Recognized by UNESCO with World Heritage status, the Sierra de San Francisco region on the Baja California peninsula contains the largest cache of rock art, and at its heart lies the most painted part of the entire range of the Great Murals; the two caves that define the focus of this painted phenomenon - La Cueva Pintada and Cueva de las Flechas - sit opposite each other in long shallow caves hundreds of feet above the Arroyo de San Pablo. Most of the walls and ceilings exhibit well-preserved cave paintings, or pictographs, of women, men, beasts, birds and sea mammals. La Cueva Pintada is indeed 'The Painted Cave'.
The Bradshaw Foundation has carefully restored the original 1970’s cine film footage which has remained unseen for over 40 years. The documentary film provides a rare opportunity to follow Harry Crosby and his companions as they rode over 600 miles crisscrossing Baja California’s vast landscape of mountains, deserts and arroyos.
Available on DVD and as a digital download, the documentary film BAJA CALIFORNIA: In Search of Painted Caves provides a cinematic window into the America’s pre-Columbian past.
These great Baja Murals shed light on the prehistoric and pre-Columbian occupation of the Americas. So, if our cultures define us, it can be said that our rock art is the very bedrock of those cultures. Enjoy it, treasure it, and protect it”.
Robert A. Hefner III
Bradshaw Foundation President
Crosby was born in Seattle, Washington, in 1926, then moved with his family to La Jolla, California in 1935. He graduated from La Jolla Junior-Senior High School in 1944 when there was a little more than a year left in World War II. He enlisted in the U. S. Navy and attended Occidental College in Los Angeles as a pre-medical student. In 1947, while working at a salmon cannery in Alaska, Crosby was accepted into U.S.C. medical school but did not accept it. Instead, having married, he then became a science teacher for the next 12 years.
Following his teaching career, Crosby decided to become a photographer, working extensively in Mexico. One of his first photo assignments came from a magazine that hired him in 1964 to photograph Tijuana for a special issue entirely devoted to that topic. Seventy of these photographs illustrate 'Tijuana 1964', a recent binational publication.
In 1967, he was commissioned as photographer for 'The Call to California', a book to commemorate California's bicentennial. He was given the task of following the route of the Portola/Serra expedition of 1769 to make photos to illustrate a text derived from diaries of the trekkers who soon founded San Diego as a base for Spain's claim to what is today the state of California.
He rode 600 miles in Baja California, on mule-back and on trails far from the then-wheel track road, to the remotest areas of Baja California. Since completing that first work, he has logged over a thousand miles in the saddle over harsh and barren terrain to interview the Baja peninsula's isolated ranchers and discover its amazing prehistoric art and cave paintings. In his book 'The Cave Paintings of Baja California: Discovering the Great Murals of an Unknown People', he documents the expeditions that revealed over 200 previously undiscovered rock art sites.
Harry W. Crosby's other books include 'The King's Highway in Baja California', 'The Story of El Camino Real; Last of the Californios', 'Antigua California: Mission and Colony on the Peninsular Frontier, 1697-1768', 'Gateway to Alta California: a history of the 1769 Portola Expedition', and 'Portrait of Paloma', a novel.
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→ Baja In Search of Painted Caves
→ Baja Great Murals Gallery
→ Sierra de San Francisco
→ Baja 2018 Expedition
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→ Color Engenders Life
→ The Rock Art of Arizona
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→ Coso Sheep Cult of East California
→ Coso Range Rock Art Gallery
→ The Rock Art of Moab Utah
→ The Rock Art of the Oregon Territory
→ RAN - USA Colloquium 2018
→ Removal & Camouflage of Graffiti
→ Graffiti Dates & Names
→ Vandalised Petroglyphs in Texas
→ Preserving Our Ancient Art Galleries
→ Bradshaw Foundation
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