Strata: Portraits of Humanity, Episode 9, “Hunting Mountain Picassos” and “Sub Rosa: Tyntesfield”

StrataImage-web“Hunting Mountain Picassos” and “Sub Rosa: Tyntesfield” are the next episodes in the video news-magazine series Strata:  Portraits of Humanity, produced by AntiquityNOW’s partner, Archaeological Legacy Institute.

People have been chronicling their existence in pictorial designs for millennia. “Hunting the Mountain Picassos” captures the unique art of Basque shepherds over the last century who have created arborglyphs—pictures carved into the barks of aspen trees in Nevada. For more than half-a-century, Jean and Phillip Earl of Reno, Nevada, have used clues from old maps, letters and books to hunt for and document these remarkable pictures. In “Sub Rosa: Tyntesfield,” UK archaeology student Rebecca Kellawan journeys to uncover the use of a crumbling, abandoned US World War II base located on the grounds of a beautiful Victorian estate.  What is uncovered leads to even more intriguing questions of racial and national tensions in the era and recasts the look of patriotism.

Strata: Portraits of Humanity is a monthly half-hour video series available online and on select cable channels. Strata is a showcase for unique and diverse stories about the world’s cultural heritage. Stories come from across the globe with segments produced by Archaeological Legacy Institute and dozens of producer and distributor partners around the world.

Click on the image below to view the program on The Archaeology Channel and scroll down to see the curriculum developed by AntiquityNOW to accompany this episode’s videos.

Strata July 2015

*Produced in 2015 by Archaeological Legacy Institute. Copyright 2015 by Archaeological Legacy Institute.

Lesson Plan


  • To introduce students to the concept of identity and how we attempt to enshrine who we are
  • To think about the investigative aspects of finding identity
  • To realize that if a people or group don’t record their histories, they become defined by what they left behind


  • To grasp how history is a living force that each of us carries internally
  • To understand how history can be influenced, changed, twisted and misrepresented if allowed to become the victim of time
  • To appreciate that archaeology is as much about investigating how people lived as it is about the artifacts that reflect their lives

Project Idea #1

  • Who was Picasso? Why was his art so revolutionary?
  • Select a series of Picasso artworks that show how he changed in representing the human form. Discuss with your class how his art reflected his changing artistic perspective. What do you think he was trying to do? Do you think he was successful? (For background on Picasso’s perspective, click here.)
  • Compare Picasso’s art with that shown in the Basque arborglyphs. Do you see similarities? Differences? Compare their artistic visions.

Project Idea #2

  • Explore how the ancients recorded their lives. Do you see any similarities in the arborglyphs, ancient paintings and Picasso’s depictions?
  • Draw a self-portrait incorporating Picasso’s cubist style.
  • Draw a self-portrait as an ancient would represent him/herself.
  • Draw a self-portrait as it would appear on an aspen tree as drawn by a Basque shepherd.

Web links

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s