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IFRAO 1999 International Rock Art Congress
MAY 23 - 31, 1999


The International Rock Art Conference (IRAC)
for 1999 will be held in Ripon, Wisconsin, USA.
The venue for this event will be Ripon College,
a small liberal arts college founded in 1851. The
setting is picturesque, amidst the lush,
flowering spring of scenic central Wisconsin.
Extensive facilities are being provided by the
college, several buildings which date from the
1850's and are on the United States National
Register of Historic Places.

The national host for the event is the American
Rock Art Research Association which voted
unanimously to hold its annual symposium at
Ripon, during its meeting in El Paso, May 1996.
The local sponsor for the event will be the
Mid-America Geographic Foundation, a
non-profit organization with extensive interests
in rock art. The International Federation of Rock
Art Organizations, the international sponsor of
the event, also voted unanimously to conduct
its meeting at the Ripon venue during its 1996
Congress in Namibia.

Other sponsoring and collaborating
organizations and institutions involved in the
event are the University of Wisconsin,
Oshkosh, the University of Wisconsin Center -
Fond du Lac, the Upper Midwest Rock Art
Research Association, the Eastern States
Rock Art Research Association, the Ho-Chunk
(Wisconsin Winnebago) Nation, and the
Wisconsin All-Tribal Council. Aboriginal groups
will present opening and closing ceremonies.
Other Native activities are planned, including
vendors. Ample facilities are being provided by
Ripon College.

Wisconsin has achieved significant attention in
rock art research only within the last decade or
so. David Lowe has discovered nearly 80 rock
art sites in Southwestern Wisconsin where
virtually none had been known of before. The
great majority of these are petroglyph sites in
what is known as the driftless area, an area
which escaped the glaciers and essentially
produced the common landscapes of
Wisconsin. Deep within these undisturbed
valleys, Lowe perfected a system for finding
sites. As late as 1950 less than 15 sites were
known of in the entire state. Further discoveries
have been made by Robert Boszhardt and
Cynthia Stiles in western Wisconsin.These
include some exciting sites in rock shelters,
with carved ceilings.

Dr. Robert Salzer of Beloit College in southern
Wisconsin has contributed to regional rock art
research through his decade of excavations at
the Gottschall Rock Shelter near Muscoda,
Wisconsin. In the course of these excavations
Salzer discovered a series of rock paintings,
and was able to suggest their timing by finding
pigment traces dropped from the paintings into
the active cultural deposits.

The unique aspect of Wisconsin's prehistoric
symbolism are the many hundreds of effigy
mounds. These mounds, in the form of
animals, birds, and sometimes humans, are
found throughout the state and were once
estimated to number over 20,000!

Field trips planned for the 1999 Congress will
include both rock art sites and these effigy
mounds, as well as a number of petroform
sites in east central Wisconsin. The petroforms
consist of boulders placed on the ground in the
form of circles, lines, and sometimes human
figures. Herman Bender, founder of the
Mid-America Geographic Foundation, and Dr.
Jeffrey Behm of the University of Wisconsin -
Oshkosh are the pioneers in this rather new
Wisconsin rock art research. Present theories
pertaining to this phenomenon center on a
range of astronomical alignments, especially
the solstices. Star alignments are also
suggested. A considerable interest in these
sites has been expressed by Native elders,
especially of the Cheyenne.

Of interest to the international rock art
community will also be the petroglyph sites,
many within two hours of the campus venue. All
but one of these sites is located in relatively soft
sandstone formations. These sites are fragile
and exceptional controls will be in place for their
protection. A feature common to almost all of
these sites is ritual grooving - a worldwide
phenomenon. Many sites have been overlooked
by explorers because grooves appear to many
to be natural. There is an unusual extensive
presence of this feature at Wisconsin sites,
and it promises to provide impetus for active

Besides the rock art and effigy mounds,
Wisconsin has a great deal to offer in the way
of cultural attractions and events. Ripon is only
18 miles from the Experimental Aircraft
Association Museum. Annually, over one million
visitors throng to the "fly-in" here. The U.S.
National Railway museum is only 40 miles
north, and the famous House-on-the-Rock is
about 1.5 hours away. Even closer is the
Circus World Museum - home of the Barnum
and Bailey Circus. There are also numerous art
galleries, historical museums, and endless
outdoor beauty.

Ripon College has offered a most favorable
package of room and board in the college
dormitories. Housing is very adequate, and
meals are, by every standard, exceptional. The
College will also arrange buses for the various
tours and field trips and will provide a shuttle
service to and from the airport at Appleton,
Wisconsin - just 45 minutes away. In addition to
the dormitory facilities, there are three motels in
Ripon, several more at Green Lakes (7 miles
away) and numerous accommodations at both
Fond du Lac and Oshkosh (each about 18
miles away).


All organizations and individuals interested in rock art are invited to make
proposals for sessions, either specialized or general. These proposals must
be received by
MARCH 1, 1998.

Please note this deadline. Proposals should be limited to 300 words, with a
list of prospective presenters. The presenters need not be confirmed. The
results of the proposal review will be made available as soon as possible.
Successful candidates will the be responsible for the formal recruitment of
presenters and the complete organization of their symposium or session.

Unless otherwise specified later in the planning phase, papers will be
strictly limited to 20 minutes (including question time). A longer formal
paper (using the American Antiquity Style Guide) may be submitted for
publication in the Congress proceedings. Presenters are asked to have first
(typed) drafts available at the time of delivery. Requirements for
translation, audio-visual equipment, or other needs must be made at the time
the presentation is proposed.

Planning for the publication of the proceedings is underway. Session
chairpersons will be responsible for initial editing, and the final
compilation will be undertaken by the American Rock Art Research Association,
in collaboration with the International Federation of Rock Art Organizations
and the Mid-America Geographic Foundation.

Organizations are encouraged to provide well mounted, secure posters for
gallery exhibition. Ample well lighted space has been allocated for these.
It is expected that the focus of these posters will be rock art, or relevant
aboriginal themes. Groups not in attendance at the Congress are welcome to
arrange for the exhibition of posters.
Further details will be provided in 1998.

If you have any questions, they may be directed to:
Dr. Jack Steinbring
Dept. of Anthropology
Ripon College
P. O. Box 248
Ripon, WI 54971
Fax: 920-748-7243
Phone: 920-748-2937


IRAC ’99

International Rock Art Congress

Ripon, Wisconsin — May 23 – 31, 1999

American Rock Art Research Association

Pre-Register Now for Ripon Field Trips

The pre- and post-conference field trips offered for IRAC ’99 have been planned and organized by MAGF. Read the trip

descriptions, decide which field trips you wish to take part in, and fill out and return the Field Trip Form to Herman Bender

(address on form). Note that the Sat., May 29 field trips are sponsored by ARARA. Registered participants in IRAC ’99 are

invited to enjoy this day of scheduled trips for no fee. It is still necessary to return this form for the Sat., May 29 field trips.

All field trips are subject to change and cancellation if less than half of the spaces are filled. Remember that box lunches are

included in Dorm fees, or may be ordered through the college (see registration form) for $5.75. Also note that the #10 field trip

is overnight. The fees charged include lodging, and are based on single or double occupancy. The field trip fees are based on

bus rental, with coaches for the longer trips. The locations of many stops on these trips do not have room for parked cars, so

buses will be used for all trips. Information on local sites that may be visited by individuals on their own time will be available

upon your arrival in Ripon.

Any questions may be directed to Herman Bender at (920) 922-7182.

IRAC ’99 Pre- and Post-Congress Field Trips

Field Trip No. 1—Group Leader Herman Bender

Saturday, May 22, 1999

Saturday, May 29, 1999 (ARARA-Sponsored)

Fond du Lac and Dodge Counties. Depart Ripon (parking lot NE corner of Seward and RansomEast across street from Farr

Hall of Science). Commencing 9:00 a.m., return 4:00 p.m. A bus and walking tour of the Hesselink hilltop shrine site; the

Eagle’s nest vision quest site with ancient red cedars on the edge of the Niagara escarpment; the Kolterman effigy mound

group, which includes spectacular stone bison effigies, a giant human-like petroform, and a thunderbird petroglyphall features

exhibit elements of archeoastronomy and the site overlooks the world-renowned Horicon Marsh. The Ashford Hill may also be

included, a drumlin with petroform which the Cheyenne holyman, Mr. Ralph Redfox, has determined is a "center" and repre-sents

a seated bison. Views from these sites are panoramic with scenic vistas which visually connect four units of the Ice Age

National Scientific Reserve. Generally easy to moderate hiking, mostly on grass and modest climbing. Includes rest stops with

facilities and restaurants for lunch and/or refreshments. Take your own lunch if you wish. Co-guides will be Mr. Ralph Redfox

and Father Nick Goebel. Fee of $10.00.

Field Trip No. 2—Group Leader Diana Galster-Kinas (Ripon College)

Saturday, May 22, 1999

Saturday, May 29, 1999 (ARARA-Sponsored)

Mounds and sacred setting in the Ripon-Green lake vicinity, an ancient boundary and neutral area between the Winnebago and

Menominee tribes. Very little walking except for one canyon site. A bus trip commencing at 8:00 a.m., returning at 4:00 p.m.

Take a lunch. Sites included are mound sites around Green Lake, Council Rock, Mount Tom, Germania petroform, Germania

serpent mound, and Roche-a-Cri petroform site (a climb to top of this spectacular formation is optional). Roche-a-Cri contains

the Congress Logo rock painting. Fee of $10.00.

Roche-a-Cri is a Wisconsin state park and can be visited independently. Take Hwy. 23 west from Ripon to Hwy. 51 and go

north on 51 to Hwy. 21, then go west on 21 to Hwy. 13 and turn south on 13. Roche-a-Cri is two miles south on the right side.

Field Trip No. 3—Group Leader David Lowe

Saturday, May 22, 1999

Sunday, May 30, 1999

Petroglyph sites of Iowa County (Wisconsin). Up to 15 selected sites are scheduled to be included on this trip. These are the

most recently discovered petroglyph sites in Wisconsin. Motor coach bus departs from the parking lot corner Seward and

Ransom at 6:30 a.m., returning at 6:00 p.m. Fee of $20.00. Limit of 40 people. Some steep climbing involved, not recom-mended

for those with limited mobility. Wear adequate footwear. Bring a lunch.



MAGF – Herman Bender

P.O. Box 722

Fond du Lac, WI 54936-0722

Phone: (920) 922-7182 E-Mail:


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