Explore the Extraordinary Paintings of

P L E I T O   C A V E

Wind Wolves Preserve, Kern County, California

Celebrating Ancient Technologies through New Technologies

Pleito is a unique and sacred space for Native Californians; and for many it is simply celebrated for it's complex and extraordinary displays of artwork. Through ongoing research, we aim to share the distant knowledge and skills which have been captured at Pleito, so that these unequalled paintings may be respected, preserved and protected by all people, Native and non-Native.

Created by the hands of Native Californians over potentially thousands of years, the paintings found at Pleito are unlike those found anywhere else in the United States. Pleito displays one of the widest colour palettes of any site in the world, with variants of red, black, white, cream, yellow, orange, green and blue pigments repeatedly being used 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. For this reason, the famous rock-art researcher Campbell Grant (1978: 532) described the site as the “finest example of prehistoric rock art in the United States.”

We welcome you to learn about the cave and it's 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

Virtual Reality

Brendan Cassidy

Gavin Sim

Rock Art Documentation Group, Conditional Assessment

Antoinette Padgett

Rick Bury

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).