Allen Dart at Los Morteros archaeological site, Marana, AZ 12-21-2022, photo by Rabia Altaf

Allen Dart: Executive Director, Old Pueblo Archaeology Center

Wednesday, April 3, 2024,

2:30pm – 3:30 pm,

ASA Koffler Great Room and Zoom


Ancient Indian pictographs (rock paintings) and petroglyphs (symbols carved or pecked on rocks) are claimed by some to be forms of writing for which meanings are known. But are such claims supported by archaeology or by Native Americans themselves?  In Part 1 of this two-part presentation, archaeologist Allen Dart discussed the U.S. Southwest as a “culture area,” Native American cultures that have inhabited the region for several thousand years, basic rock art styles, and the rock imagery of the pre-150 CE Archaic and Early Agricultural periods and of post-150 Mogollon and Ancestral Pueblo cultures.

Some Hohokam petroglyphs along the lower Gila River in Arizona, photo by Allen Dart.

In Part 2, he will show and discuss rock art of the post-150 Hohokam and Patayan cultures and then provide an overall interpretation of what can and maybe cannot be learned about ancient peoples from their rock art. He observes that many rock art symbols may be interpreted differently from popular, scientific, and modern Native American perspectives; considers whether precontact southwestern rock art is an early form of writing; and discusses how much meaning can accurately be derived from ancient people’s petroglyphs and pictographs.

Registered Professional Archaeologist Allen Dart – who encourages us to call him “Al” – has worked since 1975 in Arizona and New Mexico for federal and state governments, private companies, and nonprofit organizations. He is now the executive director of Tucson’s nonprofit Old Pueblo Archaeology Center, which he founded in 1993 to provide educational and scientific programs in archaeology, history, and cultures. Al has received the Arizona Archaeological Society’s Professional Archaeologist of the Year Award, the Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society’s Victor R. Stoner Award, the Arizona Governor’s Archaeology Advisory Commission Award in Public Archaeology, and other honors for his efforts to bring archaeology and history to the public.

Compiled and edited by Marilyn B. Skinner, Academy Village Volunteer

Image: Some Hohokam petroglyphs along the lower Gila River in Arizona, photo by Allen Dart.

You can connect to Zoom either by using the following URL: or by opening a browser to and typing in Meeting ID: 954 5651 1620 and Passcode: 85747 

Apr. 3: “Set in Stone but Not in Meaning: Southwestern Indian Rock Art, Part 2”