Cultural Markings In Serpentinite Sam Spaulding 3

Thursday, October 26: Cultural Markings in Blue Stone: A Story of the San Rafaels

Free lecture with Sam Spaulding

Co-sponsored by the Los Olivos Library.
Thursday, October 26, 7:30 p.m.
Santa Ynez Valley Grange.
2374 Alamo Pintado Avenue, Los Olivos.

Featured image of cultural markings in serpentinite by Sam Spaulding.

Very few serpentinite stones with incised markings in our local area have been, until recently, described or documented. Photo by Sam Spaulding.

Pictographs are paintings on stone using natural materials, while petroglyphs are carvings or markings in stone. Chumash pictographs in Santa Barbara County are well documented, and the best known, Painted Cave, is a state historic park. Vastly less is known about petroglyphs in the Santa Barbara region, and most of the documented sites are markings in sandstone. Very few serpentinite stones with incised markings in our local area have been, until recently, described or documented. Now, after twenty years of research, Sam Spaulding is aware of at least 65 unique petroglyph sites scattered across the  backcountry.  Markings include cupules, grooves, geometric designs, as well as zoomorphic and anthropomorphic symbols. Further, these appear to be restricted to serpentinite, which is distributed in California no further south than in the Santa Barbara region.  Interpretation of these cultural markings remains challenging and even mysterious. In this evening presentation, Sam Spaulding will discuss his research and discoveries.

Photo by Sam Spaulding.

Sam Spaulding is a Santa Ynez Valley Natural History Society board member, a docent at UC Sedgwick Reserve, and has had a life-long relationship with the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. He studied at UCSB and received his degree in cultural anthropology, then taught physical education and classes in natural history and science at Laguna Blanca School.  Sam worked for Channel Islands National Park Service doing considerable fieldwork in archaeology, resource management, and wildlife biology. He was also
Island Caretaker for the Vail family on Santa Rosa Island.