Exploring Baja: Ancient Rock Art, Whales, Murals and Sculptures

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By Michael Herron on October 26, 2018.

On Friday, November 9, Bill Drake offers a slide presentation based on a month of traveling in Mexico’s Baja peninsula. The free public event, offered by Friends of Sierra Rock (FSRA), is at Nevada City’s Helling library at 7pm.

Drake is the co-founder of FSRA, and ancient petroglyphs (images pecked or carved on rock) and pictographs (rock paintings) will be a major focus. The remarkable mural art and sculptures in La Paz, the beautiful Baja countryside, and close encounters with gray whales will be shared as well.

Slides of artifacts at La Paz’s highly regarded Regional Museum for Anthropology and History will be included in the presentation.

Drake says, “I approach photographing rock art sites such as those in Baja with the idea of creating something for the public, and when I share rock art through my slides, I like to include photos that give a sense of who the ancient artists were. Taking pictures in museums is one thing that helps me do this.

“Even though I am laying a foundation for a presentation, when in a museum, I am often moved by the skill and beauty that some of these artifacts embody. Both the rock art, the environments it is created in, and the cultural artifacts, have a personal impact on me and I am left with a sense of awe that I try to share with the public.”

Drake has studied rock art and ancient cultures in the western United States, Central America, and Mexico. He has done numerous presentations on these subjects for state park docents, school children, and the general public over the past 25 years.

FSRA was founded in 1990 to promote the conservation and study of the Native American rock art in the Sierra Nevada Region. The organization works with a variety of groups, organizations, and agencies, including the Tahoe National Forest. They are the first non-professional organization to have received the Society for California Archaeology’s prestigious Hellen C. Smith Award for contributions to California archaeology.

For more information on the presentation, contact Drake at (530) 265-2084.