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Handprints in Montana Rock Art

Mavis Greer and John Greer
Plains Anthropologist
Vol. 44, No. 167 (February 1999), pp. 59-71
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25669586
Page Count: 13
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Handprints in Montana Rock Art
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Abstract

Human hands are portrayed in rock art in much of Montana, but are most frequent in the central part of the state where they are the only kind of figure at five sites. Production categories in Montana include impressed hands, stylized hands, and negative hands. Of the hands currently recorded in Montana, the impressed and negative categories are actual physical representations of hands and are therefore important for suggestions on the age and gender of the painters or participants themselves. Positive hand impressions outnumber other categories 6:1. In central Montana these occur mostly on open bluffs that probably functioned as public markers relaying information to people passing the site. Freehand paintings of hands ("stylized") occur mostly in cave sites that appear to have a ceremonial function.

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