Sunday, March 3, 2019

Discover the Painted Caves of Baja

Hidden deep in the mountains of central Baja are some of the world's most beautiful prehistoric rock art paintings. The United Nations has ranked this world heritage site as one of the top five rock art sites in the world. Few people trek to see them, because they are so hard to reach. Britt Wilson and Maria Puente did. Now you can discover and explore the painted caves of Baja with them as your guides.
Dragonfly Lecture on Monday, March 4, 2019, at 6 p.m. 127 N. San Gorgonio Ave., Banning, CA. Your $5 will help us save and share Southern California's Native American cultures.

Find out more about this magnificent rock art

About Lecturers Maria Puente and Britt Wilson

Maria Puente was born in the northern Basque city of  Bilbao (Spain). Her first introduction to archaeology was in the first grade when she visited the famous cave paintings at Altamira Cave in northern Spain. She attended the private Jesuit University of Deusto in Bilbao, for three years, and then moved to Madrid to complete her studies, earning an M.A. with a double major in History and in Art, and the Certificate of Pedagogical Competence from the University Complutense (1987). Ms. Puente also completed studies that earned her the Superior Degrees in Classical Piano and Chamber Music from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Madrid (1989).  In 1983, Ms. Puente formally enrolled and  attended the School of Archaeology for the Basque Country for one school year. She took part in the excavations (Roman site) in the Cave of Arenaza through the University of Deusto, Bilbao, Spain.

Ms. Puente came to the United States through a cultural/teacher exchange in 1990 and has lived in the Coachella Valley since then. Each summer she returns to Spain to enjoy the warm waters of the Mediterranean in southern Spain.

Ms. Puente served as a member of the City of La Quinta Historical Preservation Commission from 1994 until 2015.  She is also a certified Bureau of Land Management Site Steward for Corn Springs in eastern Riverside County.  She has helped record several archaeological sites in the desert region.  She is a member of Coachella Valley Archaeology Society.

Britt Wilson, originally from Los Angeles, lives in Palm Desert and is an employee of the City of Rancho Mirage where he serves as a management analyst.  He has worked for four cities in his career as a planner or management analyst. Mr. Wilson has a master’s degree in Public Administration and a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration.  

During a hiatus from city work, Mr. Wilson worked as an archaeological technician conducting surveys throughout southern California and Nevada, working on most of the solar projects in eastern Riverside County.  He has a deep interest in native cultures particularly the Apache, Cahuilla, and Serrano people.  Previous to working as an archaeological technician, he was the Cultural Resources Coordinator for the Morongo Band of Mission Indians and did a short stint at the Cahuilla Tribe in Anza. 

Mr. Wilson is also a volunteer archaeological surveyor for the Bureau of Land Management. As a volunteer, he has recorded close to 500 new sites throughout the southern California region including village sites, rock art sites, rock shelters, milling sites, etc.  He has worked in Anza Borrego State Park, the San Bernardino National Forest, and BLM lands across southern California in addition to his previous work on Indian reservations.  His current project is researching and recording trails and rock art sites along the western shore of ancient Lake Cahuilla.  Mr. Wilson is also a certified Bureau of Land Management Site Steward for Corn Springs in eastern Riverside County.

He is a published author and has written two ethnographies on the Cahuilla/Serrano people. He is a member of the Society for California Archaeology,the Malki Museum, the Dorothy Ramon Learning Center, and the Mayflower Society.  He is also the President of the Coachella Valley Archaeological Society.