|Informative displays attract the attention of people attending the Utah Rock Art Research Association's 25th annual symposium, presented in Price.|
The Utah Rock Art Research Association presented the group's annual symposium at College of Eastern Utah's student center last weekend.
About 150 members from across the United States were in attendance at the gathering. The 2005 symposium was a special event because it marked the 25th anniversary of the founding of the association.
The gatherings are scheduled at different locations within the state of Utah.
This year at Price, members were treated to four days of social gatherings, a formal dinner, business meetings, numerous field trips and several presentations by amateurs as well as professionals.
Speakers included world-renowned rock art expert Polly Schaafsma, Brigham Young University professor emeritus Ray Matheny and state archaeologist, Kevin Jones.
On Sunday and Monday, numerous field trips were conducted to places like Nine Mile Canyon, the San Rafael Swell, Range Creek, Quitchupah and Rochester Creek.
The research association is an organization dedicated to the conservation, preservation, and research of Native American rock art.
URARA president Troy Scotter explained that the association was founded in 1980 by a small group of dedicated rock art enthusiasts. There were 15 original members and Price resident Layne Miller played a key role in forming the organization.
Six of the founding members, including Miller, attended the 2005 conference and were recognized for their efforts.
Scotter said the organization was originally founded as the Utah chapter of the American Rock Art Research Association.
But the national association later decided not to recognize regional or state chapters. So the Utah group spun off as an independent organization and prospered.
Today, the Utah organization is almost as big as the national association. Membership rolls list approximately 400 persons. And it is a diverse group.
Only about one-third of the members reside in Utah. The other two-thirds live in places as far away as Texas, Virginia, Maryland and Paris France.
While open to all individuals interested in rock art, members include any anthropologists, archaeologists and other academic professionals.
There are a few other rock art organizations in the United States, but none as dynamic as the Utah Association. The group publishes "Vestiges," a monthly newsletter, and offers many opportunities for members to participate in rock art research. The group organizes dozens of field trips each year to destinations all over the United States. The September newsletter alone lists outings to the Arizona Strip, Pecos, New Mexico, Richfield, Utah and Bishop, California. Members also participate in scientific research projects in conjunction with major universities. In the past year, the group has helped to document dozens of prehistoric rock art sites in Range Creek under the direction of the University of Utah. Many members do independent research and present their findings at the annual symposium where they are allowed to lecture and have their papers printed in an annual report.
The group has also partnered with several state and federal agencies to help teach school children the need to preserve, protect, and appreciate Native American rock art. Two books and a traveling exhibit are available for teachers of fourth through seventh grade students. The books include "Utah's vanishing rock art" and "Intrigue of the Past."
For more information about the association, or to join, go to www.utahrockart.org or contact them at Utah Rock Art Research Association, P.O. Box 511324, Salt Lake City, Utah 84151.