Rock Art Council

The Archaeological Society of New Mexico has been promoting the recording of rock art by trained volunteers since the 1960's. It recently reorganized the administration of the program from a limited committee structure to a more broadly based council structure. The Rock Art Council is open to individuals and organizations engaged in the study and recording of rock art within New Mexico and the adjacent regions.


The Rock Art Council provides an organization and assistance to guide the rock art recording community in New Mexico. The Rock Art Council will continue to base its efforts on maintaining continuity with the past and building on the work of Col. James Bain assisted by his wife Nan, Helen and Jay Crotty, and Jean and Jerry Brody.

The goals established by the ASNM Board of Trustee's for the Rock Art Council are:

  1. Providing education about rock art;
  2. Establishing standards acceptable to the archaeological community and the Historic Preservation Division that ensure all data collected by rock art recording procedures be mutually compatible and that complete copies of all rock art data are deposited in the Archaeological Records Management Section;
  3. Providing training to interested parties;
  4. Providing assistance to meet the standards;
  5. Assisting in the submission of rock art site records in the New Mexico Cultural Resource Inventory System (NMCRIS); and
  6. Developing communication and working relationships with rock art recording groups, governmental agencies, and individuals in New Mexico and the Greater Southwest region.

The Rock Art Council will also provide a forum to facilitate communication among its members and to operate consistently so that all the data produced by various projects can ultimately be used as if they were a single database.


Membership in the Rock Art Council is open and inclusive. All individuals and organizations engaged in the study and recording of rock art within New Mexico and the adjacent regions are encouraged to join the Rock Art Council.

The only requirements for membership are approval by the Archaeological Society of New Mexico's Board of Trustees and membership in the Archaeological Society of New Mexico.


The Rock Art Council will be administered by its members. The Chair, Vice-Chair, and Secretary will be recommended by the Rock Art Council and confirmed by the Archaeological Society of New Mexico's Board of Trustees.


If you are interested in participating with the Rock Art Council, please contact us and tell us about your rock art recording activities.

I am interested in participating

Every effort will be made to conduct as much of the Rock Art Council's business by email as is possible. This approach will be used so that all areas of the state and adjacent regions can work together with minimal travel.


Most business of the Rock Art Council will be conducted using email as a virtual meeting. There will be periodic physical meetings as deemed necessary by the group and our bylaws.

Meeting Notes

  1. Physical meeting of July 9, 2009 in Albuquerque, NM
  2. Adding New Design Elements to the Catalog August 29, 2009
  3. Physical meeting of April 30, 2010 in Santa Fe, NM
  4. Physical meeting of April 29, 2011 in Las Cruces, NM
  5. Physical meeting of April 20, 2012 in Morarity, NM
  6. Physical meeting of May 3, 2013 in Albuquerque, NM
  7. Physical meeting of April 11, 2014 in Silver City, NM

New Forms

The following forms were agreed upon between the Mesa Prieta and Santa Fe recording projects with some input from others.

The Hierarchical Design Element Inventory Key Incorporates new design elements and reorders the design elements into ascending degrees of complexity. The original category and subcategory were not changed.

The Design Element Inventory -- Condensed and -- Illustrated were not updated to include the new design elements.

  1. Design Element Inventory -- Condensed
  2. Design Element Inventory -- Illustrated
  3. Hierarchical Design Element Inventory Key
  4. Photo Data Sheet
  5. Mapper's Notes
  6. Field Notes

Form Nomenclature IN PROGRESS

Definitions of the terms on the proposed forms. The Meta Data will be an integral part of the GIS database.
View Nomenclature

Recording Guide IN PROGRESS

Rough draft of a recording guide that will serve as the basis for our efforts. There are inconsistencies in this guide as it hasn't been updated to reflect the proposed forms.
View part 1 of 3
View part 2 of 3
View part 3 of 3

Mug Board Guidance


Slides from the Rock Art Recording Projects of Santa Fe's April 2007 training class are available.
View the slides


Documentation is an essential part of the recording process. Without documenting our work our work is in vain.

This outline is based upon a number of rock art reports. It has been given some review by land managers and professional archaeologists. It is intended solely as a starting point. Individual land managers may have other specific needs and requirements. Not all topics need be included and others may by necessity be added.
ARMS Reporting Contents

The State of New Mexico Archaeological Records Management Section (ARMS) has prepared a standard that when followed will assure our reports can easily be integrated into their system.
ARMS Standard for Archive-Ready Rock Art Reports

The following link is to an actual Archive-Ready Rock Art Report. This report is heavely redacted and has some artifacts associated with compressing the large pdf. The sole prupose in posting this document is to provide an example.

Sample Archive-Ready Rock Art Report

Feedback from the ARMS staff with suggestions for improvements for future reports.

Basic NMCRIS data that should be filled in on line.

Arms is a tremendously busy organization. It has many demands placed on its small, very responsive, and effective staff. To help us help them ARMS developed a protocol to help them respond to their user community.

View the ARMS protocol

Suggested Rock Art Site Monitoring Forms

These forms are of particular usefulness if a site has not been recorded. However, they can easily be adapted to sites that have been recorded when the land manager doesn't want to use the photo data sheets and photos.

This process is based upon one used at China Lake, CA for detailed and frequent monitoring of the Little Pet Petroglyph Site
Process Description

Equipment Sources