Culminating Project Title
Date of Award
Culminating Project Type
Cultural Resources Management Archaeology: M.S.
College of Liberal Arts
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.
Keywords and Subject Headings
Rock art, Montana, shield-bearing warriors, photogrammetry, RTI
The Rafter Z site was a previously unrecorded rock art site located on private land in Rosebud County, Montana. The resulting thesis provided an opportunity to systematically document the site and conduct important rock art research within southeastern Montana. The thesis project was sectioned into two phases. The first phase provided the documentation of the Rafter Z site, surveying of 170-acres of private land, documentation of three additional cultural sites, and a comprehensive analysis of the Rafter Z site. This research showed that the Rafter Z site constitutes one of the larger rock art sites in Rosebud County and the greater southeastern Montana region. Housing 36 shield-bearing warriors and 14 freestanding shields, the site offers a unique perspective into the Plains warrior ethos from the Late Prehistoric period. In addition, the site provides insight into early Crow and the Kiowa/ Kiowa Apache use of the region during the mid-to-late Prehistoric period with its mixture of Castle Garden and Timber Creek style rock art figures. The second phase of the proposed project utilized two digital techniques recently applied to rock art documentation: photogrammetry and reflectance transformation imaging (RTI). Several variables were tested to ascertain the best methods to effectively render 3D models using photogrammetry and conduct RTI on the sandstone substrate. Overall, these digital documentation methods heightened the interpretive and archival quality of the site documentation and data collected. Enhancing the archival quality of rock art will allow future research to occur when access may be limited.
Moscarello, Megan, "Rock Art Documentation in the Digital Age: The Rafter Z Site (24RB2809) in Rosebud County, Montana" (2022). Culminating Projects in Cultural Resource Management. 46.