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Visions cast on stone : a stylistic analysis of the petroglyphs of Gabriola Island, B.C. 2003

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VISIONS CAST ON STONE: A STYLISTIC ANALYSIS OF T H E PETROGLYPHS OF GABRIOLA ISLAND, B . C . By A M A N D A SHEA A D A M S B A . University of California, Berkeley, 2001 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF T H E REQUIREMENTS FOR THE D E G R E E OF M A S T E R OF ARTS in T H E F A C U L T Y OF G R A D U A T E STUDIES (Department of Anthropology and Sociology) We accept this thesis as conforming to the required'standards. T H E UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH C O L U M B I A DECEMBER 2003 © AMANDA SHEA ADAMS Library Authorization In presenting this thesis in partial fulfillment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Co lumb ia , I agree that the Library shal l make it freely avai lable for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholar ly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for f inancial gain shal l not be al lowed without my written permiss ion. N a m e of Author (please print) Date / • • Title of Thes is : *1//£/CA/£ C/)£7~" &'7~OA*/££-~ S4— Degree: /HA~ Y e a r : sZcTb 3> \ A B S T R A C T This study explores the stylistic variability and underlying cohesion of the petroglyphs sites located on Gabriola Island, British Columbia, a southern Gulf Island in the Gulf of Georgia region of the Northwest Coast (North America). I view the petroglyphs as an inter-related body of ancient imagery and deliberately move away from (historical and widespread) attempts at large regional syntheses of 'rock art' and towards a study of smaller and more precise proportion. In this thesis, I propose that the majority of petroglyphs located on Gabriola Island were made in a short period of time, perhaps over the course of a single life (if a single, prolific specialist were responsible for most of the imagery) or, at most, over the course of a few generations (maybe a family of trained carvers). The bulk of all petroglyphs were, I argue, produced during the Marpole culture phase (2400 - 1000 BP) and their primary raison d'etre pertained to the acquisition of supernatural power. In other words, 'art' in the service of: "the vision, the ritual world, the ancestors, and wealth" (Suttles 1983:69). My conclusions are based largely on a comparative stylistic analysis between petroglyph motifs/design elements and those found in the Northwest Coast mobiliary 'art' repertoire as documented and discussed in Margaret Holm's 'Prehistoric Northwest Coast Art' (1990). Some interpretive possibilities for the use of petroglyph sites (both past and present) are also put forth in this thesis' conclusions. TABLE OF CONTENTS ABSTRACT T A B L E OF CONTENTS LIST OF TABLES LIST OF FIGURES ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS INTRODUCTION ROCK ART RESEARCH ON THE NORTHWEST COAST ' A R T ' AND ITS DEFINITION O N THE USE OF STYLE IN ARCHAEOLOGY ' THE STUDY AREA PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT ETHNOGRAPHIC CONTEXT ARCHAEOLOGICAL CONTEXT MATERIALS & METHODS SITE RECONNAISSANCE DATA COLLECTION COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS THE PETROGLYPHS OF GABRIOLA ISLAND OVERVIEW OF GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS A N D DISTRIBUTION 1. NORTH/NORTHWEST COAST SITES 2. SOUTH COAST SITES 3. INLAND SITES SUMMARY AN ANALYSIS OF STYLE PATTERNS OF SIMILARITY SUMMARY MARPOLE CONNECTIONS EVIDENTIAL SUPPORT SUMMARY THE PURPOSE OF PETROGLYPHS SUMMARY & CONCLUSION BIBLIOGRAPHY APPENDIX I: FIGURES (Al - A39) APPENDIX II: TABLES (A1-A2) L I S T O F T A B L E S Table 1: Motif Type Distribution for Gabriola Island Petroglyph Sites Table A2 (Appendix II): Distribution of Style Traits per Site Table A3 (Appendix II): List of Style Trait Illustrations LIST OF FIGURES Figure 1: Map of Gabriola Island and petroglyph site locations Figure 2: Photograph of sandstone formation Figure 3: Frequency and distribution of petroglyph design elements Figure 4: Illustrations of common petroglyph design elements Figure 5: Illustrations of common petroglyph eye-forms Figure A l (Appendix I): Recent petroglyph produced by Snuneymuw member 'Alfy Bob' Figure A2 (Appendix I): Illustration of one of the few petrogylph 'scenes' (DgRw 210) Figure A3 (Appendix I): Petroglyph panel (DgRw 198) Figure A4 (Appendix I): Unusual petroglyph of human profile chasing a deer (DhRw 13) Figure A5 (Appendix I): Two faces carved on a beach boulder (DhRw 5) Figure A6 (Appendix I): Petroglyph originally located on El Verano Drive Figure A7 (Appendix I): Frog-like petroglyph with ovoid head and eyes (DgRw 225) Figure A8 (Appendix I): The 'killer whale' carving (DgRw 2) " Figure A9 (Appendix I): 'Eagle' carving (DgRw 201) Figure A10 (Appendix I): Group of females (hermaphrodites?) on boulder (DgRw 201) Figure A l la (Appendix I): Petroglyph exhibiting pronounced genitalia (DgRw 201) Figure A l lb (Appendix I): Illustration (after Wilson 1987) Figure A12 (Appendix I): The Brickyard Hill site (DgRw 210) Figure A13 (Appendix I): Illustration of female/hermaphrodite (DgRw 198) Figure A14 (Appendix I): The 'sea-wolf panel located at the Boulton site (DgRw 193) Figure A15 (Appendix I): Heart-shaped anthropomorphic figure (DgRw 193) Figure A16 (Appendix I): 'Thunderbird' petroglyph (DgRw 193) Figure A17 (Appendix I): Vulva forms (DgRw 193) Figure A18 (Appendix I): The very curvy 'kingfisher' petroglyph (DgRw 192) Figure A19 (Appendix I): Bird-like carving (DgRw 194) Figure A20 (Appendix I): Unregistered anthropomorphic figure Figure A21 (Appendix I): Unregistered abstract carving Figure A22 (Appendix I): Solitary anthropomorphic figure (DgRw 224) Figure A23 (Appendix I): Rubbing of an anthropomorphic figure 63 Figure A24 (Appendix I): Unregistered zoomorphic petroglyph 64 Figure A25 (Appendix I): Petroglyph panel located at Nanaimo's 'Petroglyph Park' 64 Figure A26 (Appendix I): Sproat Lake petroglyph site (DhSf 1) 64 Figure A27 (Appendix I): Zoomorphic figure with both lateral-sectioning and bottle-nose feature 65 Figure A28 (Appendix I): Zoomorphic petroglyph with a peculiar 'leash' appendage (DgRw 192) 65 Figure A29 (Appendix I): Musqueam Northeast zoomorphic antler spoon 65 Figure A30 (Appendix 1): Sculpted spoon dating to 3,600 +/- 160 C14 years ago 65 Figure A31 (Appendix I): Marpole antler carving with 'sea-wolf 66 Figure A32 (Appendix I): Zoomorphic pendant recovered from False Narrows Component One 66 Figure A33 (Appendix I): Rubbing of 'sea-wolf motif 66 Figure A34a (Appendix I): Anthropomorphic pendant recovered from False Narrows Component One 66 Figure A34b (Appendix I): A second photograph of the pendant with higher contrast 67 Figure A35 (Appendix I): Series of anthropomorphic faces with heart-shaped head and joined brows 67 vn Figure A36a (Appendix I): Another example of the linear, squared-off style Figure A36b (Appendix I): Columbia River antler human figurines Figure A37 (Appendix I): The Jack (Duke) Point petroglyph ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS My thanks go first and foremost to the Snuneymuxw Nation for generously granting me permission to work with the extraordinary and sacred petroglyphs of Gabriola Island. I am very grateful to several Snuneymuxw Elders, in particular Bi l l Seward, who were willing to speak with me about the petroglyphs: their stories, power, and vitality. Dr. Loraine Littlefield must be acknowledged as well for facilitating much of my field research. Her enthusiasm for my work in general and this research project in particular was invaluable; surely, this Master's thesis would have not been a success without her. I am greatly indebted to my advisor, Professor R.G. Matson for introducing me to Gabriola Island on a map outside his office door. R.G. Matson not only first suggested this plan of research to me but he never "sat down" when logistical snags arose, provided me with tremendous support this past year, and granted me that most motivating element for inspiration and hard work: high expectations. R.G. Matson also demonstrated a personal commitment to this project and his careful editing of thesis drafts has greatly improved this thesis. His collaboration is gratefully acknowledged. I am also deeply appreciative of Professor Michael Blake's infectious enthusiasm. Michael Blake had the ability to generate and spark a hundred new ideas in my head within a single, thirty-minute meeting and he offered, over the course of two years, many insightful comments and suggestions for improvement with regard to this thesis and concomitant research plans. Certainly, my summer fieldwork would have been far less pleasant had it not been for Emeritus Professor Michael Kew and his wife Barbara, both of who reside on Gabriola Island. With Mike, I enjoyed not only a stimulating exchange of ideas and quite a bit of learning and listening on my own behalf, but also several salmon dinners, conversation, coffee and orange cookies in the company of my brother Kevin, and a delightful stay in his log cabin guest house. I am obliged to both Michael and Barbara for their wonderful hospitality and kindness. There are many Gabriola residents to whom I am also indebted as well as to friends, both old and new. Jenny and Nick Doe were true experts with regard to all of Gabriola Island's history and mystery; some of my favorite fieldwork moments were spent in their company. Paula Adam assisted me in many ways and happily she found more than just petroglyphs: she found •Paul. I warmly thank Mary Bentley's mother for her interest in my research, her sharing of information and old photographs, her oatmeal cookies and an unforgettable performance wherein she fed sausage pieces, from her patio, to a heron in mid-flight. My brother Kevin hiked in the mud and rain with me while my parents made sure to call on my cell phone - a lot - to make sure I was still "loving it" (and I was). I thank Professors Alexia Bloch and Julie Cruikshank for their inspiring ways and lastly, I thank my husband Dan Jost who has read every word of this thesis many times over and has kept me fed, happy, and intellectually alert ever since our first day in Vancouver, Canada. INTRODUCTION On one sunny July afternoon I sat beside a Snuneymuxw elder, in her early 90s, at an Elder's Picnic on Newcastle Island. I told her a bit about my research over a lunch of ham sandwiches and Kool- Aid and I asked her if she knew anything about the petroglyphs located on Gabriola Island. Her eyes, if I may say so, sparkled brightly and she sat up a bit straighter, keen on sharing her knowledge of such , things. Aside from the Jack Point petroglyph located near the modern city of Nanaimo, and its well- known oral history (as recorded in Barnett's field notes 1935-1936) however, she knew very little about why the carvings were made or by whom they were carved. As she explained to me, "I always wished I had paid more attention to things then. I wish I had asked my grandmother what the pictures in rock were for." Knowledge of the purpose(s) that the petroglyphs may have served at both the moment of their creation and/or in pre-contact times has been largely lost. The power, sacredness, and cultural weight of the carvings, however, have not. In recent years, use of the petroglyphs of Gabriola Island has become a source of friction and, at times, contentious debate between the Snuneymuxw First Nation and local, non-native residents. Although every effort has been made, on behalf of both parties, to maintain cordial dialogue and agreement, relations have become a bit soured in some factions. The Snuneymuxw, rightfully angered and concerned that the sacred images produced by their ancestors were being (and still sometimes are) used for commercial gain (i.e., pasted on bags of coffee beans, sold as tourist postcards, made into jewelry, painted on boat hulls and replicated in pieces of artwork later sold for profit), did two things: 1) they trademarked ten of the images with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office; and 2) asked Gabriola residents to cease using the petroglyph images for any commercial purposes (making it illegal and punishable by law for them to do so). With regard to the Gabriola Museum and its collection of outdoor petroglyph casts, an agreement was forged with the Snuneymuxw Nation, whereby individual visitors are allowed to make rubbings for personal use, and not for sale or profit. Such things are, of course, difficult to monitor and enforce. The meaning of a petroglyph does not vanish or become lost over time, it only changes. As the "graffiti" at Petroglyph Park in Nanaimo shows, this so-called 'vandalism' (a term commonly used in provincial site reports to describe the 'defacing' on some petroglyph panels) is often nothing of the sort. Rather, Snuneymuxw individuals, in recent decades, have added their names and pictures to those created by their ancestors (Figure Al) . As this demonstrates, the practice of petroglyph making has not reached its conclusion; on the contrary, it is a living practice. When certain knowledge of the original intention(s) behind a petroglyph is no longer within reach, the carvings do not simply become empty fossils or meaningless marks on stone; rather, they remain fiercely sacred and powerful symbols of the past and their relevance persists. They are infused with new meanings, perhaps even enhanced significance, and the respect accorded to them by the Snuneymuxw Nation is great. The historical contingency of knowledge and interpretation is currently part of foundational anthropological understanding (Foucault 1972). How this contingency plays out with regard to the petroglyphs and pictographs found along the Northwest Coast is a topic worthy of further sociocultural research. The fact that Snuneymuxw petroglyphs still 'breathe' and remain infused with spiritual significance is evidenced by Snuneymuxw Elder Ellen White's reaction to a group of young children who, on a school fieldtrip, were encouraged to make rubbings of the petroglyphs. Viewing the carvings as full of potential harm to those perceived as vulnerable and/or inexperienced, White shuddered and exclaimed, "Imagine those delicate little hands!" (Tanner 2000) touching those old pictures. Certainly, it is the case that viewing the petroglyphs as only the artifacts of past societies ignores the very living roles they play in present ones. This contemporary social context provides ah important framework within which my archaeological research is situated; inquiries into the location, significance, antiquity, and so on of the petroglyph sites were never divorced from the above issues. Thus it was one of the rare situations where people outside of both the indigenous community and the archaeological community possessed a charged and piqued interest in the fate and interpretation of the carvings. This, of course, influenced my fieldwork. My aim in this thesis is to comment upon and provide an in-depth analysis of the impressive and intensely localized stylistic diversity as expressed in the petroglyphs of Gabriola Island. Specifically, my goals are three-fold: 1) to better situate the Gabriola petroglyph repertoire within a chronological framework relevant to Northwest Coast artistic traditions and their change over time; 2) to determine - to the extent possible - if the petroglyphs were produced contemporaneously and if so, what the social implications of such action might be and 3) to put forth some tentative interpretations regarding the petroglyph's meanings and functions. This last point is dependant upon the available ethnographic literature as well as on conversations and interviews with Snuneymuxw Elders. Gabriola Island is located within the Gulf of Georgia region, just one kilometer off the southeastern coast of Vancouver Island in British Columbia. This small island is home to an extraordinarily rich collection of petroglyphs. Inscribed upon the landscape are large engraved panels depicting "mythical" creatures including the so-called "sea-wolves", a broad array of abstract forms, curvilinear form-lines, anthropomorphic beings often rendered with detailed 'skeletal' features, and representational motifs such as fish. To date, twelve petroglyph sites on the island have been formally registered with the province; several more sites, located on private property, currently remain unregistered. The number of images at each site varies dramatically: some sites contain a single carving, while other sites display over 70 separate images in tight proximity (i.e., DgRw 192). And while Gabriola possesses many petroglyph sites, nearby islands such as Valdes Island (McLay 1999) and the northern end of Galiano Island have few or none. And like Gabriola Island, both nearby areas, especially the northern end of Galiano Island, are heavily occupied today. Surely, any extant petroglyph sites would have discovered by now. Such disparity is surely not the product of chance. Hence, Gabriola Island is underscored as being an exceptionally rich locus of archaeological interest. My study of this pre-contact visual culture builds upon on Margaret A. Holm's unpublished Master's thesis, "Prehistoric Northwest Coast Art: A Stylistic Analysis of the Archaeological Record" (1990). In what Ames and Maschner (1999:220) call "the most thorough study of the archaeology of Northwest Coast art to date", Holm examined stylistic attributes related to representational imagery found on portable artifacts with a core sample of over 200 objects from 58 sites. Her conclusions suggest that, by the end of the Locarno Beach phase or the beginning of the Marpole phase, the "essential character of the Northwest Coast art style had developed" (1990: ii). Furthermore, she observes that "although [her] study had not focused on rock art, a casual examination of petroglyphs from the Gulf of Georgia area reveals parallels with the motifs, design elements, and compositional principles of Marpole phase art. Most examples of rock art... fit comfortably within the stylistic parameters of Marpole phase art" (1990:314). This statement provides an important point of departure for my investigation into the Gabriola Island petroglyphs: did the petroglyphs emerge out of the Marpole phase culture type and the general artistic florescence evident 2400 - 1000 years ago (Matson and Coupland 1995:203; Thorn 1995:45)? And if so, what is it about an image that makes it distinctly Marpole? 3 Holm's data, which derive predominantly from well-dated contexts within the Gulf of Georgia region, provide a comparative sample of design elements and motifs for this analysis. Furthermore, her suggestions that certain design elements and representational forms were made for or by specific individuals (i.e., those who were presumably elite or high-ranking) constitute a key hypothesis to be examined within the interpretive dimensions of this stylistic analysis. R O C K A R T R E S E A R C H O N T H E N O R T H W E S T C O A S T Research on the petroglyphs and pictographs of the Northwest Coast has been left largely undone. Very few, if any, professional field-based investigations have been conducted on Northwest Coast rock art since the late 1970s (Hill 1974; Lundy 1974; but see Bell 1982) and no systematic survey of the Gabriola Island petroglyphs has ever been conducted by a member of the anthropological community. This dearth of research is due in part to lack of secure context, as petroglyphs and pictographs can rarely be associated with any certainty or precision to depositional layers of nearby or local sites (but see McMurdo 1975, for an important exception). Furthermore, as no means currently exist for the absolute dating of petroglyphs, all attempts to establish chronological sequences have been based on loose groupings of style and distribution, the presence or absence of historic period artifacts (sailing ships, guns, etc.), and ethnographic information once obtained from Native peoples (Carlson 1993:7). Faced with these limitations, many archaeologists have abandoned the task all together, leaving much unexplored territory to enthusiastic amateurs (Bentley 1998; Inglis 1997; Meade 1971; Barrow 1942; Leechman 1952; Newcombe 1907).1 Doris Lundy authored the unpublished 'Rock Art of the Northwest Coast' as her Master's thesis at Simon Fraser University, Department of Archaeology in 1974. Her primary goal was to "collect and organize the existing raw data and to determine their basic characteristics" (Lundy 1974:iii). She notes that "although over six hundred archaeological sites of this type [petroglyphs and pictographs] have been recorded along the coast, they have never been studied beyond the descriptive level" (ibid.). And so, through an analysis of stylistic change over time, Lundy attempted to establish a plausible and loose chronological sequence for regional distribution of rock art design characteristics. In the process, she 1 This non-professional interest in local petroglyphs has, however, produced some valuable compilations of petroglyph and pictograph locations, in particular the work of Mary and Ted Bentley (Gabriola: Petroglyph Island, 1998), an essential resource for this thesis. established a formal set of style categories to be used by "future researchers" and which would ideally be "refined and redefined" (Lundy 1983:89-97). Unlike her predecessors, Lundy resisted basic compilation and formulated her questions to begin where previous reports had ended. Today, however, her inventory of petroglyph and pictograph sites on the Northwest Coast is much outdated. Her total count of petroglyphs found on Gabriola Island in the early 1970s amounted to no more than three; today the number of individual carvings is over one hundred.2 Lundy also sought to determine the purpose of the carved imagery in pre-contact times. Pushing past any singularity of meaning (e.g., all rock art sites were made by shamans, or they were all made to assist in hunting ritual), Lundy presented an array of interpretive possibilities. Through extensive consultation of the ethnographic record, she took some of the first steps to associate meaning with place - the function of a site is considered as opposed to the function of all sites. She suggests that "... it appears that the use of rock art, in particular petroglyphs, to display crest signs and thus indicate inherited rights or property claims is much more prevalent on the northern coast. Similarly, the acquisition of individual power through the spirit quest may be encountered only among the Coast Salish" (Lundy 1974:317). And she concludes that "other elements, common to Northwest Coast culture, such as warfare, natural catastrophe and fishing activities are also commonly found as possible motives for rock art along the length of the coast. In all, the rock art of the Northwest Coast reflects a fairly complete range of facets of the culture that created it" (ibid.). In 1949, novelist and author Edward Meade began recording coastal petroglyph sites from Alaska to as far south as Puget Sound, the results of which appeared in 1971 (Meade 1971). And starting in 1960, the same territory was thoroughly covered by Beth and Ray Hill, whose lavishly illustrated book did much to attract public interest in British Columbia's rock art (Hill and Hill 1974). Much of their fieldwork supplemented Lundy's site descriptions and the Hills' book offered, in many ways, a visual companion to Lundy's textual analysis. More recent is the unpublished PhD dissertation by Joy Florence Bell titled, "Rock Art of the Coast Salish: An Analysis of Style, Form, and Function." (Bell 1982). Written under the guidance of Bill Holm within the Art History Department at the University of Washington, this work does not, unfortunately, shed new light on issues pertaining to the Gabriola Island 2 Also significant is the fact that Lundy did not always view the carvings in person and sometimes relied upon second-hand illustrations (copies of copies) as was the case with Gabriola Island and site DgRw 2. petroglyph repertoire. As one would expect, Bell's dissertation is bound in art theory, not archaeological theory. Much of her ethnographic data .concerning the purpose of petroglyph making is mere recitation of Lundy's material and thus, it has little bearing (independent of Lundy's watershed work) on this analysis. Germane to this study, Roy L. Carlson (1993) produced a brief article in which the content and chronology of petroglyphs and pictographs from the Northwest Coast region are considered. More will be said of his conclusions in later chapters. It is worth noting here, however, that Carlson hypothesizes that many of the carvings were likely produced sometime between 2500 - 1000 BP and that their creation was related to "behavioral systems involving the guardian spirit quest, shamanism and social rank" (Carlson 1993:7). In all of the above cases, the authors placed emphasis on broad regional trends in rock art distribution, variation, and by extension, their generalization. The 'unit of analysis' has been the entire coastline stretching from southeastern Alaska to northern California. Exhaustive - and invaluable - inventories of Northwest Coast petroglyphs and pictographs have been created; while these compilations are extremely useful (and, of course, a necessary first step), they tend to sacrifice localized specificity in exchange for regional synthesis and generalization. Building upon the work of my predecessors, I aim to incorporate this existing body of knowledge into a study of much smaller proportion. As Gabriola Island is 'naturally' framed as a place of study by water on all sides - thus creating easy, though not culturally sanctioned, boundaries - this thesis shall attempt to contextualize how the petroglyphs may be understood as localized, historical phenomena.3 Furthermore, unlike earlier works which examined the petroglyphs and pictographs "as individual and isolated" (Lundy 1974:72), my study takes a very different approach - one which stresses the inter-relatedness and connectivity of the Gabriola Island petroglyph repertoire. ART AND ITS DEFINITION To paraphrase Marcel Duchamp, art is what is perceived as art. This view, espoused by the twentieth century artist, is probably the least contentious, and most useful, definition of art available (Duchamp 1957; Thomkins 1996). Certainly, the practice of art cannot be cursorily mentioned or defined within archaeological discourse as simply a 'moment' "when the technical treatment has attained a certain 3 Use of the term boundaries here refers exclusively to space from an archaeological perspective. In ethnographic times, water was seen not as a' boundary' but as a veritable highway, an essential means of transportation for most travel was by canoe (Suttles 1990:462). 6 standard of excellence, when the control of the processes involved is such that certain typical forms are produced, we call the process art..." (Boas 1927:10, as cited in Holm 1990:1). Such a view is out-dated and inadequate especially with regard to the intensely subjective - and historically contingent - judgement involved in 'determining' when something has become representative of 'excellence'. In some cases, such concerns have bred skepticism for some of the phrase "rock art" and its common usage (Conkey 1996: 311; Preziosi 1982:321). While this discussion has no intention of questioning or undermining the visual appeal, the artfulness, and elegance of the petroglyphs found on Gabriola Island (and elsewhere) it does aim to - contextualize the fact that 'art' is in the eye of the beholder; beyond that, it becomes ineffable and cannot (and should not) be assumed as concretely defined. Hence, this thesis avoids use of the term art in favor of the less problematic and more neutral 'petroglyph'. ON THE USE OF STYLE As Davis observes, "[SJtyle is not 'in' the material, the matter of artifacts or works of art. Style must be discovered and written up by someone" (1990:19). The manner in which 'style' is approached and discussed has changed and shifted much over the years. In contrast to the once agreed-upon use of style by culture-historians prior to the 1960s - a view of style in service of chronology and typology making - the past decades have witnessed a fracturing of perspective and opinion on the matter (Conkey and Hastorf 1990). As Sackett refers to it, the term 'style' has historically (and problematically) been used by researchers as an "omnibus word... employ [ed] to transport several different meanings to several different destinations over the landscape of their research" (Sackett 1977:369). Style is now likely considered to be problematic and "elusive", "intractable", "multifaceted", and a veritable "black box" (Conkey 1990:7). Earle (1990:73) argues that, "|S]tyle is quite simply patterned variation in appearance" and contains both a passive meaning and an active one. Passive, (also commonly referred to as 'isochrestic') in the sense that choice between alternate motifs, design elements, etc. is determined by custom and habit (Sackett 1977) and active, (or 'symbolic') with regard to the processes in which style functions as a form of communication by which individuals and social groups define themselves (Hodder 1982). No unified theory of style exists (Weissner 1990), yet the pervasive notion of style (as form and elements similar in appearance and production, a distinctive 'look' common to a group of objects) remains a vital and useful concept, one put to work in almost all archaeological inquiry. A s Conkey and Hastorf write, "[s]tyle has always been seen as formal variation but there is debate as to what that formal variation refers to or derives from" (1990:4). Hence, it follows that the criteria for what style is about is far from standardized. A good distinction (in terms of analysis, but not practice) may be drawn, however, between what stylistic variation 'looks like' and how it is described on materialist terms, verses what stylistic variation 'does' (and why, and how) in a given community and beyond. As Davis asserts, "[Sltatements about morphology, similarity and synonymy are preliminary to stylistic analysis. Statements about representation, "meaning", or value may be but are not necessarily involved in stylistic descriptions" (1990:19 italics in original). One must precede the other. This thesis aims to speak to both issues: stylistic description and classification as well as the significance of style in prehistoric social contexts. While one is always at risk of identifying certain stylistic traits at the expense of others, or missing others all together, this thesis relies on the watershed work of Bil l Holm and his organization of northern Northwest Coast art design elements (Holm 1965). Holm's work provides both the vocabulary and conceptual framework for this analysis. Yet not all petroglyph motifs and attributes can be 'fit' in to Holm's stylistic lexicon: new categories of stylistic attributes are developed and added when needed.4 THE STUDY AREA PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT Gabriola Island is situated in the Gulf of Georgia, a distinct natural region bounded on the west by the mountain ranges of Vancouver Island, on the east by the Coast Mountains and the Fraser River canyon, on the North by Seymour Passage, and on the south by Puget Sound (Mitchell 1971). The region as a whole is characterized by a temperate climate and varied food sources, including fishes, shellfish, waterfowl, land and sea mammals, roots and berries. O f particular importance to the earlier inhabitants were the many streams and rivers flowing into Georgia Strait, which attracted the large populations of anadromous fish upon which traditional subsistence was based (Curtin 2002:7). Gabriola Island is part of the Nanaimo lowlands subdivision of the coastal trough and is underlain by sandstone and shales of Upper Crustaceous age (Burley 1989:10). The island, which is 15 km long 4 Bill Holm and Margaret Holm are separate and unrelated authors. 8 and 3.5 to 6 km in width, lacks primary streams; fresh water sources are limited to a few small, marshy lakes and occasional springs. Its terrain is hilly rather than mountainous, with a maximum elevation of 160 m above sea level (Curtin 2002:5). Prominent bays include those of Descanso, Pilot, and Clark along the northwest shoreline. Degnen and Silva Bay shape the island's eastern end (Figure 1, next page). 9 o One of the more dramatic physical features on the island is the large quantity of honey-combed, or web-like, sandstone formations (Figure 2). Sandstone formations are found along the water's edge and also constitute expansive bedrock fields situated further inland. These expanses of smooth stone, often covered by shallow moss carpets, are home to many petroglyphs (i.e., DgRw 193 and DgRw 192). ETHNOGRAPHIC CONTEXT Gabriola Island falls within the traditional territory of the Snuneymuxw First Nation, a Halq'emeylem speaking division of the Coast Salish ethnolinguistic group (Drucker 1955). Boas described this traditional territory as embracing Nanaimo Harbour as far north as Five Finger Island, as far south as Dodds Narrows, and encompassing the Nanaimo River basin as well as Gabriola Island (Boas 1889:321). Within this area, three seasonal sites were maintained: Departure Bay, Nanaimo River, and Gabriola Island (Barnett 1938:140). The Central Coast Salish Halq'emeylem maintained a broad sphere of cultural interaction from southeastern Vancouver Island to the Lower Fraser River watershed and are conventionally perceived as riverine-oriented cultures who settled in the region's major watersheds to exploit anadromous Pacific salmon (Mitchell 1971; as cited in McLay 1999:11). It was salmon fishing that contributed the greatest amount of food, especially as stored surplus during winter, and its importance in the subsistence economy Figure 2: Honey-combed sandstone formation on Gabriola Island. Photo courtesy of W. Udal (2002) 11 of the mid-nineteenth century cannot be overstated. Salmon were commonly taken by means of weirs, nets, gaffs, and harpoons (Barnett 1938:121). Other commonly hunted fish species included halibut, sturgeon, herring, lingcod, flounder and some freshwater fishes such as whitefish, eulachon, and suckers. Women gathered a wide array of edible sprouts, stems, bulbs and roots, berries and fruits or nuts as well as sea urchins, crabs, barnacles, and a variety of sea mollusks. The most productive butter-clam and horse-clam beds were owned by kin groups (Suttles 1990:457), as was the case at the large False Narrows site on Gabriola Island (Burley 1989; Rozen 1985:59). During the coldest months of the year, many nights were devoted to winter ceremonies and "spirit dancing" (Suttles 1990:467; Jenness 1955:41-47). Participation in these winter dances was conditioned by the acquisition of a guardian spirit or supernatural "helper" (Barnett 1938:136-6). The seeking of such power constituted a key event - demanding both courage and familial training - in the lives of young.men and women. Having reached puberty, young men were made to endure rigorous exercises in preparation for and during their spirit quest. Barnett describes the process wherein a "boy stayed in lonely places, fasted and took emetics, and scrubbed himself with boughs. An essential part of his quest involved swimming and diving, often to the point of exhaustion or unconsciousness, in which he received a vision, a song, a spirit cry, and a promise of help..." (Barnett 1938:135). Once a spirit helper had been encountered and obtained - guardians that were almost exclusively "birds, animals, and fabulous spirits or monsters" (Barnett 1938:136) - newly acquired powers were kept private and alluded to only within the context of an individual's song, which he or she performed during the spirit dance. The possession of a spirit power was believed to bring wealth, protection, and success to its owner. Jenness describes the process as such: Each creature has its special power that it can bestow...It may help a man in hunting; it may make a woman industrious; but to a considerable extent it lies dormant except in winter, when man's vitality ebbs with the cold weather... Then the power he has received from his "guardian" bird or animal wells up inside him, causing him to sing and dance and thereby regain his health and vigor (Jenness 1955:37). The vision quest - its seclusion, secrecy, and search for tangible power - may have some relation to petroglyphs. Current knowledge of the raison d'etre for the petroglyphs may well be so scarce due to the once hushed and confidential nature of their existence. It is probable that the location and original meaning of petroglyph sites was neither common nor everyday knowledge amongst the general public. As Lundy notes,"... any shamanistic rock art sites, like those concerned with whaling ritual, or secret societies, would be secretive in nature as well as location; their meaning hidden from the uninitiated" (Lundy 1974:314). The same was probably true for the Coast Salish spirit quest. Snuneymuxw Elder, Bill Seward, asserts that many petroglyphs were made by shamans, hunters and vision seekers (personal communication 2002) while Elder Ellen White maintains that the carvings were places where people both sought and gained power. She explained that "men would be stripped - even in cold weather and laid on top of each petroglyph - learning the spirit world, connecting to the area." She also noted that the pitted 'dots' surrounding several of the carvings were "points of access", places where one could dip their fingers into pools of "energy" and reservoirs of strength (Archaeology Forum group tour 2002). Perhaps a petroglyph image was carved to represent some newly acquired spirit power. The majority of the Gabriola Island petroglpyhs are found in remote and isolated areas, places where individuals might have ventured to seek their vision. And furthermore, in his discussion of the Central Coast Salish, Suttles notes that house posts were often decorated with humans, animals, and birds; transformed into culturally potent objects representative of spiritual and material wealth. Suttles suggests that while the carvings of humans may have represented ancestors, it was the nonhuman entities that portrayed and stood for vision powers (Suttles 1990:470). Social stratification has great antiquity in many parts of the Northwest Coast and mid-nineteenth century Coast Salish society was divided into three classes: upper (good people), lower (worthless) and slave (Suttles 1987:11). Suttles describes these divisions as being akin to an inverted pear (as opposed to a pyramid): at the top rested a small number of adult males with great prestige and wealth; below, a wide band of 'good people' characterized by strong lineages linked to traditional village or resource sites and possession of wealth in the form of spirit powers and ritual knowledge; a smaller group of 'worthless people' follows, defined as such by being "refugees and tramps"; and lastly, at the tip of the inverted pear, a handful of war captives turned slaves (Suttles .1987:12). The distinction between upper and lower classes was sharp and opportunities for upward mobility were few. Within the upper class, however, no ranked social order prohibited an individual's aspirations to obtain more wealth, power, or prestige; it was generally assumed that he or she would make every effort to do so. 13 The earliest records documenting European encounters with indigenous peoples on or near Gabriola Island are found in the Spanish records of Cayento Valdes and Alcala Galiano, which date the event to sometime around the year 1792. Disease, in particular smallpox, had likely already begun to wipe out a tragically large portion of the Native population. The initial outbreak is thought to have occurred during the 1770s. It seems to have affected the entire coastal region and it was apparently never witnessed by Euro-Americans (Boyd 1990:137; Harris 1997). An early census by the Hudson's Bay Company indicates that the population declined to approximately 1000 people by 1839 and in 1876 the Indian Reserve Commission enumerated the Snuneymuxw population at 223. Today, however, the Snuneymuxw Nation numbers approximately 1300 members with 65% of the community living off reserve in the surrounding cities of Nanaimo, Victoria, Vancouver, and Seattle (www.snuneymuxw.ca/index.html). ARCHAEOLOGICAL CONTEXT The Gulf of Georgia region has witnessed a broad span of human history and occupation, encompassing at least 9,000 years. Archaeological investigations have produced a chronological framework of five historical sequences, referred to commonly as "cultures" (Mitchell 1971), each defined by variations in technologies, artifact type, inferred social organization, and subsistence patterns. The following provides a brief overview. Old Corddleran Culture (9000 - 4500 BP) The earliest evidence of human occupation within the Gulf of Georgia region is found at the Glenrose Cannery site on the Fraser River (Matson 1976). Diagnostic material culture consists of flake tools, leaf-shaped bifaces and pebble tools with ground stone being rare except for the presence of some abraders used in the manufacture of bone and antler tools. The archaeological evidence, which is sparse, shows little to no large-scale food storage technology, long-term occupation, or seasonal population aggregates, all of which are attributes indicative of the ethnographic Northwest Coast pattern. Curtin, however, notes that "tantalizing" evidence for the beginning of status differentiation has been recovered on Pender Island (Weeks 1985:98, as cited in Curtin 2002:10) where a midden burial with ochre associations and evidence of labret wear has been radiometrically dated to 5150 +/- 220 BP (Carlson and, Hobler 1993:38, as cited in Curtin 2002:10). 14 Charles Culture (4500 - 3300 BP) The Charles culture type is commonly subdivided into three regional variants: the St. Mungo phase in the Fraser delta; the Mayne phase on the Gulf Islands; and the Eayem phase in the Fraser Canyon (Curtin 2002:10). Holm (1990) notes that it is within this period that the first evidence of artistic activity on the Northwest Coast emerges. Although her sample of artifacts is very small (n=7), incised slate and antler objects are found as well as stone effigies and simple bone pendants. Other distinguishing characteristics with regard to material culture are: a substantial decrease in the number of pebble tools, the appearance of stemmed projectile points and continuation of leaf-shaped varieties, as well as a significant increase in ground stone technology (Matson and Coupland 1995:100). An increasing emphasis on the exploitation of marine resources becomes evident during this phase, especially in the procurement of salmon and shellfish. And in terms of social organization, there are mixed views on whether or not ascribed status was absent or present at this time. Although Charles period burials have been described as "impoverished and egalitarian" in comparison with later Marpole burials (Burley and Knusel 1989; Matson and Coupland 1995), Curtin (2002:11) argues that such impressions ought to be reevaluated as more detailed information on the burials becomes available. Locarno Beach Phase (3300 - 2400 BP) The Locarno Beach phase is marked by a hitherto unseen diversity in artifact types. Distinguishing features include: composite toggling harpoons, unilaterally barbed bone points, large faceted ground slate points, thick ground slate knives, ground stone and coal labrets, small and well made ground stone celts, chipped stem points, obsidian microblades, quartz crystal microliths, and a distinctive group of finely-made ground stone or bone objects of uncertain function, known as the Gulf Island Complex artifacts (Mitchell. 1990: 341; Matson and Coupland 1995:156; Borden 1983:143). Holm (1990:74) notes a "high quality workmanship in ground stone items including labrets, ear spools, slate points and adze blades" as well as the introduction of some carving in three dimensions in her sample (still quite small at n = 27). Holm also argues that 'classic' Northwest Coast style concepts appear, unequivocally, in the prehistoric record by 2500 BP. Also of importance, is the material gathered from wet sites (namely DhRt 4, Musqueam NE): twine, cordage, netting basketry, woven hats, and bentwood fishhooks (Archer and Bernick 1985, as cited in Curtin 2002:11). The trend towards salmon intensification continues with evidence suggesting that the fish were being regularly processed and stored as a source of preserved food surplus (Matson and Coupland 1995: 15 173). Such long-term concentration of resources may have resulted in the development of a more socially stratified community. Marpole Phase (2400 - WOO BP) The Marpole phase - divided into three subphases: Old Musqueam, Beach Grove, and Garrison - is commonly, regarded as a relatively straightforward in situ and continuous development stemming from the earlier Locarno Beach phase (Matson and Coupland 1995:212-13). Marpole culture characteristics are confined to the Strait of Georgia region and sites are concentrated in areas with easy access to the Fraser River salmon runs (Mitchell 1971). Borden argues that "the Marpole Phase... represents the apogee of the Climax Period and thus of all local art history" and he notes the "impressive artistic activity which lends such glamour to the remarkable Marpole phase" (Borden 1983:143 -155). Although it may be argued today that such claims are inflated (or at least inaccurate due to the possibility of woodworking becoming the preferred medium during the Late period), the Marpole period does, nevertheless, exhibit a dramatic increase in decorated objects of bone, stone, and antler. Historically, this period has been viewed as representing a florescence of aesthetic behavior with regard to material culture. For example, in Holm's study, her sample of Marpole period objects jumps to n = 102 and she points to the unprecedented and widespread occurrence of engraved T-shapes, wedges, crescents, and formlines by 1500 - 2000 BP (Holm 1990:188). Other distinguishing features of the Marpole phase include thin, finely made ground slate knives and points, nephrite celts, microblades and microcores, labrets, nipple-top hand mauls, perforated stones, large needles, unilaterally barbed antler harpoons and fixed antler points, stone and antler sculpture, pendants, disc beads, labrets, and native copper ornaments (Burley 1980:19 - 28). Carlson notes that the making of artifacts by pecking, grinding, incising and sawing of hard stone becomes common in the archaeological record after 2500 BP (Carlson 1993:8). House remains are also known from a number of sites providing evidence for both multifamily households and large villages of planked houses (Curtin 2002:12). Richly interred graves have also been commonly named as a prime characteristic of the Marpole culture type. Cranial deformation (both lambdodial and occipito-parieto forms) is a frequent trait in burials and persists through time to ethnographic Coast Salish cultures (Burley 1980:29). Profuse quantities of dentalia and/or shell disc beads are often found in some graves along with red ochre and various wealth items or ritual objects. As Curtin states, "the demographic profile of the 'rich' burials... 16 [provides] ample evidence to support the existence of ascribed status differences in Marpole times (Curtin 2002:12). Gulf of Georgia Culture or 'Late Prehistoric' (1000 BP - Contact) Similarities between Marpole artifact assemblages and Gulf of Georgia are strong, often to the extent that it is difficult to distinguish between the two archaeologically (Matson & Coupland 1995:218). Some of the distinctive archaeological characteristics are: a notable lack of chipped stone tools, small triangular flaked basalt points, flat-topped stone hand mauls, sandstone abraders, split and section bone awls, antler composite toggling harpoon valves, decorated bone blanket or hair pins, decorated antler combs, triangular ground sea mussel shell points, and the persistence of large post molds and house outlines (Mitchell 1990:346). Also of significance is the presence of "trench embankment" fortifications or defensive sites that appear after 1200 BP. Such sites suggest a rise in inter-group conflict or warfare during this period along with general population increase and expanded trade networks (Matson and Coupland 1995:268; Moss and Erlandson 1992). Holm (1990) notes an "unexplainably smaller inventory of stone, antler and bone artifacts" in her relatively diminished, and poorly dated, sample (n = 77) of representation art objects (see Matson and Coupland 1995:268-69 for discussion). She suggests that an increase in the use of wood is responsible for the paucity of objects; she also makes mention of the appearance of new weaving and spinning industries. And with regard to subsistence patterns, a culture built on fishing, hunting and gathering -with a heavy reliance placed on salmon - looks to be evident and in full swing by this time. MATERIALS & METHODS SITE R E C O N N A I S S A N C E The bulk of all fieldwork was conducted during the summer months of 2002. Relying on provincial site reports, a copy of Mary and Ted Bentley's Gabriola: Petroglyph Island, and information gleaned from conversations with long-time local residents regarding any knowledge they might possess of undocumented sites and their whereabouts, site reconnaissance proceeded steadily, and relatively unhindered, throughout my stay on Gabriola Island. Many sites are accessible and well documented. For instance, the "Church site" (DgRw 192) is a popular tourist destination, complete with a large sign indicating a nicely kept trail leading to the extensive collection of petroglyphs located there. Locating all 70 (or more) of the carvings, however, is 17 another matter entirely; most are so faint they are all but invisible in the dry conditions of summer.5 Subsequent visits to this site during winter months, with rain-wet stone and light diffusion caused by cloud-cover, brought many previously unseen images into view. The majority of carvings, however, remain so visibly diminished they have almost vanished. Were it not for the rubbings and sketches produced by the Bentleys in the late 1970s (most of which are archived in the Gabriola Museum, and to a slightly lesser extent, published in their book) knowledge of particular sites and their visual content would, undoubtedly, have been irretrievably lost. A large number of registered petroglyph sites, which have site forms filed with the Archaeology Branch in Victoria, are located on private property. These sites were visited with permission of relevant landowners. Unlike the aforementioned Church site, other petroglyph locations are not so easily found; often times they are situated in relatively remote and isolated locations lacking clear trailheads, points of access or other indicators. I was also guided to, or told about, a handful of currently wnregistered sites by some interested local residents. All petroglyph sites that could be visited were observed by myself. Yet there are some petroglyphs that could not be seen, despite my efforts. Jack Sickavish, a local resident involved in the Gabriola Museum's petroglyph preservation efforts, stated that many petroglyphs had been literally "erased" from the landscape. Individuals averse to having heritage sites on their property have taken steps to destroy such areas, namely by pouring cement over the carvings (Sickavish 2002, personal communication). Although I cannot personally verify any such action, it does not seem unlikely given the current tensions over treaty negotiations underway with the Snuneymuxw Nation and the obvious factions of open hostility which have developed as a result on the part of some Gabriola residents. The important point here is that knowledge of some petroglyph sites is not made public. I am certain that many petroglyph sites currently remain undiscovered; surely dozens more exist beneath heavy moss cover, under buildings, in private vegetable gardens, beneath landfill, below sand, etc. Sites were visited in a manner and with a personal code of conduct adhering to Snuneymuxw wishes. Petroglyph sites were not visited at either dawn or dusk. A respectful demeanor was expected as was an "open heart and mind" (Bill Seward, Snuneymuxw elder, personal communication 2002). I was asked to give my full attention to the petroglyphs and their sacredness, not allowing daily distractions to 5 Over the course of the summer, I observed numerous tourists who would often stand on top of a petroglyph only to exclaim "Honey, there's nothing here!" 18 interfere with my concentration on the ancient imagery. These expectations were met to the best of my ability. DATA COLLECTION I photographed all petroglyphs over the course of eight months with permission granted by the Snuneymuxw Nation. Photographs of particular carvings were taken many times in attempt to capture the engraved motifs under optimal conditions (morning light, evening light, wet surface, dry surface, mid- summer, autumn, etc.). I did not make any rubbings of the petroglyphs as the Snuneymuxw object to the creating of such replicas of the original images. There is also a great deal of ambivalence, on the part of some Snuneymuxw people, towards the Gabriola Museum, which has - with the intention of "keeping people away from the real ones" - produced petroglyph casts. During the busy summer months the museum sells canvas bolts and wax crayons to tourists. It is widely felt by many Snuneymuxw elders that the process of making a rubbing reduces, harms, and/or steals the petroglyph's 'energy' and power; hence such actions are sometimes frowned upon by the local indigenous community. I had originally hoped to utilize Lundy's classificatory scheme of 'major stylistic categories' (1983). Based on Campbell Grant's (1967) division of rock art style types into: a) naturalistic; b) conventionalized; and c) abstract, Lundy expanded her categories of stylistic analysis to include six general style types. These are: the basic conventionalized style, the classic (or traditional) style, the Columbia River conventionalized style, the abstract curvilinear style, the abstract rectilinear style, and the naturalistic style (Lundy 1983:89). I found, however, that these categories lacked the desired specificity for my analysis as none of them relate directly to archaeological culture sequences and their temporal parameters. Lundy herself noted that her categories were in need on 'refining and 'redefining' and so, I am aiming to do precisely that. Note should be made, however, that Gabriola Island's petroglyph repertoire fits best within the 'basic conventionalized style' type with some motifs finding resonance in the 'classic conventionalized rock art style' and the 'abstract curvilinear rock art style' (after Lundy 1983:90 - 95). According to Lundy, the 'basic conventionalized style' is indicative of great antiquity as it is widespread on the Northwest Coast. 19 C O M P A R A T I V E ANALYSIS Most of Margaret Holm's existing sample of portable objects decorated with representational motifs was collected from the Gulf of Georgia region (64% of the entire sample; 1990:2). It thus provides a strong and meaningful sample of design elements, motifs, stylistic variation, and distribution patterns with which to compare the Gabriola petroglyphs. And although Holm's work provides an invaluable framework with which to develop this thesis, it is not relied upon exclusively. Other forms of analysis take into account both inter and intra-site variability, geographic placement, and consideration of how the Gabriola Island petroglyphs relate to the False Narrows village site and artifact assemblage (Burley 1989). THE PETROGLYPHS OF GABRIOLA ISLAND O V E R V I E W OF G E N E R A L C H A R A C T E R I S T I C S A N D DISTRIBUTION There are approximately 120 known petroglyphs on Gabriola Island. This number was obtained through a count of what I determined to be self-contained images. The large panel consisting of anthropomorphs at the Brickyard Hill site (DgRw 201), for example, is counted as three separate figures despite the fact that all images are clustered together on a single boulder face (Figure A2). The same holds for the 'sea-wolf panel (DgRw 198; Figure A3). These two examples are unique: although the carvings portray a visual 'scene' or narrative, I have viewed them as independent solely for the purpose of obtaining motif-type frequencies. Aside from these two instances then, all other carvings are counted as individual figures without any sense of having lumped things together or pulled them apart. What follows is a brief overview of site content and general characteristics for all of Gabriola Island's petroglyph locales. Before beginning, however, the provenance of some of the nomenclature applied to petroglyph motifs requires attention. Many of the petroglyphs have acquired long-standing 'names' as a result of the Bentley's (1998) identification system and through popular reference amongst locals and tourists thereafter (i.e., "kingfisher", "dancing man", "killer whale", "eagle", "donald duck"). These names or labels, although useful, should not be viewed as either accurate or definitive. This is especially true of the so-called 'sea-wolf, also commonly spoken of as 'lightning snake' or hai'itlik (the Church site [DgRw 20 192] and Museum both use this title in their information boards)6 and sometimes as 'Wasgo' or 'Wasco'. The former terminology derives from a specific Nuu-chah-nulth figure (the 'hai'itlik' or Lightning Serpent is associated with the Thunderbird and becomes the Thunderbird's harpoon when it takes whales). The term really shouldn't be used outside the Nuu-chah-nulth area and that specific context (Alan McMillan, personal communication 2003). The same holds for 'Wasgo' which is a Haida word and describes an important image in their'art: a dorsal fin added to a wolf figure with occasional whales in the mouth or paws, showing that this was a major predator of the sea (ibid.). Again, the label is misleading because the cultural context is wrong. It is difficult, however, to find an appropriate descriptive designation for this peculiar creature. Certainly a label such as 'sinuous beast with hunched limbs, long tail, ferocious teeth, and fiery mouth' is cumbersome and inconvenient. I employ the name 'sea-wolf here for descriptive purposes - as the creature does possess wolf-like features and a sea-serpent's form - yet I do so with awareness that the label lacks ethnographic specificity. Several Snuneymuxw refer to the creature simply as 'mythical'. 1. N O R T H / N O R T H W E S T C O A S T Only four carvings are registered on the northwest end of the island (DhRw 13, 5, and 2), all of which are at Lock Bay. Of these, I was not able to re-locate DhRw 2 although I have been told that the carving consisted of a "simple face lying flat on the beach" by nearby residents. Another petroglyph depicting a stick figure chasing a deer is atypical in its obvious visual narrative (DhRw 13, Figure A4) and its authenticity/antiquity has been questioned.7 As Bentley describes, "the design is pecked to a depth of 9mm, three times the depth of most... suggesting perhaps that a metal tool was used... A local landowner told Beth Hill it had been on the beach throughout the fifty years of his knowledge" (Bentley 1998:115). The third Lock Bay petroglyph consists of two faces carved on a large beach boulder (Figure A5); one face is quite faint and eroded while the other, a near cookie-cutter impression of the other, appears to be much more recent and sharp-edged. A deep bowl-shaped feature is located on top of the boulder. 2. S O U T H C O A S T 6 Certain Snuneymuxew individuals were quite irritated by this apparent misnomer. 7 As will be discussed later, an "authentic" petroglyph is not necessarily an old petroglyph. 21 Along the southern coastline, five petroglyphs have been recorded. Of these five, only two remain intact and situated in their original location. The 'Hilarius Farm' petrolyph consisted of a heart- shape headed anthropomorph and two 'feet' (Hill and Hill 1974:91) as well as an undetermined zoomorphic figure. The anthropomorphic figure was reportedly destroyed when the landowner mixed cement on it. The other petroglyph was described, according to the site inventory form, as "faint" in 1979. It has likely eroded away completely as it could not be relocated during site reconnaissance. Once located along the False Narrows midden, an unusual mask-like carving (Figure A6; no site designation) now resides at the Gabriola Museum in trust for the Snuneymuxw First Nation. The petroglyph was discovered beneath a deck as sawdust from renovation work fell on the rock revealing the engraved image (Bentley 1998:124). One of the most interesting and unique petroglyphs on Gabriola Island (DgRw 225) is found buried on a beach beneath several inches of sand during the summer months and storm/logging debris during winter. The carving is situated on a horizontal face of sandstone just below the high water mark for spring tides and depicts an anthropomorphic creature which some non-Native, local residents feel is 'frog-like' in character (Figure A7). It should be noted that this image is the only carving found on Gabriola Island which exhibits the classic ovoid design; furthermore, it is similar to many images engraved on historic Coast Salish spindle whorls and it is nearly identical to a petroglyph located at Myers Passage (site FdTd 5; Hill and Hill 1974:181). This petroglyph's location is also unusual; unless one knows precisely where to look (and where to dig), it is buried in sand and completely hidden from view. Perhaps the most familiar petroglyph on Gabriola Island was first documented in 1874 by provincial surveyor John J. Landale, who noted on his map the "Indian carving of [a] seal on rock." The solitary carving is most commonly interpreted as a "killer whale" by local residents (DgRw 2; Figure A8) and it is located in a reclusive corner of Degnen Bay, five meters below the high tide line on a smooth and sloping slab of sandstone. At first glance, the petroglyph appears to be in excellent condition. The late Frank Degnen, however, had "deepened the lines of the killer whale because he feared the carving had become too faint to identify" in the early 1900s (Bentley 1998:105). 3. INLAND SITES Unlike the previous sites, which consist of essentially solitary carvings - isolated and relatively easy to describe - the petroglyph sites located further inland are more complex, both in the volume of 22 their imagery and their intra-site variation, and require more lengthy description. The following section is thus organized by site designation. Further descriptions and illustrations of several sites may be found in the False Narrows bluffs site report (Wilson 1987). The Brickyard Hill Site CDgRw 20]) The character of this site was jokingly but aptly described by a local watercolor artist as a place where one finds "a classic Northwest Coast eagle staring at aliens!" (personal fieldnotes 2002). Such a characterization derives from the dramatic difference in style types found at this site, namely: a finely carved bird-like zoomorph (Figure A9) which faces (at a distance of about 20 meters) a cluster of female (or hermaphrodite) anthropomorphic figures all of which are more 'roughly' rendered (Figure A10). This apparent 'scene' of human figures suggests, at the very minimum, a visual configuration of an adult and two children. One site report goes so far as to suggest that the panel represents "an earth mother with her human worldly children on one side and animal (?) children on the other" (Wilson 1987:41). Other carvings at this site include a striking (and this time, I would argue, obvious) female form (Figure A l la, b). A deep and naturally-occurring crevice in the stone's surface is evocative of female genitalia and it is incorporated into the petroglyph as such. The figure is quite 'skeletal' in appearance with x-ray-style ribs portrayed. The other four petroglyphs at this site are anthropomorphic - generally consisting of human faces - with one being very dense and interwoven amongst serpent-like creatures. The site is situated on a sloping hillside of strewn and tumbled sandstone boulders beneath a thick cover of cedar trees (Figure A12). The Stokes Road Site fDgRw 198̂ This site is located on the False Narrows bluffs, close to the large (and now excavated) cave burials. Seven separate petroglyph panels are found here. Akin to DgRw 201, this site also contains a female/hermaphrodite figure carved on an upright boulder (Figure A13) and a finely carved 'sea-wolf motif as well as what is now a mostly spalled off bird-like figure (previous Figure A3) which appears to be giving chase. Between the two figures lies a series of pecked 'dots'. Within the 'sea-wolf carving a natural fissure has been incorporated into the design as part of the mouth and this creature and - like the one found at DgRw 193 - has distinctively hunched limbs, large ears and elongated eyes. Other carvings at this site consist of a curvilinear motif barely visible on the underside of a displaced boulder, a simple 'eye-form', a series of pecked 'dots' and an x-mark, an anthropomorph 'stick- figure', and a zoomorph rendered in a curvilinear style. It should be noted that the large panel depicting 23 the 'sea-wolf and partially remaining bird-like form creates a type of corridor or wall along the small footpath. Other petroglyphs are distributed in a seemingly random fashion around the site, tucked around awkward corners and carved on widely dispersed rocks. Many prime rock faces are left bare; surely some type of spatial patterning is at work albeit one without any easily recognized manifestation. The Boulton Site (DgRw 193) This site is situated on an expansive meadow underlain with sandstone bedrock. As mentioned previously, a large serpent-like creature is depicted, similar to that found in DgRw 198 (Figure A14). Also in line with the aforementioned sites (DgRw 201 and 198), a female figure is included in the collection of carvings (Figure A15). Both anthropomorphic creatures at this site possess distinctive heart- shaped heads. Other petroglyphs include a so-called 'thunderbird' (Figure A16), two vulva-like forms (Figure A17) one large zoomorphic figure that has been sketched out in pecked pits, an unusual face with dangling legs, and an indeterminate shape, perhaps symbolic. Boulton Site West (no site designation available) On private land west of the Boulton site is a bowl-shaped feature ringed by four circles and seven large, petal-like rays. At the tip of one ray a small fish is carved. The Church Site( DgRw 192) Gabriola Island's 'Church site' is, without comparison, the most petroglyph-covered locale on the landscape. At least seventy images are carved here and they range in type from what look like small and meandering 'scribbles' to the peculiar and very curvilinear "kingfisher" motif (Figure A18). The diversity of imagery at this site is outstanding. According to the Bentleys, approximately 22 anthropomorphic figures or features are present, 15 zoomorphs, and 27 "rayed suns" are also included (Bentley 1998:146). The site also contains two deep 'bowls' referred to by one Snuneymuxw Elder, Ellen White, as "feeding bowls" wherein a small amount of dried food was supposed to be offered in hope of pleasing the spirits with an "aroma". The Cappon Site (DgRw 194) Locating these carvings proved to be difficult. Four out of five carvings were re-discovered beneath a trailer; the fifth was never found. A curvilinear bird-like creature is most easily recognized (Figure A19) while other petroglyphs appear to be more abstract in design including: a series of five curvilinear lines, some type of zoomorph, and a 'crab' form with radiating lines extending from the 24 creature. A photocopied rubbing of the fifth carving (the photocopy is of very low quality and it is included in the DgRw 194 site inventory form on file at the Archaeology Branch in Victoria) shows a remarkable anthropomorph with stick4ike limbs and over two dozen 'rays' cascading from the head. Again, the carving was not viewed by myself in person as it could not be relocated. Unlike the majority of sites discussed thus far, the Cappon site is located fairly close to the northern shore of the island. The Feme Road site (DgRw 63) and Unregistered Sites The Feme Road site consists of a boulder, originally situated on the hilltop overhead, reported to be currently lying in a ditch. This single boulder could not be located with absolute certainty. Near- invisible marks found on a boulder that I did examine, leave me unconvinced 1 was seeing the actual site. It is possible that the heavy blackberry bush cover (at least four feet thick) obscured the boulder from view and access, or the carvings have eroded away. Three areas contain currently unregistered sites. One, which shall be referred to as 'Unregistered #1' (UR 1 on map; Figure 1, p. 11) contains four petroglyphs, two of which are very clear and two, heavily eroded. A large and very well-defined anthropomorphic figure consumes much of the panel (Figure A20). Just east of this sprawling carving is a peculiar, perhaps heart-shaped, face with the familiar radiating lines and two deep-pecked 'dots' (Figure A21). The other carvings are faint: one has an almost jack-o-lantern look to it, the other cannot be seen well enough to describe with any accuracy. Similar in design, is another anthropomorphic petroglyph found northeast of the Church site. This solitary figure is in a very remote location (DgRw 224; Figure A22) and possesses a unique series of spiraling circles within the belly of the carving. Another unregistered site - 'Unregistered #2' (UR 2 on map; Figure 1, p. 11) - exists somewhere near Chernoff street. I was not however able to view this petroglyph as it is on private property (Figure A23). The last currently unregistered site - 'Unregistered #3' (UR 3 on map; Figure 1 p. 11) - is only a five minute walk from the Boulton site. This isolated petroglyph has an almost playful quality to it as it appears to be a 'smiling'. The zoomorph's nose is rounded and three deep 'dots' are pecked in between the creature's eye and nostril (Figure A24). The rear of the image tapers away into nothing and it is possible that the carving was abandoned and never completed. 25 S U M M A R Y The known petroglyphs of Gabriola Island are divided into surprisingly even groups of motif- type: a total of 38 known anthropomorphic carvings are found on the island along with approximately 40 zoomorphic figures and 42 abstract/symbolic designs (see Table 1, next page). Most of these sites are found inland and cluster within a five-kilometer radius of the extensive False Narrows midden located on the southeast portion of the island. All petroglyphs found within 20 meters of the high tide mark are solitary carvings (with the exception being that of the Lock Bay site and its two faces). A notable range of variation and detail in carving craftsmanship is also readily apparent in the overall assemblage. Table 1: Motif Type Distribution For Gabriola Island Petroglyph Sites Site# Anthropomorph Zoomorph Abstract Total DhRw 2 1 0 0 1 DhRw 5 2 0 0 2 DhRw 13 1 1 0 2 DgRw 2 0 1 0 1 DgRw 30 1 1 0 2 DgRw 63 0 2 0 2 DgRw 192 16 22 33 71 DgRw 193 2 4 3 9 DgRw 194 1 3 0 4 DgRw 198 1 3 3 7 DgRw 201 7 1 0 8 DgRw 224 1 0 0 1 Dgrw 225 0 1 0 1 Unregistered #1 1 0 3 4 Unregistered #2 1 0 0 1 Unregistered #3 0 1 0 1 Total 35 40 42 115 26 AN ANALYSIS OF STYLE PATTERNS OF SIMILARITY A large number of petroglyphs located on Gabriola Island are distinguished by their bold and curvilinear appearance. The line quality of many of the carvings (usually zoomorphic) is confident, fluid, consistent (in both width and depth), and masterful (particularly with regard to use of symmetry and negative space). Some of the petroglyph motifs may have been painted onto the rock surface prior to engraving.8 Paints and pigments were certainly known and used during the time period spanning 4000 - 2500 BP (Carlson 1993:7) and - given the unforgiving nature of stone as a medium - it does not seem unlikely that these complex images would be painted before being carved and made permanent.9 Another striking feature characteristic of many of the carvings is their 'signature' look. Throughout my reconnaissance work, I was often left with the feeling of having encountered an individual's 'handwriting' over and over across a varied landscape. Other researchers have noted the same: with regard to the carvings found at Petroglyph Park in Nanaimo (rock carvings which undoubtedly relate to those of Gabriola Island; Figure A25), Douglas Leechman states that, "...of the whole petroglyphfs]... there is very little overlapping of figures. This fact and the quite evident similarities in style suggest that most of the figures shown were made by the same artist" (Leechman 1952:267). I venture to suggest that an individual specialist or a small group/family of trained carvers produced the bulk of well-crafted petroglyph panels located on both Gabriola Island and Vancouver Island (i.e., in Snuneymuxw traditional territory and possibly at the Sproat Lake site; Figure A26). Given the strong stylistic similarities found between the two and the fact that seasonal rounds encompassed both places, the idea is quite plausible. This may be why the Gabriola Island petroglyphs - and by extension, their counterparts on nearby Vancouver Island - form such a stylistically unique collection of motifs and design elements when contrasted to other Northwest Coast areas (i.e., Lundy 1974; Hill and Hill 1974:137). Although the array of motif types and degree of craftsmanship appear to defy summary, underlying consistencies maintained by a particular and stylistic and iconographic vocabulary found on Gabriola Island do emerge under closer scrutiny. As Margaret.Holm states, "there is a wide variety of art forms, carving techniques, and 8 Professor Michael Kew was the first person to suggest this' idea to me (personal communication 2003). 9 Wilson Duff's Images: Stone: B.C. (1975) devotes much discussion to the qualities and permanence of stone with attention given to Northwest Coast art and culture. 27 quality of workmanship in Marpole phase art. At first glance these factors mask the underlying coherence... but a closer inspection reveals a high degree of stylistic homogeneity both within and - between sites..." (Holm 1990:188). An under-pinning 'toolkit' of motifs and design elements is in place. In addition, Wilson offers corroboration when he notes, during his reconnaissance of Gabriola Island petroglyph sites that "in study area petroglyphs...there is a definite relationship in style. The only nearby petroglyph at Protection Island which has been dated (undisturbed deposits over-laying a petroglyph were radiocarbon-dated) is not similar to the Gabriola Island petroglyphs. The excavated petroglyphs indicated dates between 1605 AD and AD 1675 [McMurdo 1979]" (Wilson 1987:59, emphasis my own). The following section divides general petroglyph characteristics and content into the following visual themes and/or groups: anthropomorphic figures, zoomorphic figures, and abstract forms. Each group is discussed separately and two summary figures (Figure 3 and Figure 4) illustrating design element type, distribution, and frequency is presented at the section's end. Anthropomorphic petroglyphs Anthropomorphic petrolyphs on Gabriola Island are always rendered in a front-facing perspective. The single exception to this common trait is found in the controversial 'deer-hunter' petroglyph at Lock Bay where the running figure is shown in profile. Anthropomorphic carvings generally do not, I would argue, display the finesse and artful craftsmanship found in many of the zoomorphic panels. The carvings often appear to have been hastily executed, in contrast to the majority of zoomorphic petroglyph panels which look have to have been lavished with both care and detail. All anthropomorphic carvings share one or more of the following attributes: heart-shaped and/or over-sized, oval heads; large ears depicted by half-ovals attached to the sides of the head, stick-like limbs bent at the elbow and tapering into three to five articulated digits; 'uni-brows' that arch over basic circle eyes and sometimes join to form a 'nose' as well as simple engraved crescents brows; skeletal and/or x- ray views of the torso; and in some cases, pronounced genitalia. Body forms are generally rendered by a sort of loose mango-shape: narrow towards the neck and broad along the bottom where legs are attached. Simple faces carved without bodies attached are uniformly sexless in appearance; it is generally only the eyes that are emphasized. 28 Zoomorphic petroglyphs Renderings of zoomorphic figures are depicted exclusively in profile with only one major exception to this rule: the so-called 'thunderbird' petroglyph at the Boulton site. Shared stylistic conventions include: the ubiquitous and sinuous serpent-like 'sea-wolves' that exhibit hunched limbs (normally two in profile) and, very often, a deeply carved and protruding line extending from an open and toothy mouth; 'x-ray' views of skeletal features; feather motifs, pronounced or over-sized ears and tails, flared nostrils, elaborate eye-forms which include secondary features, and a curiously rounded or 'bottleneck-shaped' nose is also common. Another important design attribute consists of what I refer to as 'lateral sectioning': just as a bumble bee's body is divided into bands of yellow and black, certain motifs possess gently curved sections or banded 'stripes' over the primary surfaces of their form (Figure A27). Linear and curvilinear 'rays' are often incorporated into many images as well as an unusual 'leash- like' detail (Figure A28). Abstract petroglyphs Those motifs classified as abstract encompass the following features: gourd-shaped motifs often enhanced with emanating 'rays'; explicit vulva forms, curvilinear masses of fluid line, small carvings reminiscent of 'suns', and what look to be meandering 'scribbles' or 'doodling'. Deeply pecked 'dots' are frequently encountered at most sites and should be viewed as an addition to, or perhaps as an integral part of, anthropomorphic, zoomorphic, and abstract petroglyphs. SUMMARY As indicated by above, stylistic harmony and cohesion is most evident within motif-type groups (i.e., anthropomorph, zoomorph, abstract). The extant patterns of similarity do not find real or consistent overlap across motifs; rather, it is the congruity with which faces - for example - are consistently portrayed. The same is true of 'animal' depictions and abstract forms. The toolkit then appears to be content specific and utilizes a specific repertoire of forms: certain design elements (such as eye-forms with secondary features rendered in profile) were reserved for certain images and not used in others. And although one hesitates to rely too heavily on subjective judgements regarding the 'quality' of a carving, some petroglyphs do indeed exhibit a remarkable application of skill - and surely a larger investment of time and labor - while others appear to have been rendered in a rough and less skillful manner. Such differences should be acknowledged as a marked point of contrast. 29 Style Type Frequency Comparison 50. Select Style Traits a Anthropomorph • Zoomorph 0 Abstract Figure 3: The above table illustrates select design elements and their distribution across motif types: anthropomorphic, zoomorphic, and abstract. Note the high parallel frequencies of curvilinear form-lines across all three groups as well as the features exclusive to a particular motif type (i.e., profile view and zoomorph). Style traits are illustrated in Figures 4 and 5; a list is given of all style trait illustrations on page 69 in Appendix II. A data table with relevant site numbers and style trait distribution is also presented on page 69 in Appendix II. 30 A B ^ T ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ D F Figure 4: Design Element Illustrations. A) Heart-shaped head; B) Hunched limbs; C) Rays; D) Lateral sectioning; E) Rounded nose; F) Ovoid M A R P O L E CONNECTIONS It has been implied throughout this thesis that a connection between the petroglyphs of Gabriola Island and the Marpole culture exists. The following section sets out to demonstrate this relationship and examines the petroglyphs of Gabriola Island in direct comparison to Holm's sample of portable artifacts from the Gulf of Georgia decorated with representational motifs. The following central question emerges: Based on artifact assemblages collected from Gabriola Island (i.e., False Narrows) Holm's comparative sample, and other Marpole phase artifacts (Carlson and Hobler 1993), does there seem to be a strong stylistic relationship between the Gabriola Island petroglyphs and Marpole phase material culture? And if so, what makes an image distinctly Marpole and not, for example, Locarno Beach or Late Period? My findings suggest that evidence supports assigning the production of the majority of Gabriola Island's petroglyph sites to the Marpole period (2400 - 1000 BP). Although the Marpole culture type is conventionally defined as ending around 1500 BP, my feeling is - and I am in concurrence with Thorn (1998) - that this temporal bracket marking a "transitional period" is somewhat arbitrary and should be extended to 1000 BP (after Matson and Coupland 1995). 31 My rationale for placing the petroglyphs within the Marpole culture type is threefold: 1) a , generally bold and curvilinear style type not seen either before or after the Marpole period is evident; 2) the striking and strong similarities found between petroglyph motifs and those found on portable artifacts recovered from Marpole contexts; and 3) the presence of the expansive False Narrows village site and cave burials which date largely to the Marpole time period (Burley 1989) points to an active Marpole occupation on Gabriola Island, while the sheer density of sites (17 in a 3 linear km area; Wilson 1987:57) located on the False Narrows bluffs underscores the clear importance of the place. A host of radiocarbon dates (Curtin 2002) also demonstrates extensive occupation within the Marpole phase time-frame. Each point shall be discussed and supported in turn. Why are the petroglyphs not representative of, or included within, the Locarno Beach culture type (3300 - 2400 BP)? My argument that the petroglyphs of Gabriola Island are not associated with Locarno Beach culture is somewhat circumstantial: much of my reasoning depends upon the lack of evidence currently available to draw any other conclusion with confidence. When compared to the later abundance of Marpole mobiliary objects, the paucity of the preceding archaeological assemblage is stark. Of the few portable art objects that have been recovered and associated with the Locarno Beach phase, none of these display any convincing stylistic features that might underscore some relationship to the petroglpyh styles found on Gabriola Island. As Carlson states, "there are no pictographs or petroglyphs which are close enough in style to the excavated mobiliary art of the period 4000 - 2400 BP to permit assigning them to this period" (Carlson 1993:8). His unequivocal assertion is grounded in the fact that artifacts made by pecking, grinding, incising and sawing of hard stone do not become common in the archaeological record until after 2500 BP and that a curvilinear style depicting birds and animals starts to emerge only later, in sites dating from about 2500 - 1700 BP in the Strait of Georgia and Lower Fraser River regions (ibid.). Mobiliary art from this time period is, as mentioned above, scanty and most of it dates to approximately 2500 BP, the tail end of the Locarno Beach phase and beginning of the Marpole. Holm admits that "imprecise dating of Locarno Beach phase components and a small inventory of decorated objects makes it difficult to hypothesize when or how artistic developments took place during this time period" (Holm 1990:305). Given this uncertainty coupled with the minimal overlap in stylistic conventions as expressed in two Locarno Beach spoons (Holm 1990:87) and zoomorphic petroglyphs 32 (i.e., sea-wolf figures), it seems possible that they demonstrate not a one to one relationship (i.e. contemporaneous) but rather, an example of continuity in terms of motif styles. Of the art objects that do exist in Holm's sample, the form and design is relatively simplistic and lacks the type of detail (skeletal features, internal curvilinear lines, rows of teeth, etc.) found in the majority of petroglyphs. For example, an antler spoon collected from Musqueam N.E (DhRt 4) with associated dates of 2550 +/- 85 BP (although Borden suggested they might be closer to 2800 years old; Holm 1990:83) shares features found in the standard 'sea-wolf motif: fluid form, an elongated eye with secondary elements, and an over-sized ear (Figure A29), My feeling is that it was not until slightly later (perhaps only 100 years) that this particular motif was commonly made more elaborate with the addition of limbs, teeth, 'rays', tail, etc. The line dividing the break from the Late Locarno Beach phase and the Marpole phase is a somewhat elastic one and there may be some stylistic overlap between the two spanning a century or so (2550 -2400 BP). While on the one hand, there is not enough decorated material from Locarno Beach phase deposits to claim with any real authority or certainty that the relationship between Gabriola Island's petroglyphs and Locarno portable art objects is a negative one. On the other, this paucity of evidence suggests that the pace of aesthetic behavior was still relatively slow (when contrasted to the Marpole period) and that the production of rock carvings was not yet in full swing and had perhaps not even started. Hence, their association with the Locarno Beach phase looks slim; arguing otherwise is like gathering smoke and trying to stand on it. The strongest argument for designating the Gabriola Island petroglyphs as Marpole, and not Locarno Beach lies in the fact, however, that no Locarno Beach phase sites have been found on Gabriola Island. One does exist at nearby Duke Point, but this, like the sparse numbers of poorly dated mobiliary art objects in general, adds little real weight or conviction in favor of a Locarno Beach assignment for the Gabriola Island petroglyphs. Still puzzling, and in need of mention, is where an extraordinary artifact recovered from the Pender Canal site (Carlson and Hobler 1993) fits in with regard to the rock carvings specifically, and stylistic conventions of the Northwest Coast region generally (Figure A30). This artifact consists of a carved antler spoon depicting a "rockfish and a wolf or sea-wolf mask" which Carlson suggests as being symbolic of "shamanic regeneration" (Carlson 1993:11). The spoon - which exhibits a 'sea-wolf creature complete with open mouth, teeth, flared nostrils and elongated eye - is remarkable in its likeness to some of the Gabriola Island petroglyphs. The object has, however, been associated with the date of 3600 +/- 10 C-14 years B P (Carlson and Hobler 1993:47), clearly outside of the Marpole period range. This object undermines any easy or linear chronology with regard to the evolution of Northwest Coast design elements and style for the piece looks to be of Marpole age, not pre-Locarno Beach! Certainly, the carving points to great antiquity for the 'sea-wolf motif; what is less clear is whether or not it has any direct relationship to the creation of similarly-styled petroglyphs. Carlson asserts that "coastal rock art is certainly part of'the same art tradition as these early pieces of mobiliary art from the Pender Canal Site..." yet he doubts that petroglyphs belong to this period (Carlson 1993:8, emphasis my own). Despite the fact that I can find no truly satisfying resolution to this particular case (and one wouldn't expect temporal parameters to be tidy and/or brightly delineated), it does seems that it was not until after 2500 B P that the practice of making petroglyphs really commenced and gained momentum and as Carlson notes, it made use of an "already extant inventory of motifs related to shamanism and the spirit world" (Carlson 1993:9). In other words, the repertoire of petroglyh motifs was born on antler and mobiliary sculpture; it just took some time before they made their debut as petroglyphs on free-standing and non-portable boulders and bedrock. One thing that stands out most amongst both Marpole phase mobiliary objects and the Gabriola Island petroglyph repertoire is curves. Curvilinear lines and design elements are widespread and incorporated into most images, especially zoomorphic ones. Unlike Late Period motifs - distinguished by a more linear and squared-off style - the petroglyphs of Gabriola Island rarely, if ever, exhibit an angular nature or composition. The parallel rate of motif frequencies between portable decorated objects and the petroglyphs is also a point of intersection. "There is great interest in the human figure, and in particular the human face" notes Margaret Holm with regard to Marpole phase objects, and "(fjacial features are usually rendered in detail while the rest of the body receives perfunctory treatment" (Holm 1990:311). The same is very much the case for the Gabriola petroglyphs (n = 38 human figures). Also in accord with the rock carving subject matter is the second most common motif: the long-legged or long-beaked bird (n = 6 on Gabriola Island) and the third most common motif: the 'sea-wolf (n = 3 on Gabriola Island with another 3 carvings representing possible sea-wolf motifs). Holm describes this ubiquitous Marpole motif as a "sinuous creature with horns or feather tufts, an open mouth, protruding tongue and slender crouched 34 limbs" (Holm 1990:312). Fish motifs are also popular in the Gabriola Island petroglyph repertoire (n = 7). The popularity of these three motif types during Marpole times - as rendered in both portable objects and petrolyphs - points to a stylistic compatibility or visual language (i.e., an iconographic vocabulary) bridging the two media. Birds, 'sea-wolves' and the human forms were clearly figures of cultural significance and value at the time. What's more, it seems as though mutual emphasis was placed in a similar manner on not only the product - the petroglyph or antler spoon or pendant - but also on the process of creation. Although one may find many 'unrefined' (if that word should be used) or 'rough' anthropomorphic faces and figures, one does not encounter a poorly carved 'sea-wolf or bird anywhere. Holm speaks to this issue when she notes that the, "carving skill and the overall design of Marpole decorated objects show a great range of variation. There are finely-crafted and skillfully composed sculptures in wood and antler that suggest the handiwork of part-time specialists. There are also many roughly executed decorated items with uneven workmanship and a poor sense of design..." yet, "even these crudely executed pieces show conformity to a standard repertoire of art forms, design principles and motifs" (Holm 1990:191). So while the Marpole style (writ large) embraces a range of craftsmanship - expert and deft as well as untrained or, at least, less labor-intensive - the entire group of motifs adheres to a consistent pattern: zoomorphs are often elaborate and well-craved, anthropomorphs generally look to have been created with less effort and 'flair' as petroglyphs but not necessarily as three dimensional sculpture, and abstract motifs haunt the middle ground. They are neither elaborate nor 'scratchy' in appearance (like some anthropomorphs), if anything they exhibit smooth, deep grooves and basic shapes. The theory that part or full-time specialists were involved in creating certain petroglyph panels is an intriguing one and I will argue that this was indeed the case in the next chapter. The section below, though, focuses and hones in on specific artifacts that underscore and illuminate the relationship between the petroglyph images and general Marpole aesthetics. EVIDENTIAL SUPPORT Burley observes that "antler sculpture, in addition to that of stone, may be regarded as part of a general artistic emphasis in Marpole" and further that, "sculpture in antler is related to that undertaken in stone. It tends to be representational including both anthropomorphic and zoomorphic motifs, although a few geometric forms are also known" (Burley 1980:27). Given the relationship between these two 35 'canvases' then - antler and stone - the first artifact to be examined comes from the Marpole Site (DhRs 1). Excavations yielded a fragment from an undetermined antler object with an engraved creature carved upon it, possessing a long and thin body with tightly folded limbs under its body (Figure A31). This zoomorphic figure is portrayed with lenticular eyes and an open mouth filled with teeth. Under the head are two rows of three dots and on the top portion of its body is a checkered pattern which Holm remarks as being "unusual"(Holm 1990:120). And although certain features are not shared (i.e., the large ears, tail, protruding tongue, and checkered backbone), this incongruity may have more to do with the limitations of the medium than stylistic convention. Antler, as a 'canvas', does not lend itself to the addition of appendages beyond the primary form whereas a petroglyph image has, one would assume, unhindered spatial dimensions to fill and cover. Some unknown processes, however, may well have governed how an image was to be placed on stone, which stone, to what length, etc., thus negating any presumption of unlimited or open space upon which pictures might be made. At any rate, I assume that a petroglyph carved on a large boulder is not constrained in the same way as is a relatively miniature image on antler. The similarity of this zoomorphic motif engraved on •antler, however, to a number of Gabriola Island petroglyphs is unmistakable and suggests, though in no way proves, that both stone and antler were being inscribed contemporaneously with the 'sea-wolf image. And unlike some Locarno Beach objects, this Marpole artifact has the teeth and - especially - the hunched limbs of the kind seen in the Gabriola Island petroglyphs. Other zoomorphic antler harpoon point fragments collected from the Marpole Site (Holm 1990:111, figures 28 a-j) reflect a persistent emphasis placed on the depiction of long-mouthed creatures from whose mouths project the barbed shafts (perhaps designed as such to represent the protruding 'tongues' found in so many petroglyphs). Moreover, akin to the 'sea-wolf petroglyphs of Gabriola Island, Holm notes that with only one exception, all of the 'sea-wolf motifs inscribed on mobiliary objects in her Marpole sample are "well-made, deeply engraved compositions" (Holm 1990:110). Morphological likeness is of course key when making these stylistic comparisons, but the consistent application of skilled craftsmanship to certain images, be they portable objects or petroglyphs, provides, in my opinion, an important subtext germane to how specific motifs were produced. A significant correlation is found between eye-shape and motif type in both the Gabriola Island petroglyphs and Marpole period artifacts. Zoomorphic figures tend to have both round and sharply pointed, down-turned eyelids with secondary elements while anthropomorphic figures are portrayed with basic circle-shape eyes sometimes accentuated with eyebrows but never with pinched ends, points, or large irises. Holm notes the same pattern in her study and concludes that during Marpole times an "increasing complexity in the way features are delineated" begins to emerge and, like the Gabriola Island petroglyphs, 75% of her sample contains eye-shapes with "secondary and tertiary elements" (Holm 1990:136). A o o c © © • • Q £> D o> o B- E Figure 5: Eye-forms. A) eyes with crescent brows and/or unibrow; B) end-pointed eyes with iris; c) basic circle; D) deep pitted eye; E) eyes with secondary and tertiary features, i.e., 'elaborate'. Turning to the False Narrows village site (DgRw 4) located on Gabriola Island, two artifacts in the assemblage provide further substance for claims of shared style traits with temporal implications. Site components have been associated with a 'classic' or 'middle' Marpole culture type occupation: a Marpole transitional occupation, a Gulf of Georgia culture type occupation and a historic Snuneymuxw occupation (Burley 1989:38). The earliest cultural component at this site is 'False Narrows I' (FN I) which, on the basis of diagnostic artifact types, has been closely aligned with the Marpole culture type. Two pendants, both recovered from mortuary contexts, shall be discussed here: a so-called "beetle" pendant and an anthropomophic one. Both objects were recovered from FN I deposits (dating to approximately 2000 BP) .The "beetle" pendant (Figure A32) was collected from burial 52, situated on the False Narrows midden's back slope.10 The interment consists of an adolescent male clothed in what was probably a dance costume (Burley 1989:58, see also Curtin 2002). The zoomorphic pendant, "elaborately carved from coal into the shape of a beetle", was recovered from the individual's midsection. Burley also notes that further mortuary goods were included: 2,506 disc beads, three dentalia, and two whale bone armlets. Hence, he suggests that this individual represented a person of high status (1989:60). 1 0 "Beetle" is not an agreed upon designation for this item: Burley suggests the pendant is a beetle, Holm a "face" and as I argue, it seems to have most in common with site DgRw 2, the "killer whale" petroglyph. The pendant exhibits two important stylistic features which appear with some frequency in the local petroglyph repertoire: an elongated and rounded — almost bulbous — nose form and the aforementioned lateral-sectioning found in some carvings. The eyes, often two simple concentric circles, are the same as many petroglyph eye-forms. They constitute a secondary element which lends support to broader connections, but one which is too basic for meaningful comparison on its own. With regard to the nose-form, this unusual and distinctive feature is found in seven petroglyphs including: the "killer whale" (DgRw 2; Figure A8), two zoomorphic figures located at the Church site (DgRw 192; Figure A27 and Figure A18), and a third zoomorphic figure (Unregistered; Figure A24). The likeness and singularity of this stylized feature warrants association between the pendant and petroglyphs and points to a stylistic signature shared by both. Also widespread is the lateral-sectioning of zoomorphic figures. This internal decoration of parallel lines banded around the form is found in several zoomorphic carvings, all located at the Church site (Figure A33) as well as across the "beetle" pendant's 'body'. The above similarities are exclusive to zoomorphic renderings. An anthropomorphic pendant, also recovered from False Narrows component I, allows us to probe stylistic similarities in 'human' imagery (Figure A34a, b). This pendant, manufactured from siltstone, is, according to Burley "less well made" (1989:92) and depicts the ubiquitous 'heart-shaped' head. Within the petroglyphs of Gabriola Island, I have counted a total of 11 clear heart-shaped head portraits. Also recognizable in the petroglyphs are the repetitious eyebrows consisting of either a unified brow-line that joins to form a nose or, two separate crescents arching over roughly circular eyes; the latter is exhibited in the False Narrows pendant. The near-identical quality of this pendant to several petroglyphs is striking (Figure A35). Despite the fact that such 'faces' are simple and their dispersion across both the landscape and archaeological assemblages is far from unique to the Northwest Coast, their 'scratchy' quality and workmanship is notably similar to the petroglyphs of Gabriola Island and suggests that interest in and rendering of the 'human' face was happening in both portable and permanent media at the same time. Seven of the anthropomorphic petroglyph figures found on Gabriola Island display pronounced genitalia. Often times these carvings dominate a site in terms of size and the sex of the figure is ambiguous. For instance, a petroglyph image that I quickly assumed to be female, my male colleague 38 presumed to be "obviously" male (Figure A13)11. The confusion lay in whether or not an extended vulva shape was indeed just that or, conversely, an erect penis. Perhaps certain figures were intended to be hermaphrodites: gender-indeterminate beings instilled with powers both masculine and feminine. Some figures do, however, possess clear secondary sex characteristics (i.e., breasts depicted by two simple circles on the chest) and in one unusual case (DgRw 201), a deep, naturally occurring crevice is utilized to form an expansive vulva lined with notches which appear to be indicative of the well known vagina dentata (Figure A11 b). These carvings look, unequivocally, to be of the female variety. Holm states that it was not until approximately 1000 BP that male and female genitalia are seen on decorated objects, specifically in antler figurines (Holm 1990:231). These figurines collected from the Puget Sound and Gulf of Georgia region are typically distinguished by their exaggerated pointed heads, necks defined by two notches which give the jaw a "squared-off look" and rectangular-shaped eye margins (ibid.). Many of these figures also sport 'skirts' rendered by straight parallel lines and hair that is fashioned with the same angular symmetry (Figure A36a, b). To reiterate one of the most distinctive and overlapping characteristics found between the Gabriola Island petroglyphs and Marpole period aesthetics is a ubiquitous and curvy form-line. Despite the fact that explicitly rendered genitalia do not emerge in the archaeological record until Late/Gulf of Georgia times, and that such genital features are indeed portrayed with frequency in the petroglyphs (isolated vulva forms are also found at several sites, i.e., Figure A17), I do not believe that there is a close relationship between the two. The difference is style, design elements, detail, and general content is so radically different - in terms of appearance - that any temporal connection seems nebulous. I argue then that the Gabriola Island petroglyphs are, for the most part, entirely Marpole creations. SUMMARY Undoubtedly, motifs and design elements depicted in the Gabriola Island petroglyphs find their origins in Locarno Beach phase mobiliary objects (and, as evidenced by the Pender Canal site artifact, perhaps even earlier). Decorated objects dating to the Locarno Beach time period - although slightly similar in content - are nevertheless marked by a lack of internal design detail (hunched limbs, elaborate eye-forms, opeh-mouths, skeletal features, etc.) when compared to both the Gabriola Island petroglyphs and later Marpole period artifacts. More importantly, not only is there a general paucity of decorated " A petroglyph located on a stretch of sandstone known as 'Harevvood Plain' in Nanaimo (DgRx 9) contains a very gender-ambiguous anthropomorph, much like some of those found on Gabriola Island (see Hill 1974:114). 39 material dating to this time period in Holm's exhaustive sample, no Locarno Beach phase sites have been found on Gabriola Island. It is extremely unlikely, in my opinion, that the petroglyphs pre-date 2500 BP. Marpole mobiliary objects, however, exhibit many of the stylistic traits seen in the Gabriola Island petroglyphs, so much so that the two repertoires share many design elements: bold and curvilinear form-lines; the distinctive 'sea-wolf motif replete with hunched limbs, open mouth and elaborate eye- forms with secondary features; zoomorphic figures that contain lateral-sectioning and the peculiarly elongated, bulbous nose; and anthropomorphic figures rendered with heart-shaped heads, basic concentric eyes and limbs tipped with three to five digits. Also of central importance is the parallel distribution of motif types between portable objects and petroglyphs with human, bird, and sea-wolf carvings dominating both assemblages with the same frequency, excluding fish. Emphasis, in terms of skilled craftsmanship and investment of time and talent, was consistently placed on certain motifs (i.e., 'sea- wolf and bird forms), be they petroglyphs or mobiliary objects and not on others (i.e., faces without bodies). And finally, the expansive False Narrows village site is largely Marpole in content (Burley 1989), with two of its decorated artifacts derived from FN 1 finding real stylistic resonance with the local petroglyphs. Explicit genitalia are generally believed to have appeared in Northwest Coast iconography around 1000 years ago. Because of this, I had originally suspected that anthropomorphic petroglyph figures possessing genitalia would belong to the Late Prehistoric period (1000 - 150 BP). I was, however, in the end left unconvinced. The stylistic transition from an intensely curvy style to a more angular one undermines any notion of homogeneity between the two samples; placed together, a Late Prehistoric antler figurine and a Gabriola Island anthropomorphic petroglyph show little to no resemblance to one another. Furthermore, the presence of a handful of anthropomorphs with genitalia is, of course, not enough to substantiate claims that all the petroglyphs derive from this period. The Gabriola Island petroglyphs appear to be commensurate - in terms of style - with Marpole phase material culture. One straggler does remain however. Site DgRw 225 which consists of a solitary carving illustrating what looks to be an anthropomorph (or perhaps frog) with limbs bent at the knee and spread to the side and which contains two well-developed ovoids as eyes. The first ovoid appears in the archaeological record around 800 BP in Prince Rupert (Holm 1990:322) and the similarity between this petroglyph and one located at Myers Passage is unmistakable (Hill 1974:181). Although beyond the scope of this thesis, such co-occurrences should be investigated further. 40 THE PURPOSE OF PETROGLYPHS Having addressed the first of three questions posed in this thesis that related to chronology, this final chapter considers the two that remain: 1) whether or not the petroglyphs were produced all at once and what the social implication of such action might be; and 2) what kinds of meaning were infused into the petroglyphs in pre-contact times and what function(s) they might have served. As mentioned previously, many of the carvings look to have been created by a single hand or by a group of trained specialists. Margaret Holm argues that during the Marpole period "there is evidence to suggest either that a limited number of carvers used the more significant carving techniques, design elements, and principles of form, or that these related techniques were reserved for carving higher status items and motifs" (1990:314, emphasis my own). I venture to suggest that the creation of the Gabriola Island petroglyphs does not represent an "either/or" scenario; rather, I believe that the majority of petroglyphs were produced in a fairly short period of time by a limited number of specialists who did indeed utilize certain techniques which were exclusive to certain imagery. By "short" I mean within a single life span or, perhaps, within a generation or two. Had the petroglyphs been made over and over and again through the course of many decades or a century more variation in style types, motif content, super-positioning and design elements would be seen (Lewis-Williams 2002); as it stands, they are not.12 The more elaborate petroglyphs (i.e., the 'sea-wolf and bird panel at DgRw 198) may have been produced, or commissioned, to satisfy the spiritual needs/wants of elite individuals who had access to (or control/ownership of) specific motifs. As has been demonstrated throughout this thesis, some images were consistently well-carved and their composition was particularly artful. Special techniques, or simply specialists in general, were probably called upon for their making.13 This idea ties in nicely with Thorn's (1998:6) archaeological hypothesis related to the manipulation by elites of symbols and "artistic expression". With regard to mortuary ritual practices during the transitional period from Marpole to Late Prehistoric (1500 - 1000 BP), Thorn argues that: When elaborate mortuary rituals were changed from mounds and cairns to above-ground graves, only those people with the ability (for instance) to hire artisans to produce new symbols to connect to the spirit world, were able to 1 2 Many petroglyph and pictograph sites on the Northwest Coast depict historical events and artifacts (i.e., guns, sailing ships, etc. The petroglyph sites of Gabriola Island, however, do not. 1 3 It is interesting to note that when hiking around one of the sites with a Snuneymuxw Elder, he referred to the large 'sea-wolf panel as the "main one" and feigned disinterest in the others (personal communication 2002). 41 make high status claims. Those families who did not have access to wealth were not able to create these kinds of symbols and had to use a lower-class grave marker (Thorn 1998:6). Thorn's theory, conjoined with the widely accepted conclusion that an ascribed society has been in existence within the Gulf of Georgia (and specifically at the False Narrows site) from at least Marpole times onward (Matson and Coupland 1995:209, 225), suggests that, ostensibly, opportunities for visual expression were socially distributed along hierarchical lines with higher status individuals able to commission elaborate petroglyph panels to improve or strengthen their connection to the spirit world. And although Thorn's theory is concerned with mortuary ritual, its notion of symbolic wealth and restricted access does hold meaningful implications that can be extended and applied to petroglyph making. Wayne Suttles' definition of Northwest Coast art production follows that "...while some Central Coast Salish art may have been decorative [art for art's sake], much of it can be related to four sources of power and prestige - the vision, the ritual world, the ancestors, and wealth" (Suttles 1983:69). I suggest that this was - and actually still is - the case for Gabriola Island's petroglyph sites. Elites may have commissioned some of the complex petroglyph panels and commoners may have produced some of the lesser-quality images while training for or enduring the spirit quest. As noted in the context of the discussion on Coast Salish "winter ceremonies" and vision or guardian quests, the acquired 'spiritual helper' often took the form of "birds, animals, and fabulous spirits or monsters" (Barnett 1938:136), precisely the types of creatures found depicted ubiquitously as petroglyphs. There is certainly no way of 'proving' such connections between the spirit quest and the rock carvings, but the remoteness of many of the images - in places where spirit quests may have occurred such as within cedar tree groves and beside bodies of water - combined with the prevalence of 'spirit-helper' type motifs, forms an attractive and hypothetical explanation towards the function of petroglyph sites in pre-contact times. A petroglyph - by design, vision, commission, or execution - brought a person or a group of people closer to the spiritual world and perhaps to the ancestors as well. Yet other meanings and purposes were attached to the rock carvings too: no single interpretation could (or should) ever suffice. Unspecified sites in the Squamish territory may have served as indicators of place ownership and some petroglyph and pictograph sites appear to have been closely linked to certain fishing activities or bountiful locations. A Ucluelet individual told Harlan Smith about a rock formation 42 near Wreck Bay in northern Nootkan territory where the "whale hunters rubbed against it when they bathed and scrubbed with hemlock boughs" (Lundy 1974:300). In some sites near burial locations, "ribbed" or skeletal anthropomorphic carvings were considered by some Coast Salish groups to be guardian spirits of the dead (Duff 1956:52). Such views may hold relevance for the petroglyphs located along the False Narrows bluffs (DgRw 198) and the nearby cave burials situated there. In his field notes Barnett recorded the First Salmon ceremonies held at Nanaimo describing how "evidence of the ritual performed here is to be found on Jack's Point, where there is a rock on which are incised figures of various fish. When the salmon run was late, the ritualist painted over these figures with red ochre; at the same time he also placed bits of four different substances, including goat wool and a grass, and burned them at the foot of the rock" (Barnett 1935-1936; Figure A37). The details of this ritual were told to Barnett by Albert Wesley and it was said that until this ritual had been completed, the Snuneymuxw could not smoke the fish they caught in the river. Mary Jane Peters, a deceased Snuneymuxw elder, once explained that "the petroglyphs are fossils of what died there... When it rains the hill bleeds with the blood of animals that died there" (Robinson 1958). Clearly, red ocher (aptly described by the contemporary sculptor Andy Goldsworthy as "the blood beneath the skin of the earth")'4 was often used in relation to some petroglyph sites in a ritualized context. Although beyond the scope of this study, an investigation into the relationship between pictographs and petroglyphs would be well worthwhile. To conclude, petroglyphs, although probably often produced in relation and response to the spirit world - by elites for symbolic show and by others in search of their guardian helper - were surely made for a variety of purposes, not all of which were filled with profundity. As Douglas Leechman tells: Some years ago, when out in a canoe with an Indian friend of mine near Seattle, we had to go ashore to wait for slack water to let us through a narrow channel... We sat down on the beach and had a smoke and then my companion... selected a pebble from those at his feet and stood up. He began to peck at a large boulder which lay just behind us. I watched him and discovered that he was just finishing a face pecked in the stone. I asked him if he had made this face and he answered that he had carved this one and some of the others and that his father had done the rest. I asked what their purpose was and was told that they were done merely to pass the time while waiting for the tide to change... (Leechman 1952:267). Rivers and Tides (2002). A documentary film about Goldsworthy's life and work. 43 SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION In their book Indian Petrogylphs of the Northwest Coast, Beth and Ray Hill lament that "North American archaeologists have left the subject of petroglyphs to the amateurs. Trained to feel uneasy about the subjective world of art and unable to relate the rock carvings to the precise and objective study of dated excavation levels, many scientists have just ignored the rock pictures" (Hill 1974:17). And with a veritable sigh heard from within the text, they pronounce, "Our questions are too late" (ibid.). My study has aimed to show otherwise. Archaeological inquiry into the petroglyphs and pictographs of the Northwest Coast remains a worthwhile and, in this case, fruitful endeavor. Yes, our questions are often "too late" with regard to why the petroglyphs were originally created (although I imagine one would find many answers to that single question, both then and now), but 'answers' nevertheless still do abound and much remains to be teased out of both the archaeological and ethnographic record. Many Snuneymuxw Elders recall being told not to go near the petroglyph sites as young children - they were places of power, potentially harmful, and they remain as such to this day. Viewing the petroglyphs and pictographs as only relics of a 'forgotten' past denies the rock carvings their persistent spirit and portrays them as essentially lifeless; relegating their meaning (both present and past) to that of an empty fossil. Turning away then from such cynicism, I have, in this study, aimed to address three questions and/or issues pertinent to the extensive collection of petroglyphs found on Gabriola Island. They are: 1) to better situate the Gabriola petroglyph repertoire within a chronological framework relevant to Northwest Coast artistic traditions and-their change over time; 2) to determine - to the extent possible - if the petroglyphs were produced contemporaneously and if so, what the social implications of such action might be and 3) to put forth some tentative interpretations regarding the petroglyph's meanings and functions. The following summarizes the major finding of this thesis. With regard to chronology, I argue that the majority of Gabriola Island's petroglyph sites are of Marpole phase derivation. This conclusion is based on stylistic similarities found between decorated Marpole mobiliary objects and petroglyph images. Locarno Beach phase material culture shows some possible relation to the petroglyph sites - their motif content (i.e., 'sea-wolf') and use of design elements - the lack of internal detail, however, combined with the general paucity of 'art' objects available to compare the petroglyphs with, leads me to conclude that any relationship between the two is a slim one. 44 My feeling is that the Gabriola Island petroglyphs do not pre-date 2500 BP (see also Carlson 1993) and that any stylistic overlap found between the two samples is of an ancestral and not contemporaneous nature. With the exception of a single petroglyph located at Lock Bay (DhRw 13) which depicts the anomalous 'visual narrative' of a hunter chasing a deer and which looks to have been produced with metal tools (Bentley 1998), no imagery indicative of an historical context (i.e., guns, ships, etc.) is found on Gabriola Island. Thus, the petroglyphs look to have some notable antiquity. This conclusion is fortified by the significant stylistic associations in evidence between the local petroglyphs and Marpole phase material culture; specifically, a shared 'tool-kit' of design elements and motifs generally rendered in a bold and curvilinear style as well as an observable tendency to produce certain images (i.e., birds, 'sea-wolf') with notable effort and labor and others (i.e., faces) with much less. My conclusion that the Gabriola Island petroglyphs are Marpole in character finds concurrence with Carlson (1993), implicit agreement with Holm (1990) and even, to some extent, Lundy (1974). Although I had expected to find stylistic resonance between anthropomorphic petroglyph figures displaying explicit genitalia and Late Prehistoric antler figurines with the same, this proved not to be the case. Marpole.phase aesthetics are dominated by a curvy line quality whereas the Late Prehistoric assemblage is best defined as more angular, linear, and squared-off. Based on this incongruity, any proposed relationship between the two is unwarranted. One petroglyph, however, certainly fits in with the Late Prehistoric period: the frog-like carving found along the coast (DgRw 225) which possesses two distinctive and well-developed ovoid eyes. Due to a lack of superpositioning and notable stylistic variation, it may have been the case that the vast majority of Gabriola Island's petroglyphs were produced in a fairly compressed period of time: by one person or a few, or, alternatively over the course of generation or two. Perhaps a single family specialized in the production of petroglyphs and knowledge of the craft was passed down? Exactly when, however, within the 2400 - 1000 BP time frame, this flurry of petroglyph making occurred, remains ambiguous. Based on the clear correlation between certain imagery - such as the elaborate 'sea-wolf panels - and the investment of masterful skill and labor involved, I surmise that specialists were involved in the creation of specific petroglyphs. Margaret Holm observes in her study of representational 'art' objects that certain motifs were likely reserved for either high-status individuals or certain techniques were 45 reserved for particular motifs. I propose that it was both: high-status individuals had the ability and wherewithal to commission specialists to design and produce the more extraordinary petroglyph panels and in turn, these specialists utilized a specific (and access-restricted?) suite of motif-types and design elements to do so. This theory is, of course, conjectural but it adheres to current archaeological knowledge concerning social stratification during Marpole times, the emergence of specialization, and theories pertaining to restricted access of symbolic wealth (Thorn 1998:6). And why were the petroglyphs made or commissioned? What purpose did they serve? What was the inspiration for their creation? Although petroglyphs were probably produced for a variety of reasons it would seem that a large portion were associated in some way with the acquisition of supernatural power (Bill Holm 1990:603) and more specifically, with the Coast Salish spirit quest. As several scholars have observed, ah individual's guardian or 'spirit-helper' often took the form of "birds, animals, and fabulous spirits or rnonsters" (Barnett 1938:136; Jenness 1955:37), much like many of the petroglyph motifs. Furthermore, many of the Gabriola Island petroglyph sites are located in remote, heavily wooded, inland areas and don't seem to have any relationship to good hunting sites, fecund fishing grounds, etc. My supposition is that while specialists may have produced the more elaborate petroglyphs at the request of high-status individuals who hoped to enhance their power, prestige, and connection to the spirit world, other upper class individuals in search of their guardian also created petroglyphs to facilitate, in some way, that process. We thus have two social tiers of petroglyph production: high-status individuals produced what one Snuneymuxw elder Bill Seward referred to as the "main" panels (i.e., 'sea-wolf, birds) and other upper class people produced the rest (abstract forms, faces). As Carlson succinctly states, creation of the petroglyphs was "related to behavioral systems involving the guardian spirit quest, shamanism and social rank" (Carlson 1993:7). I hold back, however, from advocating any single interpretation for all petroglyph sites. Inevitably they possessed a multiplicity of functions both at the moment of their creation and over time. To summarize: I propose that the majority of petroglyphs located on Gabriola Island were made in a short period of time, perhaps over the course of a single life (if a single, prolific specialist were responsible for most of the imagery) or, at most, over the course of a few generations (maybe a family of trained carvers). The bulk of all petroglyphs were, I argue, produced during the Marpole culture phase (2400 - 1000 BP) and their primary raison d'etre pertained to the acquisition of supernatural power. In 46 other words, 'art' in the service of: "the vision, the ritual world, the ancestors, and wealth" (Suttles 1983:69). Future research suggestions are numerous. First, work needs to be done on the nearby petroglyph sites located within traditional Snuneymuxw territory and beyond (i.e., everything from the famous 'Petroglyph Park' just outside of Nanainmo to the curiously similar Sproat Lake carvings further inland). I have no doubt that all of these petroglyph sites are related to each other. Second, research should be undertaken on the relationship - if there is one - between petroglyphs and pictographs. Although no pictographs are found on Gabriola Island, it is quite possible that red ocher was often used in association with the rock carvings (Barnett 1935-1936; Robinson 1958); it would be interesting to investigate such events further. Third, there are wonderful opportunities available for sociocultural research with regard to the petroglyphs such as: their contested usage (and how they are actually used)15; the fact that they are copyrighted with the Federal government; that they are tourist attractions; and perhaps most importantly, that there is, at times, heated debate over who they belong to. Although the Snuneymuxw Nation believes that the Gabriola Island petroglyphs belong unequivocally to them, some local, non-Native Gabriola residents feel that the rock carvings belong - again, unequivocally - in their backyard flower gardens (though, to be fair, certainly and by no means do all). I also advocate a 'bottoms-up' approach to rock 'art' studies on the Northwest Coast. Thousands of petroglyphs from around and across the region have been recorded and well-documented (Lundy 1974; Hill 1974; Inglis, 1998; Meade 1971). For too long, researchers have tried to take on and make sense of a massive body of data. 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Smithsonian Institution, Washington. 52 Inglis, Joy 1998 Spirit in the Stone. Horsdal & Schubart Publisher's Ltd., Victoria Inverarity, Robert Bruce 1950 Art of the Northwest Coast Indians. University of California Press, Berkley. Jenness, Diamond 1955 The Faith of a Coast Salish Indian. Anthropology in British Columbia Memoir, No. 3. British Columbia Provincial Museum, Victoria. Kew, Michael 1980 Sculpture and Engraving of the Central Coast Salish Indians. Museum Note No. 9. Vancouver, University of British Columbia, Museum of Anthropology. Layton, Robert 1991 The Anthropology of Art. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. Leechman, Douglas 1952 The Nanaimo Petroglyph. Canadian Geographical Journal, 11:266 - 268. Lewis-Williams, David 2002 A Cosmos in Stone: Interpreting Religion and Society Through Rock Art. Altamira Press, New York. Lundy, Doris 1974 The Rock Art of the Northwest Coast. Unpublished Master's thesis. Department of Archaeology, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby. 1983 Styles of Coastal Rock Art. In Indian Art Traditions of the Northwest Coast, edited by Roy L. Carlson, pp. 89 - 98. Simon Fraser University Press, Burnaby. Matson, R.G. 1976 The Glenrose Cannery Site. National Museum of Man Mercury Series, Archaeological Survey of Canada, Paper no. 52. National Museum of Man, Ottawa. Matson, R.G. and Gary Coupland 1995 The Prehistory of the Northwest Coast. Academic Press, San Diego,. 53 McLay, Eric 1999 The Diversity of Northwest Coast Shell Middens: Late Pre-Contact Settlement Subsistence Patterns onValdes Island, British Columbia. Unpublished Master's Thesis, University of British Columbia, Department of Anthropology, Vancouver. McMillan, Alan D. 1999 Since the Time of the Transformers: The Ancient Heritage of the Nuu-Chah-Nult, Ditidaht, and Makahs. University of British Columbia Press, Vancouver. McMurdo, Ann 1975 The Excavation at a Petroglyph Site on Protection Island, British Columbia. Paper presented at the Fourth Biennial Conference of the Canadian Rock Art Research Association, October 27 - 30, Victoria, B.C. McMurdo, Ann and Doris Lundy 1975 The Protection Island Project: DhRx. Permit Report 1975-22, submitted to the B.C. Heritage Conservation Branch, Victoria, B.C. Meade, Edward 1971 Indian Rock Carvings of the Pacific Northwest. Gray's Publishing Ltd., Sidney, B.C. Mitchell, Donald H. 1971 Archaeology of the Gulf of Georgia Area, a Natural Region and Its Culture Types. Syesis 4:1. , " 1990 Prehistory of the Coast of Southern British Columbia and Northern Washington. In Handbook of North American Indians, Vol . 7, Northwest Coast, edited by Wayne Suttles, pp.340 - 358. Smithsonian Institution, Washington. Moss, Madonna L. and Jon M . Erlandson 1992 Forts, Refuge Rocks, and Defensive Sites: The Antiquity of Warfare Along the North Pacific Coast of North America. 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American Antiquity 42:369- 380. Smith, Harlan. I. 1923 An Album of Prehistoric Canadian Art. Canada Department of Mines, Geological Survey. Victoria Memorial Museum Bulletin 37, Anthropological Series, Vol . 8., Ottawa. 1927 A List of Petroglyphs in British Columbia. American Anthropologist 29:605-610. Stein, Julie K., Jennie N . Deo and Laura S. Phillips 2003 Big Sites - Short Time: Accumulation Rates in Archaeological Sites. Journal of Archaeological Science 30:297 - 316. Strong, W.D. and W.E. Schneck 1987 Petroglyphs of the Columbia River. American Anthropologist 27:76-90. Suttles, Wayne 1983 Productivity and its Constraints: A Coast Salish Case. In Indian Art Traditions of the Northwest Coast, edited by Roy L. Carlson. Simon Fraser University Press, Burnaby. 1987 Coast Salish Essays. University of Washington Press, Seattle. 1990 Central Coast Salish. In Handbook of North American Indians, Vol . 7, Northwest Coast, edited by Wayne Suttles, pp.453 - 475 . Smithsonian Institution, Washington. Tanner, Adrienne 2000 "Image Problem." The Province, February 13, 2000. 55 Thom, Brian 1995 The Dead and the Living: Burial Mounds and Cairns and the Development of Social Classes in the Gulf of Georgia Region. Unpublished M . A . thesis, Department of Anthropology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver. 1998 The Marpole-Late Transition in the Gulf of Georgia Region. The Midden 30:3-7. Thornton, Thomas, F 1997 Anthropological Studies of Native American Place Naming. American Indian Quarterly 21:209-228. Tomaskova, Silvia 1997 Places of Art: Art and Archaeology in Context. In Beyond Art: Pleistocene Image and Symbol, edited by Margaret Conkey, Olga Soffer, Deborah Stratmann, and Nina G. Jablonski, pp. 265- 288. Memoirs of the California Academy of Sciences, No. 23, San Francisco. Tomkins, Calvin 1996 Duchamp: A Biography. Henry Holt and Company, Inc., New York. Wagner, Henry 1933 Spanish Explorations in the Strait if Juan de Fuca. Fine Arts Press, Santa Anta, California. Weeks, S. 1985 Skeletal Remains from DeRt 2. In The 1984 Excavations at the Canal site (DeRt 1 and DeRt2), edited by Roy L. Carlson, pp. 78 - 118. Permit report 1984-13 to the B.C. Heritage Conservation Branch, Victoria. Weissner, Polly 1990 Is there a unity to style? The Uses of Style in Archaeology, edited by Margaret Conkey and Christine Hastorf, pp. 105-112. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. Williams, Debi 1999 "First Nations Visit Gabriola." The Gabriola Sounder 9:23. Wilson, I.R. 1987 The False Narrows bluffs archaeological investigations on Gabriola Island. Permit report 1987-40, submitted to the B.C. Heritage Conservation Branch, Victoria, B.C. 56 Wingert, Paul 1949 American Indian Sculpture, A Study of the Northwest Coast. J.J. Augustin, New York. 1952 Prehistoric Stone Sculpture of the Pacific Northwest. Portland Art Museum, Portland. Wylie, Alison 1992 The Interplay of Evidential Constraints and Political Interests: Recent Archaeological Research on Gender. American Antiquity 57:15 - 35. 2000 Questions of Evidence, Legitimacy, and the (Dis)Unity of Science. American Antiquity 65:227 - 237. York, Annie, Richard Daly and Chris Arnett 1993 They Write their Dreams on Rock Forever. Vancouver, Talon Books. 57 A P P E N D I X I: F I G U R E S (ALL PHOTOS BY THE AUTHOR UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED) Figure A l : Recent petroglyph produced by Snuneymexw member 'Alfy Bob' in the mid 1900s at Nanaimo's Petroglyph Park. 163 cm x 74 cm. Figure A3: Petroglyph panel (DgRw 198). The 'bird' motif - which appears to have been giving chase - has been largely lost as a result of spading. Photo by R.L. Carlson. Boulder is approximately 4 meters long. 50 Figure A2: Illustration of one of the few petroglyph 'scenes' located at DgRw 201. After Bentley 1989. Figure A4: An unusual petroglyph depicting a human figure in profile chasing/hunting a deer (DhRw 13). The image was pecked to a depth of 9 mm, suggesting that metal tools may have been used (Bentley 1989:115). 75 cm x 32 cm. 58 Figure A6: Petroglyph originally located on El Verano Drive, it now resides at the Gabriola Museum. Photo is of a Museum cast. Figure A7: Frog-like petroglyph with ovoid head and eyes (DgRw 225). 60 cm x 45 cm. 59 Figure A9: 'Eagle' carving (DgRw 201). 120 cm x 100 cm Figure Alia: Petroglyph exhibiting pronounced genitalia and x-ray style ribs (DgRw 201). 50 cm x 20 cm. 60 Figure A12: The 'Brickyard Hill' site (DgRw 201). Figure A14: The 'sea-wolF panel located at the 'Boulton' site (DgRw 193). 240 cm x 70 cm. Figure A13: Illustration of female/hermaphrodite figure (DgRw 198) rendered on upright boulder. 190 cm x 74 cm. Figure A1S: Heart-shaped anthropomorphic figure (DgRw 193). The carving is quite faint. 100 cm x 45 cm. 6 1 Figure A16: 'Thunderbird' petroglyph (DgRw 193). 40 cm x 47 cm. Figure A18: The very curvy 'kingfisher' petroglyph (DgRw 192). 114 cm x 72. Figure A17: Vulva Forms (both images located at DgRw 193). Left Figure: Approximately 40 cm x 12 cm; Right Figure: 28 cm x 10 cm. Figure A19: Bird-like carving (DgRw 194). Photo is of a Museum cast. 62 Figure A20: Unregistered anthropomorphic figure. 159 cm x 120 cm. Figure A22: Solitary anthropomorphic figure (DgRw 224) located near the expansive Church site. 180 cm x 110 cm. Figure A21: Unregistered abstract carving. Figure A23: Rubbing of an anthropomorphic figure. Gabriola Museum archives. 63 Figure A24: Unregistered zoomorphic petroglyph with three very deep pits beneath the eye. 138 cm x 78 cm. Figure A25: Petroglyph panel located in Nanaimo's 'Petroglyph Park' (DgRx 6). B.C. Provincial Archives photo (Hill 1974:106). Figure A26: Sproat Lake petroglyph site (DhSf 1) and rubbing detail. Photo by Ray and Beth Hill (1974:120). 64 Figure A27: Zoomorphic figure with both lateral-sectioning and a 'bottle-nose' feature (DgRw 192). Photo of Museum cast. 119 cm x 69 cm. Figure A29: Musqueam Northeast zoomorphic antler spoon with 'sea-wolf characteristics (after Holm 1990:87). Figure A28: Zoomorphic petroglyph with a peculiar 'leash' appendage (DgRw 192). Photo of Museum cast. 30 cm x 20 cm. Figure A30: Sculpted spoon dating to 3,600 +/-160 C14 years ago (after Carlson and Hobler 1993:46). 65 Figure A31: Marpole antler carving with 'sea-wolf characteristics: hunched limbs, elaborate eye-form, open mouth and flared nostrils (after Holm 1990:119). Figure A32: Zoomorphic pendant recovered from False Narrows Component One (Burley 1988:94). Lateral-sectioning is more visible in photographs (see Burley Figure A33: Rubbing of 'sea-wolf motif located at the Church site (DgRw 192) by Mary Bentley (1989). Note the banded lines in the creature's mid-section. Figure A34a: Anthropomorphic pendant recovered from False Narrows Component One (Burley 1989:93). Note the heart- shaped head. 66 Figure A34b: A second photograph of the pendant (33a) with higher contrast. Figure A36a: Another example of the linear and squared-off style characteristic of the Late Prehistoric period (after Holm 1990:236). Figure A35: A series of anthropomorphic faces with the ubiquitous heart-shaped head and joined brows. Photos of Museum casts. The image at the top left is from DgRw 193; the other three are from DgRw 192. Figure A36b: Columbia River antler human Figurines (after Holm 1990:238). Note the very angular quality of line. 67 Figure A37: The Jack (Duke) Point petroglyph said to depict five different species of salmon (DgRx 7). APPENDIX n : TABLES Site s's DhRw2 2 _ _ 2 _ 2 - - - - - 2 - - - - - DhRw5 1 _ _ 1 - 1 - - - - - - 1 - - - - DhRwl3 . 1 2 - 2 DgRw2 1 - 1 1 . - - - 1 - 1 - - - 1 - DgRw30 2 _ 1 1 1 - 1 - - - - 1 - 1 - - - DgRw63 2 _ 2 _ 2 - - - - - - - - - - - - - DgRivl92 70 1 13 7 8 2 2 2 7 1 9 5 3 3 2 2 - DgRurl93 8 1 2 6 5 1 3 2 2 3 1 1 2 2 1 1 1 - DgRwl94 4 _ 3 1 4 - . - . 2 - 3 3 DgRtrl98 6 1 3 1 2 - 1 - 2 2 2 - - 1 2 - 1 - DgRw201 8 _ 1 6 4 3 3 3 1 2 2 - 7 - 1 1 1 - • DgRw224 1 _ _ 1 1 - 1 - - 1 1 - 1 DgRw225 1 _ 1 1 - - - 1 1 2 Unregistered #1 3 - 1 1 1 1 1 - 1 - 1 2 | Unregistered #2 1 _ _ 1 1 . - - 1 - - - 1 - - - - | Unregistered #3 1 - 1 - - 1 - - - - - - 1 - - 1 1 - Table A2: Distribution of Style Trait Frequency by Site. Style Trait Figure Curvinlinear Form Line Figure A18 Linear (Angular) Form Line Figure A1 Frontal View Figures A23 &A16 Profile View Figures A13 &A14 Full Figure Figure A10 Head Only Figure A35 Genitalia Figures A11 &A13 Heart-Shaped Figure 4a Hunched Limbs Figure 4b Limbs with Digits Figure A7 Skeletal (X-Ray) View Figures A9 & A8 Rays Figure 4c Basic Circle Eye Figure 5c Eyes with (Uni)Brow Figure 5a Elaborate Eye Figure 5e Lateral Sectioning Figure 4d Rounded Nose Figure 4e Ovoid Figure 4f Table A3: List of Style Trait Illustrations. Some style straits are illustrated within the text; others are best illustrated by photographs included in Appendix 1.


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