This publication is the results of the Virginia Rockart Survey's investigations involving rockart sites in Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland. The Survey was started in 1983 by Wm Jack Hranicky to record outdoor inscriptions in prehistory. Later, then State Archaeologist, Allen Outlaw asked him to continue, and he became its director for survey operations. For many years, Dale Collins was the assistant Survey Director. The Survey has investigated numerous reported sites as possible rockart sites, but few actually turned out to be valid sites. However, the public has been the major source for information which has produced rockart sites. With acid rain being so common in the uplands, pictographic sites are disappearing in Virginia. The Survey is the only active organization finding and recording Virginia sites. The recording of Virginia sites depends on the Survey and its volunteers.

Numerous archaeologists have told the Survey that these sites are modern graffiti, natural geological formations, or not anything. The number of sites investigated and (re-) recorded by the Survey speaks to-or-for an opposite conclusion. Additionally, these same individuals say no ceremony was present because they are not sites. There are hundreds of archaeologists across the county finding and recording rockart sites. These finds are often reported at archaeological conferences, such as the sessions by American Rock Art Research Association (ARARA) at the Society for American Archaeology’s conference or at Southeastern Archaeological Conference (SEA) by the Eastern States Rock Art Research Association (ESRARA).

This report is a complete listing of the rockart sites in Virginia, as presently known. It also includes rockart sites in neighboring states which have been investigated by the Survey. There is no complete public record of Virginia’s sites; thus, this report is needed for the history and archaeological communities.


The listing includes:

  • Rockart glyphs and sites
  • Portable artforms
  • And, solstice sites.

Virginia Fixed and Portable Artforms

Wm Jack Hranicky RPA

Major Topics:

  • Iimage and its color
  • Rockart boundaries
  • Glyph image texture or base material
  • Pictograph - is a glyph painted on a boulder face
  • Petroglyph - is a glyph pecked into the surface of a boulder face
  • Mud -– are glyphs painted/drawn on a mud surface, usually in caves
  • Raised relief glyph is one that has had the glyph’s surrounding area pecked away; thus, a raised glyph
  • Realistic forms or images of living creatures.
  • Abstract forms that are graphic (non-living creatures)
  • Animated art shows movement or a screen of images
  • Abstract art has geometric designs the meaning of which is unknown
  • Anthropomorphic art is an image of a living creature
  • Formless art as a random designs
  • Nature-orientated designs
  • Humanoid art has a human figure.

Paint Lick Mountain Glyph #13 – Two-Headed Bird.

This report also contains portable rockart which are non-stationary forms of art, such as effigies. Their purpose cannot be determined archaeologically, other than surmising they had a social function in the society that made them. The art can also be called mobile art or non-fixed art. The practice dates from the Pleistocene to European contact in Virginia. All art can be classified as “ethnoart.”

Book: B&W, 8 1/2 x 11 in, site listing, 104 pages, references.

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