Draper Museum Lunchtime Expedition
Bonnie Lawrence-Smith, Curatorial Assistant for the Draper Natural History Museum, presents Cry to Heaven: Golden Eagles and Thunderbirds in the Bighorn Basin.
Lawrence-Smith proposes that early peoples living in the Bighorn Basin of the Great Plains were no different than other populations on the planet; weaving stories as explanations for the natural world. Here in the Plains Basin of North America we find some of the most exceptional rock art in the Americas. Consistently depicted among the stones are raptors, large birds of prey. Some highly stylized while others are easily identifiable. And others represent the transformation of man into beast and bird. Through this project, we examine several sites in the Bighorn Basin, both public lands (BLM, Forest Service, and State of Wyoming) as well as some privately-owned lands. Lawrence-Smith proposes that there is a direct correlation and connection between ancient eagle (Aquila crysataetos) nests, Native American eagle traps, and thunderbird representations at rock art sites in the Bighorn Basin and the early Native American narrative.