Join   Renew   Donate

ARARA 2022 In-Person Conference

ARARA 2022 In-Person Conference
Great Falls, Montana

June 17-20, 2022 (note date change)
Holiday Inn

General Information
To celebrate our first in person get together following the pandemic lock downs, we will meet at the Holiday Inn and Convention Center of Great Falls for the 2022 annual ARARA conference. It is in the southwestern part of the city just east of the confluence of the Sun and Missouri Rivers. ARARA room rates and information on hotel reservation will be updated on this website.

The Holiday Inn is less than 5 miles from Great Falls International Airport. This modern airport is served by Alaska Airlines, Allegiant Air, Delta, and United and is an important transportation center for this part of the state. The Holiday Inn is along 10th Avenue South, the main east-west business street in southern Great Falls. Room rates for ARARA are $109/night. In this area you can find a variety of restaurants, bars, gas stations, grocery stores, and several coffee places. The two main museums in town C.M. Russell, featuring memorabilia from the famous painter, and the Lewis and Clark Interpretative Center, featuring the corps journey through this area can be visited on your own or with one of the organized field trip groups. Field trips are being prepared and will be updated on this website when finalized.

One of the more famous events that occurred at this location was in 1805 when the Lewis and Clark Expedition spent 31 days portaging about 10 miles around the highest falls on the Missouri River (after which the town is named) and around the adjacent Giant Springs, which today
is the central feature of Giant Springs State Park and previously was a constant water source for the Blackfeet tribe in the winter. Today a walking path and adjacent highways allow for easy viewing of the falls and spring. From the Lewis and Clark Interpretative Center on the southern bank of the Missouri near these natural features there is also a great view of the falls, which were first dammed in the late 1800s. Malstrom Air Force Base dominates the east side of town, and personnel from there maintain the many missile sites throughout eastern Montana.

We are featuring two logos for the 2022 conference. The mounted warrior images was drawn by conference committee member, Jim Keyser. It is found at the extensive petroglyph site of DgOw-32, just upstream from Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park, just north of the international border. Although the rock art at Writing-on-Stone has been subject to recording efforts for over 50 years, this image was newly recorded in 2019 by a crew from the Oregon Archaeological Society under the direction of Jim Keyser. Sites in the main park area at Writing-on-Stone will be one of many offered on the Friday and Monday field trips.

Our second logo was drawn by Carolynne Merrill and features a Foothills Abstract rock art site southwest of Great Falls. The grizzly bear and handprints are both hallmarks of the Foothills Abstract tradition and represent the ceremonial function of most of that rock art. Although this site was not planned for the original Great Falls field trips in 2020, we are adding it to those offered in 2022.


The Call for Papers and field trip videos has been released for the 2022 conference much earlier than in the past to allow for presenters to plan and produce their videos during the field season. Please consider presenting your research.

Public Lecture
We are once again planning a public lecture to feature Angelo Fossati from Italy. His work in the Valcamonica of Italy is known to many of you, but this is an opportunity to update those of you familiar with the area and introduce central Montana to northern Italy’s rock art. His talk will be on the rock art being made at the time of the famous Italian Ice Man.

We are planning to have both a silent and live auction in 2022. They will be held at the Holiday Inn making it convenient to find and bid on the wide variety of items we always have. The live auction on Saturday night will also include food and a cash bar. Please search your homes and offices for rock art-associated items you no longer need to donate to the auction. The evening live event provides an opportunity to support the organization and to socialize with old friends and meet new ones.

Field Trips
Although we had to make adjustments to what is being offered for field trips from our original Great Falls plans for 2020, there is a variety of rock art near Great Falls so we have several options. Sites south, west, and east are dominated by pictographs that date back at least to the Archaic Period. These sites contain elaborate abstract designs, powerful animals, and shaman representations that are part of the Foothills Abstract Tradition, which extends along the Rocky Mountain front south from Alberta through Montana. Handprints are abundant among these paintings with several sites in this region only having this image.
Petroglyph sites occur north and northwest of Great Falls, and they are found on sandstone cliffs as well as glacial erratic boulders. Petroglyphs in this area are generally younger than the painted sites, many of which date to after the arrival of the horse, which in this area occurred in the early 1700s. Petroglyphs on the cliffs are usually stories about the warfare prowess of the artist, while those on boulders are more likely to be representations of bear and bison tracks. The boulders were and are places to leave offerings.
Organized field trips are being arranged for Friday and Monday. These will be available for sign up after registration is complete. Most of the trips will be full day, and for the 2022 trips you will need to bring your own lunch. Site access ranges from easy to moderately difficult, and most driving is on roads that can be traversed with a regular car.


Weather in early June can be problematical, and the chances for rain in this area are highest this time of year. On average Great Falls will receive 1.5 inches of rain during June. Average daily high temperatures are 74° F with overnight temperatures in the high 40s. By the first of June days are lengthening, and these weeks before summer solstice average over 15 hours of daylight, with sunrise by 5:30 am and sunset by 9:15 pm. So, you should come prepared for cool to warm temperatures, dry to rainy conditions, and many hours of daylight for exploring the plains and mountains of central Montana.

Tourism information:

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software