Explore the Extraordinary Paintings of


Wind Wolves Preserve, Kern County, California

Celebrating Ancient Technologies through New Technologies

For Native Californians, Pleito is sacred; for many people, it is simply one of the finest prehistoric artworks found anywhere in the Americas. For us, we aim to learn from this site in order to teach others to respect, preserve, and protect the remarkable paintings made by so many skilled Native hands.

Made by the hands of Native Californians over hundreds if not thousands of years, the paintings found at Pleito are unparalleled anywhere the United States. Pleito has one of the widest color palettes of any site in the world, with multiple variants of red, black, white, cream, yellow, orange, green, and blue, painted over and over again so that older paintings are buried underneath newer ones: a term called superimposition. Within the Main Cave of the site, there are 12 multi-coloured, or polychrome, panels comprising many hundreds of individual elements with likely the greatest intensity of superimposed painting of any pictograph site on the North American continent. It is for this reason that the famous rock-art researcher Campbell Grant (1978: 532) described the site as the “finest example of prehistoric rock art in the United States.” Learn about the cave and its rock paintings as well as the history and goals of the project “Unravelling the Gordian Knot”.



Principal Investigator

David Robinson

Co-Principal Investigator, Analytical work

Matthew Baker

Co-Principal Investigator, Website design

Jenn Perry

Ph.D Researcher, Analytical work

Clare Bedford

Rock Art Documentation Group, Conditional Assessment

Antoinette Padgett

Rick Bury

Virtual Reality

Brendan Cassidy

Gavin Sim

Film and Photogrammetry Assistance

Joshua Roth

Colin Rosemont

Infrared Photography

David Wheatley

Ph.D Researcher. Photogrammetry and Film

Devlin Gandy

Laser Scanning

James Miles

Post-Doctoral Researcher, RTI and Matrix

Eleni Kotoula

Post-Doctoral Researcher, Analytical work

Cerys Jenkins

Native Voices

Matthew Vestuto

Sandra Hernandez

This project has been awarded funding by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
'Unraveling the Gordian Knot: Integrating Advanced Portable Technologies into the Analysis of Rock Art Superimposition' (Grant number AH/L014041/1).