Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Anthropology



First Committee Member

Liam Frink, Chair

Second Committee Member

Karen Harry

Third Committee Member

Jiemin Bao

Graduate Faculty Representative

William Bauer

Number of Pages



Rock art at archaeological sites are often dismissed as a culturally symbolic representation that cannot be objectively or scientifically analyzed or interpreted adequately. Such dismissals are detrimental to understanding all aspects of a given culture. Although uninformed interpretations of rock art panels are counterproductive, systematic recording and the testing of different hypotheses is a valid way to begin to better understand the possible range of social functions of rock art. This research examines whether indigenous women's fertility is represented in rock art depictions, known as cupules and groove marks, in the archaeological record. Cupules are defined as a boulder or rock slab covered with small rounded depressions (cupules), usually four to six centimeters in diameter and two to three centimeters in depth. Groove marks are deeply and narrowly incised lines, usually in the shape of a "V" or "W" rarely more than a quarter-inch in depth. In this project, I systematically document and contextualize the pit and groove rock art style in the Lower Pecos, Texas. I also test whether cupules and groove marks are tied to a functional purpose with an experimental project.


Art; Prehistoric; Cupules (Stone carving); Fertility; Fertility; Human; in art; Indians of North America; Lower Pecos; Texas; Petroglyphs; Rock art; Sex symbolism; Texas; South


Anthropology | Archaeological Anthropology