Heritage, Volume 5, Number 3, Autumn 1987 Page: 18
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THE STORYTELLER WOMAN
by Alex Apostolides
<9 udspeth County, home of
some 2600 people in way-West Texas,
is also home to one of the biggest art
galleries in the world.
Alamo Canyon, lying just north of
Fort Hancock, is a treasure house of
prehistoric art-designs pecked and
painted on the ancient rock, telling of
the people who passed this way long
before the first European poked an
exploring nose over the horizon.
Alamo Canyon is the storm center of
the controversy revolving around where
to put a low-level radioactive waste
dump; our art gallery lies out beyond.
A low earthen dam stretches across
the canyon's mouth. Why it was put
there is a mystery-the earth slopes gently
upward downstream from the dam.
Just to the south and west of the dam
is the first exhibit in the gallery.
Bedrock mortars, places where the
seeds of desert plants and grasses were
ground from time's beginning, dot the
surface of huge boulders scattered on
the slope below a cave.
Inside the cave, paintings in black
and red pigment cover the smokeblackened
ceiling, and we meet an old
friend here. Quetzalcoatl, the Plumed
Serpent, sprawls above our heads,
memento of a time when the puchteca,
wandering traders, came up from deep
in Mexico, bringing their gods along
with their trade goods.
More souvenirs of ancient Mexico
march across the carbon-black background-a
collared jaguar crouches
there, a bear and a wolf, along with
other painted symbols telling of a time
this cave lay along an ancient trading
trail stretching for miles south and
Along the tumbled rockface above
the cave, symbols are pecked which are
more ancient by far. There are Shumla
figures, humans shaped like projectile
::: ..: IIO )
Alamo Canyon, Hudspeth County, Texas. The
Storyteller Woman Panel site - stretches over
an area roughly covering 150m north to south,
and 50m east to west. Huge rockfalls, tumbled
down from the mesa's rim, dot the slope and it is
among these rocks that the glyphs of this site
are found. The panel represents what seems to
be a connected narrative covering an area 8.7m
long by 2.05m high. It is set off at its north end
by the Storyteller Woman figure, gesturing to
the viewer, telling him what accompanies the
Storyteller is a story, a happening, a saga.
Here’s what’s next.
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 5, Number 3, Autumn 1987, periodical, Autumn 1987; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45439/m1/18/: accessed June 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.