Valley News -

Historical Society program offers free program on Native American rock art


Last updated 5/16/2019 at 4:33pm

TEMECULA – The Temecula Valley Historical Society will present Steve Freers and his lecture "Rock Art in the Grand Canyon Region – The Adventure" Monday, May 20, at 6 the Little Temecula History Center, the red barn west of Kohls at the corner of Wolf Store Road and Redhawk Parkway.

Freers, an International Baccalaureate and honors chemistry teacher at Temescal Canyon High School in Lake Elsinore has spent over 30 years researching Native American rock art in Riverside and San Diego counties, as well as concentrated studies in the Grand Canyon region. In 1994, he co-wrote the book "Fading Images" on rock art in western Riverside County. In May 2013, the results of an extensive rock art recording project in Grand Canyon National Park culminated in a 288-page book entitled "Rock Art of the Grand Canyon Region" by Don Christensen, Jerry Dickey and Steve Freers.

During his presentation to the historical society, Freers will give an overview of approximately 5,000 years of Native American rock art that is painted and engraved on canyon walls and boulders within the greater Grand Canyon region, an area stretching south from the Arizona-Utah border to the Mogollon Rim. The audience will be taken on a behind-the-scenes journey through his experience hiking within the canyon systems, negotiating rugged and steep trails and the discovery of ancient human presence. Freers said he hoped to impart a sense of adventurous research, along with a closer understanding of the integration of the environment and its influence on the aboriginal artists who painted and carved the Grand Canyon's ancient art.

Freers' specialty is in taking a physical anthropological approach to rock art research. Using anthropometric data collected by anthropologist Franz Boas in the late 1800s and early 1900s, Freers modified a regression equation that assists in predicting the physical stature and gender of the makers of prehistoric handprints. His most recent research explores rock art along the Takic and Yuman ethnographic division in southern California, as well as examining the chronological sequence of petroglyph creation at a newly recorded Colorado Desert site. As an avid hiker and photographer, Freers has captured the dynamic context of archaeological sites in the Southwest's most remote areas.

The Arizona governor's Archaeology Advisory Commission awarded Freers and his co-authors the 2014 Arizona Governor's Award for Special Achievement in Public Archaeology for their book and for their contribution of over 10,000 volunteer hours documenting archaeological sites for public agencies. In 2016, Freers was awarded the Crabtree Award by the Society for American Archaeology for his contributions to the field of archaeology, cultural heritage preservation and public education. Freers currently serves as the program and conservation chair for the San Diego Rock Art Association and continues to conduct field work in northern San Diego County.

The public is welcome to arrive at 5:30 p.m. for refreshments and a social time, followed at 5:45 p.m. by an introduction of the society's two recipients of college scholarships for entering history-related careers. There is no cost to attend. Freers' books will be available afterward for $20 each.

For any questions, call Rebecca Farnbach at (951) 775-6057.

Submitted by Temecula Valley Historical Society.


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