Landscape of the Spirits

Hohokam Rock Art at South Mountain Park

Todd W. Bostwick (Author), Peter Krocek (Author)
Paperback ($29.95), Ebook ($29.95) Buy
High above the noise and traffic of metropolitan Phoenix, Native American rock art offers mute testimony that another civilization once thrived in the Arizona desert. In the city's South Mountains, prehispanic peoples pecked thousands of images into the mountains' boulders and outcroppings—images that today's hikers can encounter with every bend in the trail.

Todd Bostwick, an archaeologist who has studied the Hohokam for more than twenty years, and Peter Krocek, a professional photographer with a passion for archaeology, have combed the South Mountains to locate nearly all of the ancient petroglyphs found in the canyons and ridges. Their years of learning the landscape and investigating the ancient designs have resulted in a book that explores this wealth of prehistoric rock art within its natural and cultural contexts, revealing what these carvings might mean, how they got there, and when they were made.

Landscape of the Spirits is the first book to cover these ancient images and is one of the most comprehensive treatments of a rock art location ever published. It conveys the range of different rock art elements and compositions found in the South Mountains—animals, humans, and geometric shapes, as well as celestial and calendrical markings at key sites—through accurate descriptions, drawings, and photographs. Interpretations of the petroglyphs are based on Native American ethnographic accounts and consider the most recent theories concerning shamanism and archaeoastronomy.

Written in a simple and accessible style, Landscape of the Spirits is an indispensable volume for anyone exploring the South Mountains, and for rock art enthusiasts everywhere who wish to broaden their understanding of the prehistoric world. It is both an authoritative overview of these ancient wonders and an unprecedented benchmark in southwestern rock art research at a single geographic location.
"From spirit figures to calendars, it is an amazing collection of ancient images featuring stunning photos by Peter Krocek."—American Archaeology

"Features some wonderful photos of the park's petroglyphs, and its easy to understand (no jargon). Grab a copy, throw on a hat and pretend you're Indiana Jones."—Phoenix Monthly

"Because petroglyphs remain among the most familiar and yet enigmatic art forms to Southwest visitors and residents alike, Landscape of the Spirits will be not only a welcome introduction to the art of the South Mountain Park, but a useful reference for similar figures in sites throughout the Sonoran Desert."—Southwest Book Views

"Landscape of the Spirits manages at once to demonstrate how and why archaeologists study rock art to learn about people in the past and to provide an intimate portrait of a particular place. . . . This volume should also appeal to any thoughtful desert-dwelling person, especially newcomers. South Mountain Park, its art, and its living creatures surely help mitigate the depersonalizing effects of urban sprawl."—Journal of Anthropological Research
Landscape of the Spirits
315 Pages 7 x 10 x 0.8 Published: 2016 Paperback (9780816521845)
Ebook (9780816536436)

For Authors

The University of Arizona Press publishes the work of leading scholars from around the globe. Learn more about submitting a proposal, preparing your final manuscript, and publication.



The University of Arizona Press is proud to share our books with readers, booksellers, media, librarians, scholars, and instructors. Join our email Newsletter. Request reprint licenses, information on subsidiary rights and translations, accessibility files, review copies, and desk and exam copies.


Support the Press

Support a premier publisher of academic, regional, and literary works. We are committed to sharing past, present, and future works that reflect the special strengths of the University of Arizona and support its land-grant mission.