New Mexico Office of Archaeological Studies

Upcoming Events

July 31, 2024

When Lightning Strikes Twice: Correlating Lightning Strikes and Rock Art Imagery
OAS Brown Bag talk by John Lawrence Pitts, MIAC research associate, at the CNMA, 12:00 noon, free!

When Lightning Strikes Twice: Correlating Lightning Strikes and Rock Art Imagery

July 31, 2024

Wednesday, July 31, 2024 at 12:00 noon, free!

Lightning strikes are one of the most visually impressive elements in nature. It's no surprise, then, that we have long been fascinated by the power of lightning. Evidence of this fascination is seen in the frequent depictions of lightning in Native American rock art images.

John Lawrence Pitts, research associate at the Laboratory of Anthropology, New Mexico Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, has studied the phenomenon of lightning bolt tracks on rock/cliff surfaces, called "rock fulgurites", for years. His research has raised a number of questions pertaining to the frequency of those strikes, the dating of such strikes, and the possible connection to associated rock art. Since little has been established scientifically in relation to lightning strikes on rock surfaces, the field is wide open.

Pitt will offer a special Brown Bag talk on the correlation of lightning strikes and rock art imagery on Wednesday, July 24, at noon at the Center for New Mexico Archaeology. His presentation will focus on specific theories concerning the relationship between rock fulgurites and rock art imagery portraying nature and human survival throughout the American Southwest.

This talk will be held in the OAS library at the Center for New Mexico Archaeology. Talks are informal and admission is free. Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. This talk begins Wednesday, July 31, 2024, at noon. Look for special announcements regarding this and other talks on the OAS Facebook page or on the New Mexico Office of Archaeological Studies website.

The Center for New Mexico Archaeology (7 Old Cochiti Road) is located off of Caja del Rio Road, across from Challenge New Mexico on the way to the Santa Fe Municipal Golf Course. Take 599 to South Meadows Road, continue through the traffic circle west along the Frontage Road to Caja del Rio Road. CNMA is on the left-hand side of the road and is the large building with white sail-like skylights on the roof.


Lightning striking twice (Rock art at the San Cristobal Pueblo)