TLS Annual Gathering

2022 Featured Speakers

Our Featured Speakers for the 2022 Annual Gathering

Aaron Wright 
Weaving Belief into the Land: Labyrinth Petroglyphs in the Context of Indigenous Southwest Rock Imagery
Indigenous rock imagery in the Southwest region of North America is renowned for its intrigue, vivacity, and sheer abundance. While interpretations of petroglyphs and pictographs are debatable, archaeological evidence indicates their production and use were embedded in layers of ritual practice, and this imagery remains a significant source of cultural and religious inspiration to descendant communities today. Found among these images is a handful of labyrinth inscriptions. It is perhaps the rarest petroglyph motif in this region. What is the source of this motif and how does it relate to Indigenous ritual and religion in the past and present?

An anthropologist by training and practice, Aaron Wright works with the non-profit Archaeology Southwest to research and conserve the cultural landscapes of southern Arizona. While Tucson is now his home, Aaron was born and raised in the Appalachian hill country of southeastern Ohio. It was the enigma of the region’s Adena and Hopewell earthworks, and the story of how local communities protected them centuries ago, that set him on a career path in conservation-oriented archaeology. After earning a Bachelor’s degree in anthropology from The Ohio State University, Aaron spent five years employed in cultural resource management before returning to graduate school at Washington State University to obtain a Master of Arts and PhD. 

Aaron published the results of his dissertation research on Hohokam petroglyphs in Phoenix as the award-winning Religion on the Rocks: Hohokam Rock Art, Ritual Practice, and Social Transformation (University of Utah Press, 2014). In addition to numerous articles in popular and peer-reviewed arenas, he is a co-editor of the book Leaving Mesa Verde: Peril and Change in the Thirteenth-Century Southwest (University of Arizona Press, 2010) and the sole editor of the forthcoming Sacred Southwestern Landscapes: Archaeologies of Religious Ecology (University of Utah Press). Aaron is most proud of his collaborative work with contemporary Tribal communities in southern Arizona, which has been supported and recognized through grants and awards from the National Endowment for the Humanities, National Conservation Lands Foundation, American Rock Art Research Association, and the Arizona Governor’s Archaeology Advisory Commission. 


Agnes Barmettler
Stories of the Hopi
Agnes Barmettler grew up with her eight siblings in Engelberg Abbey, a Benedictine monastery in Engelberg, Canton of Obwalden, Switzerland, where her parents ran the monastery cheese factory. She earned her Matura in 1965 at the Gymnasium Ingenbohl. The following year, she began studying medicine. After graduating, she attended the General Business School in Basel and received her artistic training there. 

At an exhibition in Schaffhausen, Agnes met Rosmarie Schmid, with whom she researched symbols and signs of labyrinths. In 1987 Agnes co-founded the Labyrinth International project, a transitional project of placing labyrinths in public spaces specifically to support women. Agnes designed the logo for this organization. 

Agnes worked several times with the Hopi in Arizona and 1989, together with Anka Schmid and Hopi elder James Danaqyumtewa, she produced the documentary Techqua Ikachi, Land - My Life, which won the Kantons Solothurn Culture Award in 1990, was shown in the Sundance Film Festival Competition, and in 1992 at the San Francisco International Film Festival.

In 1991 Agnes and Rosmarie Schmid won the competition to transform a former military barracks in Zurich into a community garden space in the form of a labyrinth. In 1997, she created the art video Labyrinth Projections with Anka Schmid for the Festival of Arts in Lucerne. Today Agnes works as a freelance visual artist.