Prehistoric rock art subject of Nevada State Museum lecture

CARSON CITY, Nevada – Long before “public art” became a thing, and, heck, long before Nevada became Nevada, people were making rock art.

For more than 10,000 years, people have been creating rock art in Nevada and some Native Americans continue to make it today.

It has been made in many different ways and at many different places – including rock walls, boulders, and caves. And it comes in many styles, from abstract to representational, and can be interpreted in myriad ways depending upon who is doing the interpreting: descendant communities, archaeologists and other scientists, art historians, new age religionists or the public.

Pat Barker, an anthropologist and retired lead archaeologist for the Bureau of Land Management’s Nevada State Office, has a passion for rock art and he’ll be sharing it at May’s Frances Humphrey Lecture Series at the Nevada State Museum in Carson City.

His presentation of “Prehistoric Rock Art in Nevada” is Thursday, May 24, from 6:30 to 8 p.m., inside the museum’s South Gallery. Doors open at 6 p.m.

Barker earned a Ph.D. in anthropology in 1982 from the University of California, Riverside. He went to work as an archaeologist for the BLM in 1986 and was the lead archaeologist for the BLM Nevada State Office from 1988 until his retirement in 2006.

His archaeological research experience includes work in Southern California, the Mojave Desert, Eastern California and the Great Basin. His long-term archaeological interests in the Great Basin include prehistoric land management; fire and human ecology; political evolution, prehistoric sandals and other textiles; and prehistoric rock art.

Barker is a research associate in anthropology at the Nevada State Museum and at UC Davis. He is also a past President of the Board of Directors of the Nevada Rock Art Foundation and of the Board of Directors of the Great Basin Anthropology Association.

The Frances Humphrey Lecture Series is held the fourth Thursday of each month at the Nevada State Museum.

The cost for the lecture is $8 for adults; free for museum members and children 17 and younger. Seating is limited. Those wishing to attend should reserve a seat by visiting: and click on the “register here” link on the lecture description page.