Pláticas Presentations:
When Lightning Strikes Twice


Pláticas Presentations:
When Lightning Strikes Twice

The Mesa Prieta Petroglyph Project (MPPP) is pleased to start of the Pláticas Presentations lecture series 2016 season. On Tuesday, Jan. 26 at 6:30 pm at Historic Los Luceros, Alcalde, our lecture will be: When Lightning Strikes Twice presented by rock art expert, photographer and educator, John Pitts.

Have you ever wondered what happens when a lightning bolt strikes ground? Most people presume bolts hit trees, splitting the trunks or even incinerating the entire tree. Others see boulders shattered by strikes and believe that the magnetic force of the rock has been altered. Based on extensive research, John Pitts has discovered that these powerful bolts of electricity leave permanent marks on rocks that appear as wavy while lines. The heat of the electricity hitting hard surfaces fuses the minerals on the rock causing these while lines.

How does that strike you? The early inhabitants of the Southwest were indeed keen observers of nature and had strong beliefs about the relationship of nature and human survival – Did they take note of the phenomenon? How did they interpret those lines imprinted on rocks and cliffs where they lived? Mr. Pitts will offer some possible answers to these questions.

Mr. Pitts has studied the phenomenon of lightning bolt tracks on rock surfaces, called rock furgulites, for years. His research has raised a number of questions pertaining to the frequency of those strikes, the dating of them and the possible connection to the associated rock art. Since little has been established scientifically in relation to lightning bolt strikes, the field is wide open. Nevertheless, Mr. Pitts will put forth certain theories that hopefully will lead to a lively discussion on the topic and help to expand the understanding of the relationship between one aspect of nature and the life patterns of Native Americans.

Refreshments will be served. A donation of $10 per person is suggested.

What: Where: When: How Much: Contact:

Pláticas Presentations – When Lightning Strikes Twice Historic Los Luceros
Tuesday, January 26th 6.30 – 8.30 pm
Suggested donation $10

Jill Battson, 505 852 1351/


About John Pitts

John L. Pitts is a 20-year resident of Northern New Mexico who has actively pursued rock art research throughout the American Southwest, as well as on other continents. He has lectured widely in the region, and in South Africa, on the relationship of rock art imagery and the evolution of indigenous cultural groups. He has been an avid proponent of archaeological preservation and conservation, volunteering for the various government agencies (NFS, BLM, NPS, LANL) and private organizations (rock art surveyor and recorder with the MPPP). He has taught Photography, been a museum docent (MIAC) and enjoys adventure travel and cultural photography globally. He has a BA from Princeton and MA from the Johns Hopkins University.

About MPPP

Our organization, which began in 1999, has three goals:
TO RECORD as many of the estimated 75,000 petroglyphs and other archaeological features on the Mesa Prieta as possible. TO EDUCATE and inform the archaeological community, local people and visitors about this treasure. Our primary focus is on educating young people. We hold a Summer Youth Intern Program and we have developed a dynamic science-based elementary school curriculum called “Discovering Mesa Prieta”. We offer public and private tours for groups and individuals to raise awareness of the petroglyphs. In addition, we sponsor a community lecture series, “Pláticas Presentations”, which focus on northern New Mexico culture and landscape. TO PROTECT AND PRESERVE the important cultural legacy of Mesa Prieta for generations to come is our ultimate goal.

Directions to Los Luceros: Drive north of Española on Hwy 68 about 9 miles. Continue about one mile north of the sign for Alcalde. Alternatively, from Taos, drive south on Hwy 68 through Velarde. Continue south about 6 miles. Look for a green sign for Los Luceros on the east side of the highway. Turn west onto CR 48 and go down to the bottom of the hill. Drive through the gate where the road ends, over the ditch and park in the parking area in the orchard near the Visitor Reception Center. Walk through the VRC to the open area behind it. We will be in the large white structure on the other side of the patio area.

For more information please contact Jill Battson at
505 852 1351/ •