of course, there are individual variations just as people are different, but the broader pattern has been demonstrated across the world, not just with Native Americans or in the Americas.  The same is found in Western Europe, the Balkans, the Middle East, Central Asia [the Stans], Russia, Siberia, China, Tibet, Mongolia, South Africa, areas of the Pacific Islands

Integrative Mode of Consciousness – This is a more recent term in the professional literature on Trance and Shamanism popularized by Michael Winkelman.  It is in widespread use in our area as the researcher who popularized has also written the definitive text on it [Shamanism, 2nd edition, 2010] and continues to make substantial contributions to this field.  I guess I would categorize him as a Neuroarchaeologist or a Cognitive Archaeologist.  In his work he synthesizes medical science along with many other fields to demonstrate the evolution of and the legitimacy of ASC and why it is of value.  This book, I found, to be challenging, but worthwhile.  You might check out short biographies or explanations of what his major ideas are to just grasp the basics instead of trying to digest this text.  The text is at least advanced university reading.  Many of his articles are summaries of different ways of looking at shamanism.  The overarching principle is that shamanism is for real.

DStretch [DS] – A technology that amplifies rock art pigments to make the barely visible and even invisible pictographs [and in some cases petroglpyhs] visible.  It has revolutionized rock art research.  DS has been used on paintings well into the Paleolithic time period [55 Ka to 10 Ka].

Malcolm Rogers – The Father of San Diego Archaeology.  A trained geologist who lived in northern San Diego County who became obsessed with ancient cultures and who hiked 1000s of miles in southern CA, Baja, and the wider Southwest.  He was the first scientist on the scene for many Kumeyaay and La Rumorosa sites.  He traveled with his father who was a gifted photographer fortunately.  He often worked in solitude without payment or any kind of academic or professional support out of  a love for what he was discovering.  He is known for working out the very first sets of sequences on the stages of early man in San Diego County and beyond going back beyond 10 Ka.  He endured many hardships and difficulties arising out of his dedication to this mission in life.  The worst part for all of us is that nearly all of his notes and synthesis of his work was lost during World War II.  He began rewriting his findings that only existed in his head when he was runover by a drunk driver on PCH in 1960.  Due to the limited medical technology [XRays] at that time, his injuries were misdiagnosed and he died in a local hospital by internal hemorrhaging].  His true friend, Julian Hayden, was at his side during his hospitalization.  His accounts of Rogers and archaeology are also supreme. [i.e., Field Man]

Palimpsests – For our purposes – a rock art panel that has multiple layers.  There are many local examples – Indian Hill, Echo Rock, Blair Valley, Potrero, Canebrake.  In the case of Native Americans, this was drawn to draw from the power of the previous painter/painting to increase the likelihood of success for the second shaman.  This has nothing to do with Graffiti a terrible scourge on the sacredness of the rock art.  The other consideration is that their culture was anywhere from 10-30 K old and the paintings would erode and disappear so they may not have even known the previous artwork was there.

Spirit Helpers – Sentient Beings that the Shaman encountered that would take him to the Spiritual World or would fuse with the Shaman into one Spiritual Being.  At least some Shaman tell me that it is the Spirit Helper who does the action, they are secondary.

Therianthropes – Probably a Spirit Helper or a portrayal of the Shaman and the Spirit Helper, often a sacred animal, fusing together to form a part Human and part non-Human Being.  In LR these often are painted as part Human and part Bird or Lizard.  Sometimes more than 2 beings are painted into one.

Ochre [and other pigments used in rock art – is heat treated Hematite [iron oxide] that improves or increases the red color found in certain areas like an ore or clay.  While some sources only include red ochre, the pigment can have many brilliant red tones, and orange or yellow [yellow limonite is also used] and there are related mines in ABDSP.  Some prized Ochre came from as far away as the Grand Canyon.  Other colors such as black [charcoal or magnesium oxide – from patina or springs] and white [chalk, seashells, gypsum].  For students interested in this – the late and great Paul Campbell another friend of local Native Americans wrote the definitive text, Earth  Pigments and Paints.

Shamanistic – Done directly by a Shaman – such as much of the rock art found in solitary sites like caves.

Shamanic – ​Done under a Shaman’s direction, but not directly.  Rock art connected with ROP or Earthen Art [see Volume 2 section on this] is done under the guidance or supervision of a shaman.

Petroglyphs – Rock Art carved into a rock.

Pictographs – Rock Art painted onto a rock.

Earthen Art – this applies to rock art designs executed on the ground.  There are two types – one where on rocky areas, rock will be organized into a pattern called rock alignments.  The second, found mostly along the Colorado River where the soil is much of the time sandy without much in the way of hand size rocks.  Here due to a variety of climatic forces, the soil getburned by incredible heat of the desert into a darker color called patina which also occurs on the rocks, making them likely candidates for petroglyphs – a similar process.  For this second type of Earthen Art called either Intaglios or Ground Figures this darkened earth is raked away leaving bright sand or silt.  This creates a “negative” image where the design stands in contrast to the darken patina of the surround land.

Rock Alignments – see Earthen Art

Intaglios – ​See Earthen Art

Cupules – ​Small little cups or rounded little bowls carved into the rocks.  They have multiple uses from fertility to grinding of paint pigments to grinding of seeds.  These may be the oldest form of rock art.  Some cupules in India may be more than half a million years old.

Moreteros – ​These are much deeper and larger than Cupules.  In general they are associate with Acorn grinding [from Oak Trees] – a staple of the Kumeyaay and many other Native Americans.  Making Acorns edible is no easy matter and involves a number of steps.  The discovery of making Acorns is considered so remarkable, some archaeology texts refer to this as the Acorn Revolution.

Abstract Rock Art – Much of LR is of this form of Rock Art. – it looks like symbols or simple designs, but we cannot specifically associate with a given object like an animal or person.  This is an important distinction in terms of evolution of Modern Man’s brain but also in what is called [in Cognitive Archaeology] as symbolic thinking.  It has been thought in the past, that only Homo sapiens [human beings] could make rock art as it involves advanced thinking.  This is probably not true.  The earliest known carving too place on the Island of Trinil in Indonesia more than 500,000 [500 Ka] before Man [Homo sapiens] or Neanderthal people were in that area.  One of our earlier subspecies was there, Homo erectus, and he or she made this abstract carving on a seashell.  Also, it is clear that Neanderthals also were able to make at least simple abstract rock art. [Gibraltar is the most solid evidence from about 40 Ka].  This is also the type of Rock Art that is visualized [seen] in early trance stages.  This is very important regarding Abstract Rock Art – because it looks Abstract to modern observers like us does not mean it did to the artist or earlier people.  Most likely, these symbols like dots, circles, lines, grids, rectangles, triangles, etc. look like a design with no apparent meaning, does not mean that these earlier cultures saw them that way.  For example, the “?” symbol to us means a question.  A sideways eight for us means infinity and is not abstract at all.  Surely, the same was true for them.

Iconic or Representational Rock Art – This form of rock is present in large numbers of LR Rock Art.  Simple, this differs from Abstract Rock Art in that we see something readily identifiable.  A snake, lizard, Bighorn Sheep, Person, Bird or even a Sunburst.  Of course, there are some forms in a gray zone that may be portraying something we think we know what it is, but there is no way we can know for sure.  One of the most important debates in Rock Art is the matter of interpretation of what does it mean?  On one side you have a rigid absolute group of scientists that demand with mathematical certainty to know what is represented or then nothing can  be said about it.  To me, and most others, this is an unfortunate and illogical way to think about the past and Rock Art specifically.   It is true that we cannot know precisely what when a given shaman intended 100, 1,000, 10,000 years ago or what the Homo erectus carved into a seashell 500,000 years ago.  I couldn’t even tell what I was thinking yesterday.  Archaeology, Anthropology and all Social Science do not operate in the realm of mathematics and logic where absolute precision exists in a synthetic realm of thought.  And neither do Human beings.

Most of what we call science operates under the law of the scientific method. Here you ask a question called a “hypothesis” such as “Who made LR Art?”  Then you gather data like we are doing tonight – from Native Americans and other cultures that practice Shamanism.  You talk to them, find old documents from the last 400 years of people that talked with them.  You find artifacts known to be associated with Shamanism like Ceremonial Wands, Pigment, Ornaments, and other Symbolic artforms.  You gather the best evidence to support that Hypothesis AND you look at other possibilities.  From all this information, you reach the most probable or likely assessment from your evidence.  You don’t know with certainty, but this is the most reasonable conclusion until more data is known and interpreted.  That is how all Social [Human related] Science works.

​The people who say that Shamanism is not the origin of most of LR or many other traditions and cultures all have one major problem – they offer no other explanation that has significant evidence.  Please remember that should anyone tell you something different – where is your evidence?  All of a sudden,they will not have anything to say.  Be proud of your culture and please do what you can to save it.  The Kumeyaay and their ancestors have been here for more than 10 Ka.  Surprisingly, before people lived much in the Deserts, people lived on the coasts and used marine resources.  These early sites were discovered and excavated by Malcolm Rogers the Father of San Diego Archaeology.

Yuman Family of Native Americans – a large group of Native Americans who spoke a similar language group and had other cultural elements in common.  A list of the related groups from Wikipedia is :

​In modern times Yuman languages are spoken by the following tribes: Paipai (Akwa'ala), Cocopá (Cocopah, Cucupá), Kumeyaay (Kumiai, Diegueño), Havasupai, Kiliwa (Kiliwi), Maricopa, Mohave, Walapai (Hualapai, Hualpai), Yavapai, and Quechan (formerly Yuma) and Cochimi.

Tinaja – Is a Spanish word roughly equivalent to a water hole or water tank.  Multiple form is Tinajas.  People, in the desert had to be close to water.

Comments are closed.